Karen Kay Thompson

Karen Kay (Affeldt) Thompson passed away peacefully at her home in Stewartville, MN on Thursday (August 13, 2020) following a lengthy illness with Parkinson’s Disease. She was 78.

Karen was born on October 16, 1941 in Lacrosse, WI to Alvin and Helen (Christopherson) Affeldt. She was their only child. She was raised on the family farm in Wykoff, MN. She was baptized and later confirmed at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Wykoff. Karen attended Wykoff Public School, and graduated in 1959. After graduating, she was employed with Northwestern Bell in Rochester, as a telephone operator. She met Harlan Thompson of Ostrander, MN at the Pla-Mor Ballroom in Rochester, and they were married on April 20, 1963 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Wykoff. The couple briefly made their home in Rochester, before moving to Stewartville, where they lived their entire marriage. Harlan was employed with IBM in Rochester for 33 years. The couple had three children, and Karen was active assisting with Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, and Boy Scouts. She was always a room mother in her children’s classrooms at Bonner Elementary. She was also involved with SYAA, and later with the high school football and basketball booster clubs. She and Harlan enjoyed attending all of their children’s events and activities. Karen was also an active member of Zion Lutheran Church for 56 years. She served on the church council, taught Tuesday School, assisted with wedding and funeral committees, and was a member of the Priscilla Circle.

In 1982, Karen began employment with Stewartville Public Schools, in the Bonner Elementary kitchen. In 1986, she became the kitchen manager and head cook at Bonner. Karen took great pride in the “from scratch” nutritious meals she provided for thousands of children in Stewartville over the years. She loved it when students saw her out in the community and would comment, “Hey- that’s my lunch lady!” She retired in 2006, working in the Bonner Elementary kitchen for 24 years. She was also briefly employed at Boyum Foods in Stewartville. Retirement was a challenge, as Karen liked to work and never had a job she did not like.

Karen regarded her most important job was that of a wife, mom, and grandma. She loved being involved in all of her children’s and grandchildren’s lives and activities. Grandma Karen and Grandpa Harlan very rarely missed a grandchild’s activity, and were their biggest cheerleaders. Karen was also an avid reader and enjoyed crafting, sewing, and collecting antiques.

Karen is survived by her husband Harlan of 57 years; daughter Sheila (Steve) McNeill of Stewartville, and sons Mike (Karla Strain) Thompson of Stewartville and Mitch (Jayme) Thompson of Minneapolis; grandchildren Drew (Helena) McNeill, Katelyn (Tanner) Diggs, Marie McNeill, Justin Thompson, Joey Thompson, two great-grandchildren Amelia McNeill and Everett Diggs, and Karla Strain’s children - Maverick, Celina, and Brennan. She was preceded in death by her parents, Alvin and Helen Affeldt, and many dear pets.

Karen’s family would like to extend a special thank you to the many family members and close friends that helped and supported both she and Harlan during Karen’s illness. The visits, cards, food, and prayers have been very much appreciated. Sincere thanks go to Mayo Clinic Hospice for their compassionate care; Pastors Byron Meline, Kim Kyllo, and Bob Berglund for their visits, phone calls, and spiritual guidance; and Katie Meyerhoffer for her devoted and loving care for Karen.

Due to current health restrictions, a formal public funeral will not be held. However, a drive-through visitation for friends and family members will be held at Zion Luthern Church in Stewartville, MN on Saturday (August 15, 2020) from 10:00 A.M. to 12:00 A.M. Visitors may stay in their cars, proceed along the designated route, and speak with family members from a safe distance. A private graveside funeral service for the immediate family will be held Saturday afternoon at Woodlawn Cemetery in Stewartville with Rev. Byron Meline and Rev. Kim Kyllo officiating.

Pallbearers will be Karen’s grandchildren: Drew and Helena McNeill, Katelyn and Tanner Diggs, Marie McNeill, Justin Thompson, and Joey Thompson. Honorary pallbearers are members of the John and Ginnie King family, Karen Moen, Sharon Dryer, and Katie Meyerhoffer. Memorials, if so desired, may be forwarded directly to the family or to the Stewartville Public Library.

Griffin-Gray Funeral Home of Stewartville, MN is in charge of arrangements. On line condolences and memories of Karen are welcome at

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