Cover photo for Karen Donahue's Obituary
Karen Donahue Profile Photo
1948 Karen 2021

Karen Donahue

April 19, 1948 — March 27, 2021

Karen Beth Hanson Donahue was born on April 19, 1948 in Worthington, MN to Don and Rita Hanson, the second of their four daughters. She enjoyed a carefree small town childhood filled with friends and endless activities.

Karen graduated from Worthington High School in 1966, attended the University of Minnesota Minneapolis, and graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh with a BA in Education. She met Ken Donahue when he attended Worthington Junior College and they married on August 16, 1970. Ken swept her off to Wisconsin and she spent the next 50+ years living in Ripon and the Berlin, WI area.

Karen taught art in the schools, and then became a mother to Megan, Brooke and Patrick “PJ”. With an entrepreneur’s spirit, she opened Town & Country Interiors in Ripon in 1983. She was a 3rd generation furniture business owner, with a specialty in design. Karen ran a successful business for 22 years until the limitations caused by Parkinson’s Disease became too much. She was an advocate of Parkinson’s research and Deep Brain Stimulation, bravely following new studies to keep the disease at bay. Karen continued to live her life with gusto, traveling widely with Ken in the motorcycle side car, van and motorhome to Alaska, Mexico, and all over the US. Several wonderful trips to Europe, plus Kenya, were shared with her mother and sisters. She had an eye for style and beauty throughout her life and enjoyed helping others to enhance their homes. Karen lived with good grace and humor in spite of the P.D., strong in her love of Ken and family, their dogs, her sisters, many long friendships, her flowers, photography and travel.

Karen passed away unexpectedly at age 73 on Saturday, March 27, 2021, at her home. She is lovingly remembered by Ken, her husband of 50 years; her children: Megan (Ross Elmore) Donahue of Tucson, AZ, Brooke Donahue of Ripon, WI and P.J. (Brittany Grumm) Donahue of Orcas Island, WA; grandchildren, Quinn and Liam Gilfillan and Eden and Campbell Strankman; step-grandchild, Sam Jacobson; sisters (the other Hanson girls) Jan Hanson (Richard) Lowe, Lynn (John Robertson) Hanson, and Robin (Don Uhlhorn) Hanson; sisters-in-law, Bonnie (Frank) Zobar, Susie (Terri) Hill, Linda (Tab) Fivecote and Debbie Speth; brothers-in-law, Jeff (Sally) Donahue and Gary (Irene Schweitzer) Matthies, plus numerous loved nieces and nephews and their families. She was preceded in death by her parents, Donald and Rita Hanson.

A private family memorial service for Karen will be held on Wednesday, May 19, 2021, at the First Congregational Church of Ripon, UCC with Reverend Jeffrey A. Dodson officiating. Memorials may be directed to a charity of your choice.

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