Karen Clause Bloomquist Strandberg passed away in her sleep on Thursday, August 15, 2019 after a months-long struggle with the debilitating disease COPD. Karen was a tremendously strong woman and fought it until the end when God brought her home. For those who knew Karen, that spirit will be no surprise. Karen brought light and love, energy and passion and an unfailing ability to make people feel good. Karen was born on April 22, 1936 to O.G. and Miriam Gamble Clause in Jefferson, Iowa. Karen and her brother, Ted Clause, were close growing up and had very loving and also high achieving parents. O.G. was a successful lawyer and Miriam, aka “Mim” was an accomplished bridge player and one of the first female delegates to the Iowa caucuses. Karen left Jefferson to become a Hawkeye at University of Iowa. She was a member of the esteemed Highlanders and played at all the football games and also traveled to England to play for the Queen. During her years at Iowa, she fell in love with one of the football team’s star players, Frank Bloomquist. They traveled together to the Rosebowl in 1957 where the Hawkeye’s won the big game. Karen was on the field too as a Highlander. Frank and Karen graduated in 1958 and got married shortly thereafter. Frank went on to Harvard Business School; while they were in Boston, they lived in a small apartment with their first baby, Kristin. Karen loved to tell the story of how the Boston Strangler rejected her thanks to Mim and her baby being in their tiny apartment with her. Karen was an avid storyteller and master of engaging any group of people in games. But mostly, she was inquisitive and loved to ask questions of people. She could bring out the quietest person in the room with her genuine interest in learning more about them. After Karen and Frank left Boston, they moved to Fort Dodge where their second daughter, Susan Grace, was born and shortly after that, they landed in Milwaukee, WI where their son, Frank William, was born. Frank was then recruited to Toledo, OH and off they went. All was perfect until big Frank was tragically killed in an automobile accident in January, 1972. Karen was only 35 years old and now a single mother of three. Karen had an amazing support group of family and close friends, but it was her inherent strength that allowed her to get thru this incredibly difficult time. She went back to work at an advertising agency in Toledo for a wonderful man named Mark Widerschein. Shortly after starting at the agency, Mark died and his partner, John, who Karen didn’t really like or know well, asked her to work for him. Karen didn’t want to leave the agency so she accepted John’s offer. This was the beginning of the second love story in Karen’s life. John Strandberg and Karen were a tremendous team at the office, but the relationship became much more. They married in 1975 and went on to have a 41year love-filled partnership and marriage until John passed away in 2006. Karen’s kids will tell you that she gave her career her all, first at Widerschein Strandberg and then as a very successful real estate agent in Toledo. Yet, both Karen and John were also amazing parents to their 3 children, Kristin, Susan and Frank, gifting them with strong values and continuous support and love. One of Karen and John’s co-workers at WS, wrote this about her and it beautifully sums up the gifts that Karen (and John) gave to all who knew them: “Today I lost a friend who was the remaining half of the team that mentored me during my early years in the advertising business. We met in 1977 and became instant friends. Her husband took a chance and hired me at the young pup age of 24. Many of the values I have today that have been instrumental in my success, and dealing with times where I didn’t feel as successful as I’d like, came from her and husband. From them I learned the value and importance of your personal and professional families; the value of having compassion for my coworkers; the value of having people work with you and not for you; the value of treating everyone one as equals and recognizing their individual talents and contributions to achieve the final goal; the value of keeping things in perspective and not sweating the small stuff; the value of working hard and playing hard; the value of working together late into the night after many have gone home, to meet a deadline; the value of working outside of your job description to get things accomplished; the value of listening and being heard; the value of relationships and customer service; the value of being honest with yourself and others even when it hurts; the value of knowing we always had each other’s back; the value of loving one another; and the void left in your life when someone you truly love and for whom you deeply care are no longer with you. The final condor has been released to the heavens.” When Karen retired from work, she focused on being a mom, a grandmother and ultimately, also a great-grandmother. She also took up needlepointing as well as bridge. When Karen became a grandmother, she became known as “Kiki” to all. Like her mother, Mim, aka “Mimi”, Kiki loved enjoying time with Susan and Brad’s kids. She and John moved to Edmond so they could be close by. After John died, Kiki moved to Scottsdale, AZ to be close to her oldest daughter, Kristin and her husband Bill. She returned to Edmond in 2018 and was fortunately able to enjoy both grandchildren and great grandchildren. Karen was preceded in death by her parents and brother, O.G. Clause, Mim Clause and Ted Clause and her husbands, Frank Bloomquist and John Strandberg. Karen is survived by her three children and their families as well as a niece and nephew: Kristin Bloomquist (Bill Shrader), Cabo San Lucas, MX; Susan Bloomquist Kropp (Bradley Kropp), Edmond, OK and Frank Bloomquist (Debbi Bloomquist), Perrysburg, OH. Karen was also a grandmother to twins Will Kropp (Morgan Kropp) and Sami Kropp Ready (Joe Ready) and Eloise Kropp and a great-grandmother to Fisher Ready and Wynni Ready. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Karen’s name to Catholic Charities at https://catholiccharitiesok.org/get-involved/donate/memorial-gift.
To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Karen Clause Strandberg please visit our Sympathy Store.