Karen Ann Hemesath

Tuesday, September 5, 2017 2:51 pm

Karen Ann Hemesath, 73, of Castalia, passed away Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, at the Ossian Senior Hospice, surrounded by her loving family, after suffering a series of strokes. Visitation was Friday, Sept. 1, from 4 to 9 p.m. at Schmitz-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service, Ossian, and one hour before Mass at the church Saturday. Mass of Christian Burial was at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 2, at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church, Ossian, with Rev. Robert Gross as the celebrant. Interment followed at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Cemetery, Ossian. Schmitz-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service, Ossian, helped the family with the arrangements.

Karen Ann was born Aug. 27, 1944, to Philip A. Schmitz and Florence A. Miller in Decorah. She was baptized and confirmed at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church, where she remained a member her entire life. Karen attended De Sales Catholic High School and graduated in 1962. Following her education, she attended the Paris Academy of Cosmetology in Cedar Rapids. After receiving her cosmetology license, Karen was employed at Althea’s Beauty Salon in Waukon, and then Brannon’s Beauty Salon in Ossian.

Karen was united in marriage June 2, 1964, to Frederick John (Jack) Hemesath at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Ossian. Six children were born to this union. After their marriage, they purchased a farm southwest of Castalia and engaged in dairy farming.

Karen raised her children and assisted Jack with bookkeeping. She was involved with the Schmitz family funeral home up until her illness. One of Karen and Jack’s favorite past times was dancing. They could be spotted at every community dance, enjoying everything from polkas to waltzes. Karen enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren, camping, time with friends, raising Maltese dogs, and Bingo.

Karen was a member of the De Sales Rosary Society, served her church as eucharistic minister and liturgy committee member, and was a member of Ossian Crown Club, Tuesday Club and Craft Club. Karen poured her heart into every project that she was part of, including the Bingo program at De Sales for over 17 years. Karen will be remembered as a “social butterfly” who loved people and her hometown of Ossian. Her passion, generosity and spirit to support her church and local community will be missed.

Karen is survived by her two sons, Russell (Mary) Hemesath of Clermont and Douglas (Jenny) Hemesath of Waterloo; three daughters; Renee (Rick) Matt of Castalia, Naomi (Jeff) Harm of Fairfield, Calif. and Natalie (Dave) Knutson of Ossian; 15 grandchildren: Becca, Ben, Belle, Brian, Damien, Jesse, Sage, Ryan, Darin, Jacob, Dustin, Evan, Tanner, Colin, Josie; and four great-grandchildren. She also is survived by one sister, Mary Lou Uhlenhake of Ossian; and one brother, Kenneth (Jane) Schmitz of Arkadelphia, Ark.; Sisters-in-law Sharon Schmitz of Clinton, Sr. Tekakwitha (Germaine) Hemesath of Waltham, Mass. and Colette McVaney of Omaha, Neb.; brothers-in-law Carl (Jeanne) Hemesath of Bonita, Calif. and Greg Hemesath of Lousiville, Ky.; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Karen was preceded in death by her husband, Jack Hemesath, in 2008; her two sons, one in infancy and Darren, at birth; her parents, Philip and Florence; parents-in-law; John and Iola Hemesath; one brother, Karl Schmitz; sisters-and-brothers-in-law: Ivan Uhlenhake, William and Elsie Dessel, Don and Irma Hanken, Mark and Bernice Tressel and Donald McVaney; and one granddaughter, Beth Hemesath.

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