Obituary: Karen Louise Smith
July 14, 2023
Karen L. Smith, 77, passed away July 4, 2023, at St. Mary's hospital in Duluth, surrounded by her loving family. She was born in Chicago on May 3, 1946, to Gust and Louise (Denmeyer) Swanson. Karen graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's and master's degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth. She also received a Specialist equivalent from the University of Wisconsin Superior. She was a school psychologist with the Cloquet school district for 21 years and was a guardian ad litem for six years thereafter. Karen was very active in many community organizations and boards, including serving as president of the Carlton County Historical Society board, secretary of the Foundation Board, and president of the Kiwanis Club of Cloquet. She was a member of the Rotary Club of Cloquet, receiving the Distinguished Rotarian Club Service award; she also served on the Friends of Animals "Beastie Bash" fundraising committee, Klo Kay Bo Kay Garden Club and City Beautification committee, and belonged to Our Savior's Lutheran Church. Serving in these capacities brought her great joy. Karen enjoyed working in her beautiful flower gardens, taking walks by the river and spending time with friends and family - especially if it involved going out to eat!
Karen was preceded in death by her husband, Russell Smith II. She is survived by her two daughters, Carolyn (Mark) Kassebaum and Allison (Jorge) Tirado; her brother, Kenneth (Jean) Swanson; two granddaughters, Kylee and Grace Kassebaum; her nephew, William Swanson; and her niece, Mara Swanson. She was also cared for by very special attendants Mary Thurston, Debbie Horton and Tara Schade.
Visitation: 3 p.m. until the 4 p.m. funeral service Friday, July 21 at Our Savior's Lutheran Church, 615 12th St., Cloquet. Please join us for dinner following the service.
Nelson Funeral Care has been entrusted with arrangements. To sign an online registry,
please visit http://www.nelsonfuneralcare.net.
Pine Knot News July 14, 2023