"Karen was a very sweet lady. She was our neighbor on the farm years ago. My thoughts and prayers to her family"
In light of current conditions, the service will be limited to immediate family. The memorial service will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 and will be livestreamed at https://www.facebook.com/oakcrestfuneralservices.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to your favorite charity in Karen's name.
Karen Lou Askeland was born on January 18, 1939, in Forest City, Iowa, to Vernon and Opal (Beckjordan) Mathews. The third of seven beautiful daughters, she grew up making playhouses in empty corn cribs and groves, lying in the pasture to gaze up at the clouds (which reminded her of the 23rd Psalm), playing cowboys with her friend Sharon and canasta with her sisters. The girls all walked to country school, King #7, ¾ of a mile up the road from their farm in Thompson, Iowa, and Karen graduated from Thompson High School in 1957. She liked most school subjects, especially art and English, and the business classes like bookkeeping, typing, and shorthand.
Karen was athletic her whole life: a high school basketball player (when girls teams still played wearing skirts), a skilled golfer, a champion of the local bowling leagues, and an awesome roller skater both forwards and backwards. While skating in Buffalo Center during her junior year of high school, her fancy footwork snagged the attention of a fine young baritone named Koreen "Ish" Askeland who was on the sidelines singing with some other BC boys. A light dusting of snow had fallen, which Koreen adroitly used as a pretext to offer to drive Karen home..and she eagerly accepted!
Koreen and Karen have been driving the roads of life together pretty much ever since. After he returned from a summer experience in Europe, while Karen worked as a secretary for an insurance agency, Koreen proposed at Pilot Knob State Park in the fall of of '57. The two married in Thompson, Iowa, on April 20, 1958, and moved to a farm east of Buffalo Center, where they soon began a family--all girls, just like Karen's family growing up.
A constant in Karen's life has been her strong Christian faith which has guided her powerfully from her own Confirmation as a young teenager in Bethany Lutheran Church and shaped how she and Koreen raised their four daughters. Beyond weekly attendance at Sunday services, Karen's lovely alto was always a steady contributor to the church choir. She taught Sunday School, actively participated in BLCW, and, perhaps most importantly, led her family in daily devotions, reading "Little Visits With God," to her four blonde girls in their pajamas every night, ending with prayers that included by name dozens of family members, friends and people in need.
Later in life Karen mentioned that she might have liked to be a chef, and anyone who has shared a meal at her home knows that her cooking and baking was itself a ministry of love and care, feeding the bodies and spirits alike of the many who sat at her table--her cinnamon rolls, homemade cream filled "Hostess" cupcakes, banana bars, and lemon pie are legendary. Her children Karla, Denise, Lori and Gina, were the primary beneficiaries, always hoping to learn to cook, garden, sew as well as Mom. She encouraged all four girls to keep the faith, rooted in love and praise, and to get whatever education they wanted to fulfill their dreams. She was a great mom, neighbor, community leader, and friend to countless people, far and wide.
Karen and Koreen weathered ups and downs of farm life, with mom driving tractor and leading the beanwalking and rock picking crews (I.e., kids and cousins!). During a challenging time in the 1980s, Mom worked for Green Giant and Telex, and for a time was a Creative Memories consultant, which she truly enjoyed. Working hard their whole lives, they made it to a wonderful, faith-filled retirement of daily drives, cabin life, winters in Arizona, and enjoying time with their 13 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren (and one more on the way). Karen never missed a birthday or anniversary of anyone in the family, singing the birthday song in harmony with Koreen over the phone, first thing in the morning. True companions for life, in Christ.
During this most recent trial of CoVid, Karla asked Karen how she was doing right now--feeling overwhelmed? Anxious? Karen said, "God tells us not to worry but to pray." That is Karen: leaning on the everlasting arms, a steady firm foundation of faith in Jesus Christ her Savior. Karla said, "What comfort that gives me!" Mom was ministering to us all, and mothering us kids, to the end.
Karen died surrounded by her family, who were singing hymns and reciting aloud Psalm 23 from memory, on Sunday morning, November, 14, 2021.
Karen's memory will be cherished always by her loving husband Koreen Askeland of Buffalo Center, Iowa; daughters Karla (Michael) Ostermann of Clyde, Kansas; Denise Askeland of Blue Earth, Minnesota; Lori Askeland (Frank Doden) of Yellow Springs, Ohio; Gina (Todd) Williams of Park Rapids, Minnesota; and by her grandchildren: Megan (Paul) Behrendtsen, Jonathan (Casie) Ostermann, Heidi (Austin) Zolman; Joshua, Rebekah, Caleb, Grace and Jessica Ostermann; Cleo and Alexandra Glowaski and Dominic Askeland; Kyle and Madison Williams. And great grandchildren--Codan, Jadian, and Ziyana Behrendtsen; David and Karden Ostermann; Story and Brayden Zolman.
Karen is also survived by her sisters Joan (Bob) Christianson of Buffalo Center, Iowa; Lois Menchen of Niland, California; LaVonne (Arnold) Grunhovd of Rake, Iowa; Mary Mathews of Buffalo Center, Iowa; Judy (Duane) Gudmanson of Lake Mills, Iowa; Diane (Larry) Eide of Blaine, Washington. And by siblings-in-law Carolyn Skogen of Buffalo Center, Iowa, and Orvin Askeland (Laurel Ehrich) of The Villages, Florida. Plus many nieces, nephews (regular, great, and great-great), and a huge, beloved extended family.
Karen was preceded in death by her parents, and by her in-laws Ingvald and Lavina Askeland, Lila and Arlan Rauk, Carlin Egesdal, Pam Askeland, Donald Skogen, and Diane and Steve Christianson, Edwin Smith, Norman Redeker, George Menchen, Richard Glowaski, and by nephews David Egesdal and Randy Smith.
"Karen was a very sweet lady. She was our neighbor on the farm years ago. My thoughts and prayers to her family"
"Dear Askeland family, I am so sorry for your loss. May you draw comfort from each other and the many wonderful memories shared by family and friends. My thoughts and prayers are with you. "
"Aunt Karen had a heart like no other. She gave generously, loved unconditionally, and was a joy to be around. I am sad you are gone, but I rejoice I will see you again someday. Love you auntie."
"Koreen, Karla, Denise, Lori, Gina and families, How very sorry I am to hear of Karen?s passing. What a kind, gentle, wonderful woman of God Karen was. I have great memories of sleepovers with Lori at your home when I was a child. Karen?s kindness and generosity always made me feel right at home and of course every meal and treat she made for us in that cozy kitchen was amazing! I had the pleasure of visiting with Karen roughly a year ago in the new home in town. I left with a smile on my face thinking about how much God?s goodness still poured out of her. Nothing about Karen had changed from those sleepover days from long ago. What a blessing to know Karen and experience God through her. Comfort to you all as you miss your wife, mother and grandmother. May comfort and joy replace your sadness knowing she?ll be greeting you one day as you join her in heaven."
"Karen was the epidemy of what a Christian was to be like. She was a very kind and compassionate person. I guess I first met her & Koreen about 56 years ago as a 10 year old child. And since reacquainted a few years back. She will be missed by all who knew her. Me for sure. Some sweet day when we sing up there together we will meet again. Until then. To Koreen and the rest of the family, I am sorry for your great loss. I"
"Karen was a remarkable person. As I observed her in our times together, she was a first class wife, mother, sister, and friend. Her ready smile and laugh was uplifting and will be missed. While we all are glad she is no longer suffering, we grieve her loss. Love, Larry Eide"
"Koreen and family, Mark and I will truly miss aunt Karen. Even though we can\'t be with you on Wed. you are all in our thoughts and prayers. Karen was such a positive, welcoming person and that smile. I so enjoyed visiting with her. I will always remember those Askeland Christmases, there was so much joy as everyone sang. Karen will be missed, her spark was contagious. "
"Diane Mathews Eide, Karen\'s sister. Proverbs 31 came to my mind when I think of Karen. She was a faithful wife. She brought good to their home & stood by Ish through the good & bad. She kept her vows before God & man. She worked hard. She prepared amazing food for their family. She managed their home well. She helped those in need. She was clothed in faith, love, dignity & because of her faith, she could laugh at the days to come. \"A woman who fears the Lord is to be PRAISED!\" Karen was like Jesus. She loved like He did. She walked the faith. Thanks be to God for Karen! Her greatest rewards are in heaven! Well done good & faithful servant."
"Koreen and family, I am deeply sorry for your loss. Karen was such a sweet, king, caring, generous, funny, loving woman. A truly amazing woman. You raised such a great family together, as you were an awesome father and husband to her Koreen. I loved Karen?s laugh and sweet smile, she will be missed greatly. I?m thankful that we know she?s in heaven, in her new body, with Jesus since she was a true believer. Love you all and praying for comfort and peace through this difficult time. Angela Pena (Eide)"
"Koreen and family, We were so, so sorry to learn of Karen?s passing. We thoroughly enjoyed sharing Arizona sunshine with both of you over the years. Karen was such a kind and caring lady and will be missed by so many. Her faith in God has now come full circle as she was welcomed into heaven, face to face with God almighty."
"I\'m so sorry to hear of your loss. I just recently met your parents and I enjoyed spending the times with a lovely lady. She certainly was a faith filled woman. God bless you all. "
"Larry and I are so saddened by Karen?s passing. She was sweet funny and always up for an adventure. I will miss her wonderful lemon pie. Her soft voice And most of all her kind thoughtful ways. She told us more than once how much she loved her family. Her devotion to you Koreen was wonderful to see. A true loving partner. She will be watching over us all now. Gently nudging us to make good god loving choices. Her love will be everywhere. With all our sympathies Brenda and Larry Gibbs"
"so sorry for your loss. My Heartfelt Prayers & Love, Mark J.VonBank-Park Rapids,Mn.-[formerly of Algona,Iowa]"
"Your mother was such a sweetheart. I am so sorry for your loss. May God be with you all in the days and weeks ahead. God bless you all.??"
"Karen was a wonderful lady and will be missed by all who knew her! Your memories will be a comfort later and will help you get through this awful time. "
"Our thoughts and prayers are for all of you, Koreen and the rest of the family. "
"our thoughts and prayers for the family, keep the memories close, so sorry for your lost she was one great lady"
"My thoughts are with Karen?s family! May the many wonderful memories of Karen bring a smile to you face in the difficult days ahead. "