Karen Bakke, age 72, of Marshall, Minnesota, died on Friday, November 5, 2021, after a valiant battle with cancer. Funeral Services are 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, November 9, 2021, at Living Word Lutheran Church in Marshall, Minnesota. A reception for attendees will follow in the church basement. Visitation will be held from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. Monday, November 8, 2021, at the Hamilton Funeral Home in Marshall. A prayer service will begin at 6:30 p.m. followed by a time to share memories. Visitation will then continue one hour prior to the service on Tuesday, from 10:00 a.m. until the time of services at 11:00 a.m., at the church. Interment will be at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, November 10, 2021, at the Groton Union Catholic Cemetery in Groton, South Dakota. The public is again welcome to attend this final tribute on Wednesday.

Karen Ann Sanderson was born on July 14, 1949, in Aberdeen, South Dakota, to Wayne and Patricia (Rix) Sanderson. She spent her childhood on a farm north of Groton, South Dakota, with sisters Kathy, Peggy, and Patti – playing paper dolls, and ice skating on the cattle pond.  Karen graduated from high school in Groton in 1967 and moved to Rapid City, South Dakota, to attend National College of Business. It was in Rapid City that Karen met the love of her life, Emmet Bakke, on a blind date. After an evening of conversation, they both knew they wanted to spend more time together, and they married on January 31, 1970.  Karen and Emmet were stationed in Rapid City, SD; Island of Guam; San Bernardino, CA; Denver, CO; and Wichita, KS, while Emmet finished his military commitment. They ultimately settled in Marshall, Minnesota, where they formed many lifelong friendships, and Karen’s dream of becoming a mom of many continued. Erich, Kris, and Ryan joined the family through adoption in 1975.  Karen loved playing cards with the kids on snow and rainy days, and spent every night from Thanksgiving to Christmas making holiday goodies for friends and family members. She never missed the kids’ sporting events and musical performances, and she joined every available booster club, parent group, and school committee to support their interests – all while working full-time for National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS).  After retiring from NRCS in 2010, Karen dedicated her time to the things she loved best: her faith, her friends, traveling, and playing with her nine grandchildren. She was a past member of the Jaycees and enjoyed time spent at the Senior Center playing cards and visiting with others.  Karen was a long-time member of Living Word Church, where she participated in several Bible study groups and helped out where ever needed.  She also enjoyed volunteering at the local hospital gift shop. She was a loyal friend who sent birthday, anniversary, and holiday cards to everyone she loved and acquaintances. When the kids were young, Karen and Emmet took them on long summer trips throughout the US in their old wood-paneled station wagon. Later, the couple traveled the world by plane, train, and automobile. Nothing, however, could compare to Karen’s many trips with her sisters, where they shopped, dined, and laughed until they couldn’t breathe. Karen dearly loved her grandchildren, and it showed. No one could rock a baby to sleep or send the grandkids into fits of giggles the way she could. Karen will be dearly missed by all.

She is survived by her husband of 52 years, Emmet Bakke of Marshall; children, Erich Bakke of Green Bay, WI; Kristin (Bryan) Asche of Alexandria, MN; Ryan (Tonya) Bakke of Katy, TX; her beloved grandchildren, Katelyn Bakke, Andrea Williams-Verduzco, Dawson Bakke, Ian Bakke, Sawyer Bakke, Schylar Bakke, Zoe Bakke, Beaux Asche, Croix Asche; her dear nieces and nephews; and a multitude of friends.  Karen was preceded in death by her parents, Wayne and Patricia Sanderson, and her in-laws, Peder and Olga (Skogen) Bakke.