Tuesday, June 03, 2014 8:29 AM
Karen Roberts, 71, of Bedford, died Sunday, May 25, 2014, at her home. Celebration of Life Services were Thursday, May 29, at 11 a.m. at the Bedford United Methodist Church. Visitation was Wednesday at the Ritchie Funeral Home from 3-7 with the family greeting friends from 5-7 p.m. Memorials can be given in Karen’s name.Memories can be shared with the family at ritchiefuneralhome.com under obituaries. Arrangements were entrusted to the Ritchie Funeral Home of Bedford.
Karen Ann Rops was born Nov. 23, 1942, in Parkersburg, to Pearl and George Rops. She was the oldest daughter, with three younger siblings born of the marriage. Later, she was blessed with three more step-siblings when Pearl married Don Mitchell and finally another baby brother was added to the family. How many is that? It was a big family in a two-bedroom home in Evansdale. She graduated in 1960 from East High School in Waterloo. Shortly after turning 18, Karen met John Roberts at a dance. He was the life of the party then, too. Six months later, May 28, 1961, they were joined in marriage. They resided in LaPorte City, while Karen was a nurses aide and John worked at John Deere. After the birth of two girls and one on the way they decided to move to a farm south of Shell Rock, where the city girl became a farmer. Many great friends were made in this community. After building a new home and growing family they decided to purchase a dairy farm near Highlandville. Over 70 dairy cows were delivered and Karen coaxed each into their station with an apple. She continued to raise her family to the tunes of milking machines and the Eagles music and anything you could jitterbug to. The Saturday night card club crew brought many great laughs and memories to our family and the members have remained friends throughout the years.
Once the kids were in school Karen decided to go back to work. She found a job at North Winneshiek school as a board secretary. It was a great comfort to the girls to know their mom was always where they needed her. She loved the teachers, principals and superintendent and often found her office occupied with someone seeking advice, or someone to talk to. Karen’s love for reading led her to purchase the Armory Bookstore in Decorah. As the family moved she found her niche again as the board secretary at Clarke Community School and finally in Marion School district.
In 1990, the final move to Bedford to run an embroidery factory with John brought an adventure of a new kind and many new friends too. Karen (kind of) ended her working career at State Savings Bank in Bedford. John would tease Karen about lines forming at her window as her friends would wait for her to become available to wait on them. It was here where the people of Bedford got to know Karen, her quick wit and sometimes withering look that her daughters thought was only for them -- “The Look” let you know when you were out of line. Customers would bring in their newborn children or their visiting parents to meet her. She would laugh with you and cry with you and jump every time the fake mouse was put in her money drawer (every time).
Now that we have that all out of the way, we have come to the part that really matters. The grandchildren. If you knew Karen you know how much we could write here. She. Loved. Them. Each one was so very special to her. In each one she saw a unique quality only possessed by the Rops/Roberts gene. Thursday Night Supper Club was attended by each child at least once in their lives. A night with no parents, only Grandma and Grandpa, where you ate all the food on your plate because it was your favorite, workbooks were finished and maracas were played.
After John’s passing Karen found solace in her church, her coffee ladies and her many close friends.
Left to carry on Karen’s memory are her three daughters: Linda Throckmorton and husband Tom; Susan Swartz and husband Jeremy; and Nancy Murphy and husband James; grandchildren: Nicholas Throckmorton, Caila and Haley Raymond, Noah McBride, Kyla and Dalton Swartz, Devon and Madison McBride and Max and Samantha Murphy; three brothers, Lee Rops and wife Linda; Paul Rops and wife Janet; and Gary Mitchell; two sisters, Roseann Spooner and husband Mike and Pam Schmitz and husband Dan; and sister-in-law, Marguerite Shreve; many nieces and nephews and too many friends to count.
Preceding Karen in death were her husband, John, of 49 years; parents Don and Pearl Mitchell and George Rops; brothers, Charles Mitchell and Larry Mitchell; and father- and mother-in-law, Earl and Pauline Roberts.
Karen was a kind and gentle soul with a love of wildlife, art, gardening and music. She will be missed by many.