After a protracted battle with cancer, Karen Lynn Lowers died on Sept. 2, 2019, in Rochester, at home surrounded by beloved friends and family. She leaves behind her wife, Cris Kellas; her sons, Anthony (Heidi) Byrne and Benjamin (Jennifer) Byrne; her father, James (Ruth) Lowers; mother, Donna (Richard) Benson; her stepsister, Teresa; and her grandchildren, Fianna, Alexis, Shelby, Gabriella, Greyson and Jack. She was preceded in death by her stepbrother, David, and her grandparents, Arnold and Minerva Thompson.

Karen was born on July 18, 1961, in La Crosse, Wis. She grew up in Mabel. In college, she studied nursing at Winona State University as well as Rochester Community and Technical College. Karen graduated as an RN, quickly securing employment at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. She served at Domitilla 4D for many years and most recently served at the Saint Marys Emergency Room Department.

Karen was known to her peers to be a source of strength during the trials of nursing school, as well as during the inherent challenges present as an RN. Her unique and contagious laugh was also known to be an encouragement to all who heard it. As a driven professional, Karen served the patients of Mayo Clinic with compassion and devotion. She had a great love for learning, always willing to discuss the difficult points of culture and society.

Karen was also a lifelong Minnesota Vikings fan, with any given Sunday finding her cheering them on to victory. When diagnosed with cancer in 2018, she remained dedicated in her work and in her will to fight her illness. She remained a brave, iron-willed woman, even throughout her final months.

Karen married her partner of 28 years, Cris Kellas, on Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. They had an amazing relationship throughout the years, experiencing many adventures hand in hand.

Karen requested to be cremated. Her ashes will be split three ways. Ashes will be given to the Mississippi River, brought to the Little Spirit Tree in Grand Portage, and the remaining ashes are to be spread in Rushford on the property of Donna Buckbee, a lifelong friend.

A celebration of life will be held at a date yet to be determined.

The family would especially like to thank Gina and Geoff Schultz, Nora and Phil Olson, Julee and Jeff Mead, Cathy Miner and many others for standing with Karen throughout the final days and for being excellent friends to Karen.