Karen Schwarz, the daughter of Otto and Florence (Voelker) Olesen, was born October 23, 1944 in Charles City, Iowa and departed this life October 15, 2019 at the Mercy Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa. She lived her life to the age 74 years, 11 months and 22 days.
Karen grew up in Charles City and graduated from the Charles City High School in 1962. She later attended Hamilton Business College in Mason City, Iowa.
On September 5, 1964, Karen Olesen was united in marriage to Ron Schwarz in Charles City. Two children, Tony and Amy, were born to this union. The family made their home in Boone, Iowa where Karen raised her children and worked many years as a legal secretary, retiring in 2006. Karen and Ron were later divorced and Karen continued to live in Boone. Karen was working at a lounge in Boone when she met Gordon Kanke. They struck up a relationship and later Karen sold her home in Boone and she and Gordy moved to Hartley, Iowa where they made their home together. In 2015, Karen and Gordy moved to their present home in Jefferson.
Karen is survived by her longtime partner in life, Gordy Kanke of Jefferson, children; Tony (Mila) Schwarz of West Des Moines, Iowa and Amy (Brian) Strable of Ankeny, Iowa, a granddaughter, Jenna Strable, three brothers; Richard and wife, Marcia, Olesen and Eldon and wife, Beverley, Olesen, both of Charles City, Iowa and Jim and wife, Annette, Olesen of Albert Lea, Minnesota, a sister, Evelynn Zack of Downers Grove, Illinois and Gordy’s family Bill (Lori) Kanke of St. Joseph, Missouri and their children; Ethan (Chelsea) Kanke, Matthew Kanke and Phillip Kanke and Brenda (Greg) Poole of Delaware and their children; Sara and Dayle Poole. She was preceded in death by her parents.
A time of remembrance was held on Saturday, October 26, 2019, at the Brown Funeral Home in Jefferson.