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Karen Knudsen
  • Please direct memorials in Karen's honor to the Gregory Lions Club.
  • Gregory Lions Club
    Lorraine Hlavka
    28710 339th Ave
    Gregroy, SD 57533

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Thank you for your support during this difficult time. Please enhance this tribute to Karen by adding your memories and photos.


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Kotrba-Smith Funeral Home

Kotrba-Smith Funeral Home
101 Gerkin
Gregory, SD 57533
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Memories & Candles

“I had the pleasure of getting to Karen over the phone. We share a love for cats. I am a phone volunteer for Independent Living Choices in Sioux Falls...Read More »
1 of 8 | Posted by: Donna Miranda - Sioux Falls, SD

“I bowled with Karen off and on for quite a few years. She was a very nice person and always so kind. ”
2 of 8 | Posted by: Penny Sperl - Burke, SD - Friend

“Enjoyed working with Karen at the State Library. She always had a smile on her face and worked well with others. Had not seen or heard from here...Read More »
3 of 8 | Posted by: Dorothy Collett - Pierre, SD

“I was a classmate of Karen's in Gregory High School. I will remember her as a very quiet person. She was always friendly to all her classmates and...Read More »
4 of 8 | Posted by: Bonnie Vawser-Vogt - Winner, SD

“I graduated from high school in the same class as Karen. I remember her as a serious student and a friend. Later on, I did run into Karen several...Read More »
5 of 8 | Posted by: Linda (Robertson) Wosje - SD

“I was one of Karen's nurses in the nursing home in Gregory when she recovering from a hip surgery and also a friend through the library book club ...Read More »
6 of 8 | Posted by: Rose Wells - Gregory

“My thoughts and prayers! Karen was my classmate from grade 4 through 12. We also attended the same church, attended VBS, Sunday School and were...Read More »
7 of 8 | Posted by: Lorraine Besmer - Rapid City, SD

“Rest In Peace Karen. ”
8 of 8 | Posted by: Ron Nikodym - Shawnee, KS

God's Special Person

In Karen's early years it became apparent that she was a child with special "gifts". God saved her from a bout of spinal meningitis when she was only 7 years old and provided her with a plan that became a "roadmap" for her years on earth. As she grew older, she developed these special gifts which she readily bestowed upon her family and friends. One gift was her deep caring for others and helping them when they were in need. She took great pride in counseling others and also becoming a health advisor, informing persons about dietary supplements that she believed could possibly contribute to their health and wellness, and enjoyment of life.

Karen showed her care for others in her professional and volunteer activities. Professionally, her role as Assistant Librarian at the State Library in Pierre and the Gregory Public Library were on her prescribed roadmap; so was her role as a worker and later a patient at the Avera Rosebud County Care Center. The avenues of serving as President of the Gregory Lion's Club, and collecting community news for the Gregory Times Advocate were other ways of contributing to others. These activities, plus her love of God were consistent with following the major pathway for her life, affecting the personal lives of others in a positive way.

Growing Up and Adulthood

Karen spent her early years residing on a farm about 4 miles south of Gregory. At age 9, her family became residents in the town of Gregory, when her father purchased a mechanics shop and house from his brother. He opened the shop as a Blacksmith business, specializing in custom ironwork repairs. His hardware included a forge, anvil, huge hammers and a welder. He obtained many ball bearings from his work on farm equipment wheels and gave them to Karen. She became the envy of young boys in her school class and in the neighborhood, as they frequently challenged her in a game of "marbles" with the hope of gaining her "steelies".

In her teen years, Karen saved her money from working at the "Tasty Shop" and later at the Ben Franklin Store to purchase motor bikes. This gave her a spirit of adventure and pleasure, knowing that it was not fashionable for girls, at that time, to participate in such a sport.

Karen met Walter Lee Knudsen in 1962 who was in partnership with his brother in operating a TV and Electronics shop in Gregory. "Walt" then became the "love of her earthly life" and they were married on July 5, 1964. After only 9 years of marriage, Walt became "Asleep in Jesus" after an illness of several months.
After that time, cats became the "2nd love of Karen's earthly life". She was often known to take in cats and provide for them, when others could not. The cats were very playful and so happy to see her when she returned for the day; she greatly enjoyed sharing her love with them. Her five remaining beloved cats are now looking for a new home and someone who would like to make one of them part of their life.

Although Karen had medical concerns spring forth throughout her life, as a result of her childhood bout with spinal meningitis, she always maintained a positive attitude. She believed that God had a special mission for her to carry out in her earthly life and she enjoyed doing it.

Karen was preceded in death by her father and mother, Ladik and Mae Janousek, and her brother Stephen.

She is survived by her sister, Jan Johnson, who lives in Phoenix, AZ. She also leaves behind many cousins, nieces and nephews and a whole host of friends. She is fondly remembered by all. Her favorite voice message she recorded on her telephone so proudly resonated: "May God bless and have a God-filled week."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Funeral services for Karen Knudsen, of Gregory, SD, were held on Saturday, February 24, 2018 at 2 p.m. at St. John Lutheran Church in Gregory with Pastor Marcus Ring officiating. A prayer service was held Friday evening at the church.

Music was provided by Melanie Hannahs, organist.

Congregational Hymns were "What A Friend We Have in Jesus," "I Know That My Redeemer Lives," and "Take My Life and Let It Be."

Burial was in the I.O.O.F. Cemetery, Gregory, SD.