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Karen Mary (Johnson) Hed passed away on May 9th, 2024 while visiting her son in Menahga, MN. She was 87.  She was born July 16, 1936 in Buffalo, MN, to Virgil & Eva (Kappelman) Johnson. She spent her school years in Cokato where her dad owned a machine shop and remodeled antique cars. She was a girl scout and played drums in band. She loved to swim at Lake Sylvia. Her mother was trained as a teacher and Karen followed the same path, spending 3 years at the UofM before transferring to Mankato State w/degree in Education to teach Home Ec. She met her husband of 64 years, John, working at the Green Giant canning factory in Cokato. They got engaged at the Alamo and were married in 1957. Together they lived in at least 16 homes of various types. Early on they lived in a trailer just like Lucy & Desi did. They built a new rambler in the 60s and renovated older homes later on. Karen loved IKEA and she planned (and John built) a basement kitchen in their Buffalo home. John’s job led them to stints in California, Michigan & Germany, but Bloomington, Cokato, Farmington & Buffalo were their primary home bases.

Karen was a teacher and a creative, life-long learner. Her skills were many; accomplished cook & baker (everything was from scratch); dressmaker (she made clothes & taught tailoring), did beaded jewelry & needlework; was a master gardener (member of the Wright Co. Horticultural Society & grew incredibly tall lillies); furniture re-finisher, artist & calligrapher. She was the first to own a calligraphy website in the 90s and had many penpals from all over the world. Her early family life involved tenting & later pop-up Starcraft camping. Over her life she owned two Airstream trailers. As a member of WBCCI, they caravaned to Airstream Club rallies, spending her final years at the Airstream Park of MN.

Survived by: SIBLINGS Susan Keskey & Philip Johnson of Cokato; COUSINS John & Bill Edwards; SONS Mike of Menahga, & Scott (Becky Carlson – kids: Rachel, Katie & Andrew) of Lakeville; DAUGHTERS Laura (Tom Stanke – daughters Samantha & Lizzy) of Maple Grove, & Sally (Mike Dahlquist) of Stillwater.

Preceded in death by: HUSBAND John B Hed. PARENTS Virgil & Eva Johnson. IN-LAWS Robert & Joan, Virgil & Ronald Hed; Clifford Keskey & Barbara Johnson of Cokato. NEPHEWS Steve, Tom & David Hed.

Many thanks to the staff/friends Karen made at Arbor Lakes Senior Living. To honor her memory, support To donate used eyeglasses, bring to reception.

Reception to be held May 29 from noon-2:30, tribute @ 1pm at Arbor Lakes Senior Living. 12001 80th Avenue North, Maple Grove, 2nd level community room. Light lunch provided. Parking on-site very limited. Park on nearby streets. Burial June 4, Fort Snelling National Cemetery. Contact family for time.

2 Guestbook Entries

  1. Dan Beumer

    Our most sincere condolences

  2. Bill Edwards

    During a trip from the Pacific Northwest in August of 2008, my brother John, my son Bryce, and I visited with Karen and John at their house in Buffalo. As we walked her gardens and caught up, I marveled at the care and composition of her profusely flowering cottage garden beds. She was a soft-spoken creative person who exhibited both thoughtfulness and warmth in her conversations. I always enjoyed her holiday letters and the artistry of her calligraphy on each envelope. I remember her fondly and will miss her.


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