Karen Fletcher, age 81, of Ortonville, MN, died Sunday, February 14, 2021, in Huntsville, UT. Private family funeral services will be 10:00 AM, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Madison. Burial will follow at Rose Hill Cemetery in Wentworth. Masks will be required at the funeral service.
She was born February 10, 1940 in Ortonville, Minnesota to Everett and Constance Evans. She was the eldest of three daughters and leaves behind Jane Pansch and Linda Komis. She grew up in Ortonville, enjoying the family cabin on Big Stone Lake. She loved to fish with her dad and cherished fish fries, especially walleye. She enjoyed playing with cousins on Sundays at the farm of Lester and Eva Evans in Appleton, MN. She graduated from Ortonville High School in 1958, then left for Minneapolis to find work.
Karen married Harold J. Fletcher of Clinton, MN on July 24, 1959. They were married at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, TX. Karen and Hal had an amazing life adventure together. She dedicated her life to her family. The Fletchers enjoyed entertaining family and friends at their farm in Vermillion, SD, at their home on Lake Madison, SD, as well as their condo in Luquillo, Puerto Rico. After Hal passed in 2011, Karen enjoyed visiting her children and spending time with grandchildren.
During her early career, as secretary for the Surgeon General’s Advisory Committee on Smoking and Health, she typed the 400 page manuscript entitled “Smoking and Health, Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service.” Published in 1964, it was the first of its kind to delineate research on the negative effects of smoking on health to Congress. Her memory of that project was the manuscripts all smelling of cigarette smoke! Most of her career was spent as Office Administrator for the Vermillion Medical Clinic and the Wellness Clinics in Vermillion and Sioux Falls, SD. She was proud of the community services her and her husband were able to provide for so many years. She was an active member and Sunday school teacher at Trinity Lutheran Church in Vermillion, SD, an avid bridge player, and a member of the PEO society. She enjoyed gardening, entertaining, life on the lake, and red wine. Many of her children’s friends will fondly remember her as a nurturing second mother. Karen and Hal retired to Lake Madison for summers and Puerto Rico for winters.
She is survived by her children Pamela K. Heimstra of Longmont, CO; Kristine C. (Rey) Castillo de Los Alamos, CA; Valerie L. (Taylor) Kelso of Charleston, SC; Nicole N. (Roger) Paulman of Huntsville, UT; Ashley A.E. Fletcher of Boonville, NY; grandchildren: Wesley Heimstra, Meghan Livingston, Madeline Kelso, Everett Paulman, Gabriella Kelso, and Fletcher Paulman.
Karen was preceded in death by her husband, Harold Fletcher MD, and her parents Everett and Constance Evans.