June 24, 2020 – West Bend, WI – Karen J. Oelhafen (nee Baetz), 82, of West Bend, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, in the comfort of her home surrounded by her family.
Karen was born on June 10, 1938 in Hartford to the late Merril and Frances (nee Van Hara) Baetz. In 1956, she graduated from Hartford High School. On December 20, 1958, she married the love of her life, Thomas Oelhafen, at Trinity Ev. Lutheran Church in Huilsburg and together they raised three children.
Throughout her life, Karen worked numerous jobs in addition to caring for her family. However, she always made time for those that she loved. She retired from the West Bend Mutual Insurance Company, but never let retirement slow her down. Karen wasn’t one to sit and watch others have all the fun. She greatly enjoyed bowling, playing golf and softball. When she felt a little less adventurous, she would spend her time playing bridge or cross stitching for herself and her family. Her favorite priority was to spend time with those she cared about most, especially her grandchildren. Her vivaciousness and passion for life will be greatly missed by those that knew and loved her.
Those Karen leaves behind to cherish her memory include her husband of 61 years, Thomas; her three children, Linda (Larry) Hopkins of Noblesville, Indiana, Michael (Bill) Oelhafen of Milwaukee, and Mary (Bill) Nimrod of Glenview, Illinois; four grandchildren, Kyle Schaefer, Abbey Schaefer, Thomas Nimrod, and Sarah Nimrod; one sister, Sarah (Robert) Boll; and other nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.
In addition to her parents, Karen is preceded in death by her brother and sister-in-law, Ralph (Juanita) Baetz.
Due to Covid-19, a private family graveside service in remembrance of Karen will be held in St. Martin’s Union Cemetery in Fillmore.
Memorials in honor of Karen can be made to the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation.
Please consider signing our online guest book to share your condolences with the family. Cards addressed to the family may be sent in care of: Myrhum – Patten Funeral and Cremation Service, 1315 W. Washington Street, West Bend, WI 53095.
The family would like to thank the doctors and their staffs who became trusted friends; Dr. Hedy Kindler (University of Chicago), Dr. Thomas Hensing (Northshore University HealthSystem), and Dr. Gary Herdrich (Froedert) whose kind hearts and dedication were steadfast.