Sarah Szabo

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 1:32 pm

Sarah Szabo, 41, of Decorah, died Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016, at her home. Memorial services were at 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21, at Schluter – Balik Funeral Home in Decorah, with Rev. Matt Larson of Burr Oak and Hesper Lutheran parishes officiating. A poem, “A Perfect Picture of You,” was read by Aunt Barb Lickteig. The eulogy was given by Bekah Krueger. Special music: “Seasons in the Sun” (Terry Jacks) and “What a Wonderful World” (Louis Armstrong).

Sarah Elizabeth McKinley Gjere Szabo was born Aug. 1, 1975, to John and Shirley (Fenske) McKinley in Rochester, Minn. Sarah went to school in Rochester and graduated from Mayo High School. In her youth she took lessons in horseback riding and Tae Kwon Do and was a member of the Girls Scouts. She took winter family vacations to Florida and fall trips to Strawberry Lake, Minn. and Duluth. In December 2002, she was married to Travis Gjere and two children were born to this union, Oliver and Hannah. They later divorced. Sarah worked at the Winneshiek Medical Center and was currently employed with Opportunity Homes in Decorah. Sarah was a loving and devoted mother, daughter, sister and friend. She had an adventurous spirit and a kind heart. Her love for animals began at an early age with the family dogs, Chauney and Sam. When she was four years old, she had a rabbit, which she named Carrot. Next came a kitten, Muffin, and then another she called Rosie, named after her Grandma Rose who didn’t particularly like cats. She got her first puppy on her 10th birthday. She was going to get a beagle and call it Snickers because they have the same coloring as a Snickers candy bar. As luck would have it she fell in love with a cocker spaniel first, so that was her Snickers. After that she had several dogs: Jasper, Jasmine, Ike, Scruffy and Buttercup. Sarah loved art, especially throwing pottery. Sarah enjoyed many kinds of music. Fall and Halloween were her favorite times of the year. She has passed on many of these things and traits onto her beloved children, Oliver and Hannah. Sarah was loved and will be greatly missed by her family and friends.

Sarah is survived by her two children, Oliver and Hannah Gjere, and their father, Travis Gjere, Decorah; her parents, John and Shirley (Fenske) McKinley, Rochester, Minn.; one brother, William (Missy) McKinley, Dallas, Texas; maternal grandmother, Rosella Fenske, Cresco; aunts and uncles: Michael McKinley, Muncie, Ind.; Jane (Ed) Gentry, Bluffton, Ind.; Julie Barr, Idaho; Linda Hovey, Cresco; Betty (Allen) Leitz, Tomahawk, Wis.; Dale (Candy) Fenske, Protivin; Barbara (Dale) Lickteig, Cresco; Rick (Karen Start) Fenske, Ostrander, Minn.; Connie (Dale) Burnikel, Protivin; Daniel Fenske, Charles City; as well as 15 cousins. Sarah is also survived by Travis’ parents, Steve and Denise Gjere, of Decorah and their children: Michelle, Pete, Randy, Chris and Matt and their families.

Sarah was preceded in death by her paternal grandparents, Lucille Payne and John A. McKinley; maternal grandfather, Willian John Fenske; aunt, JoAnn Curtis and uncles, Floyd Fenske and John Fenske.

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