NEW ULM - Karen A. Whitman, 74, of New Ulm, passed away Sunday, August 18, 2013 at the Oak Hills Living Center from complications of breast cancer which was first diagnosed 20 years ago.
Funeral service will be at 11 a.m., Thursday, August 22, at the United Church of Christ in New Ulm with Pastor Ric Jacobsen officiating. Burial will be at the New Ulm City Cemetery.
Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m. Wednesday and 7:30-8:30 a.m. Thursday at the Minnesota Valley Funeral Home SOUTH CHAPEL in New Ulm and will continue for one hour prior to the time of service at the church on Thursday. To sign the guest book or to leave an online condolence for her family go to www.mvfh.org.
Karen Ann Wagner, the daughter of Ellsworth "Babe" and Florence (Sjogren) Wagner was born October 24, 1938 in New Ulm. She spent her preschool years in New York City where her father was a trombone player with the Gene Krupa Orchestra. When Karen was of school age, the family returned to New Ulm. After graduating from New Ulm High School in 1956 and a trip to Europe, Karen attended Gustavus Adolphus College. Influenced by her musical heritage, she furthered her education at Westlake College of Music in Los Angeles where she met her husband, Jim, a jazz pianist. Jim's work as a musician took the Whitmans to San Antonio, Las Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe, and eventually Santa Barbara, California. Before the birth of their son, Eric, they returned to Minnesota.
Karen began Uncommon Cargo, one of the first antique/hand-crafted gift stores in New Ulm. She discovered that she enjoyed selling and directed her sales ability toward real estate. She was associated with Continental, Century 21, Jerry Burns, Valley Properties and Koeckeritz Realty, now Century 21, for 34 years. Karen was a member of the Junior Pioneers, the Brown County Historical Society, Turner Ladies, P.E.O., and served on boards of the New Ulm Concert Association, Wanda Gag House, and church council of the United Church of Christ.
Karen is survived by Jim Whitman, her husband of 54 years, of New Ulm; their son, Eric (Wendy) of Chaska; aunt, Virginia Wagner of Anoka; numerous cousins, including Jill Wagner, Mary McClellan, Lynn (Steve) Marquardt; niece, Amy Britton; nephews, Jay and Jon Marquardt, David McClellan; and many wonderful friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents; several cousins; and other family members. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Brown County Humane Society.