Cover photo for Karen Jean Tagatz's Obituary
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1939 Karen 2022

Karen Jean Tagatz

August 1, 1939 — October 17, 2022

Karen Jean Tagatz

August 1, 1939 – October 17, 2022

 

Karen passed away unexpectedly on October 17th, 2022 while at home in Sioux City, IA.   She was born in Rockford, Illinois on August 1, 1939 to Glenn and Lucille (Adolphsen) Pearson, the oldest of two children.  She graduated from East High School in 1957, where she was President of the Boys Glee Club, and played piano.  She also enjoyed being an editor of the high school newspaper.  She worked as a Kelly Girl for a local law firm through all of her high school and college summer breaks and was proud of the work she did there.  Growing up, Karen loved playing baseball with the neighborhood kids, playing piano, and her beloved cat, Ginger.

Karen then attended Drake University in Des Moines, IA and graduated in 1961 with a degree in History, and minors in Sociology and Political Science.   Karen was an active member of Chi Omega Sorority all 4 years while at Drake.  There she met her future husband, Robert (Bob) Tagatz.  Upon graduation, they both began their working careers in Muscatine, IA.  Karen taught elementary school and Bob worked for Prime Mover.  They married on April 19, 1962.   Bob then started a new job with General Motors, and they moved to Omaha, NE where Karen taught 4th grade and had many fond memories of her time there.  After relocations with General Motors to Sioux City (where her children were born), Lisle, IL and Denver, CO, they finally settled back in Sioux City in 1969 to raise their family and start a business.  

Karen began a new career with Holy Spirit Retirement Home as an Activity Coordinator in 1973 when the kids were both in school full-time.  She enjoyed having her summers off to be home with her children.  She soon became the Activity Director and was elected the first state President of the Iowa Activity Coordinators Association.  She also taught some of the required courses for certification at Western Iowa Tech Community College.  She retired from Holy Spirit in 2004.

Karen loved antiquing and spent countless hours scouring shops, flea markets and farms for pristine, primitive antiques to add to her collection.  She was a wonderful decorator and a fabulous cook.  She especially enjoyed cooking and serving her traditional Swedish Christmas Eve meal every year and was proud of her Swedish heritage.  She was fortunate to have been able to travel to Sweden with Todd and family, as well as to Asia, Europe and much of the U.S. with Bob in her lifetime.  She was an avid reader of non-fiction and was a constant visitor at the public library.  She enjoyed being active at First Lutheran Church, the League of Women Voters, Junior League, La Sertoma, PEO, Traveler’s Club, The Pierce Mansion, Reach and Recovery, District Health Dental Department, Road to Recovery, The Cancer Center and the Siouxland Food Bank. 

Karen is survived by her children, Todd (Maureen) Tagatz of Brandon, SD and their daughter Olivia; Amy (Joel) Pearson of Waukee, IA and their children: Jonathon, Spencer, Owen and Caroline; brother Robert (Carole) Pearson and their children: Dawn (Robert) Huffman, Dan and Monica.  She was predeceased by her parents and former husband, Bob.

Karen was a special mother, grandmother, sister and friend.  She was gifted with a gentle spirit, kind heart and a wonderful wit, and will be missed by the many who knew and loved her.  Memorials may be directed to the Food Bank of Siouxland or to the Siouxland Humane Society.  Interment will be in Germania, WI at a later date.


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