Eau Claire, Wis. Karen Margrethe Kadgihn, age 97, passed away July 19th, at Grace Willowbrook Assisted Living in Eau Claire, Wis.
Karen was born Dec. 27, 1914, on the family farm near Ringsted, Iowa. She was the first child born to Martin and Marie (Pedersen) Thomsen, both of Danish ancestry.?She attended country school by walking a mile across the open fields from their farm, and graduated in 1932 from Ringsted High School. She proceeded with her education in Des Moines, Iowa, at Grand View College which was affiliated with the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It was a Grand View that she met Karl M. Laursen. They were married in his home town of Enumclaw, Wash., on Oct. 7, 1942. Shortly after their marriage, Karl was drafted into the U.S. Army. He was stationed in France, serving as a medic when he became a casualty of WWII.
Karen returned to Iowa and worked as a professional portrait colorist for a photography studio in Iowa City, Iowa. On March 1, 1947, she married Jake Leo Kadgihn, the owner of Kadgihn's Studio. The summer of 1954, they purchased a studio in Blue Earth, and moved there with their two daughters. When Leo passed away on July 13, 1966, Karen operated the studio for a few years as both the photographer and the colorist. She sold the studio in 1969, and then worked at the Bernina Sewing and Fabric Store, and later at the Mode O Day store.
Karen M. Kadgihn
In the summer of 1994, Karen moved to Eau Claire, Wis., to be closer to family. On Feb. 3, 2002, she married one of her Grand View College friends, Carl Lauresen. They moved to Grace Willowbrook Assisted Living in 2006, where Carl passed away on Nov. 21, 2010.
Karen was devoted to her Danish heritage in many ways. She was fluent in the Danish Language and translated numerous letters and songs for relatives and friends. Danish traditions were instilled as a child and she continued to follow them throughout her life, teaching them to others along the way. She traveled to Denmark several times to expand her relationships with her relatives and to absorb the historical environment and atmosphere.
Karen spent her entire life loving all aspects of nature. The stars and natures music were some of her favorites. Her poetic writings, woodcarvings, drawings, and paintings showed how she used nature for many of her inspirations. She was blessed with a beautiful singing voice and enjoyed singing well into her nineties.
Genealogy and family history were of great importance to Karen. The family was fortunate to have had much information previously recorded, but Karen was the one who extensively researched the family tree, documented stories that had been passed on, and then assembled a detailed history for all members of her family.
Volunteering and being a dedicated member in organizations was a large part of her life. She was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star in Blue Earth and Eau Claire, Business and Professional Women's Club, Historical Society, American Diabetes Association, Woodcarver's Club, Danish American Heritage Society, Council on Aging, Home Extension, and she was dedicated to The Danish Immigrant Museum in Elk Horn, Iowa, donating many family treasures for them to use and display.
Karen is survived by her two daughters, BebeAnna Barbara (Michael) Buck, of Eau Claire, and Marie "Mimi" Otillia (Steven) Payne, of New London; her brother, Aksel (LouAnn) Thomsen, of Ringsted; and two nieces, Jane (Don) Scaro, of Edgerton, Kan., and Laura Thomsen, of Oakland Park, Kan. She is known as "Mormor" to her grandchildren, Kirsten (Ross) Thompson, Andrew (Rebecca)?Buck, Kaaren (Joe) Grabianowski, Jake Bowers, and seven great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her three husbands; her parents; a niece, Linda Thomsen; and a nephew, Martin Thomsen.
A Memorial Service was held Aug. 10, 2012, at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Eau Claire, Wis. Interment will be at St. John's Lutheran Cemetery in Ringsted at a later date.
Evergreen Funeral Home and Crematory served the family.
To send your condolence to the family, please visit our obituaries at www.evergreenfuneralhome.com