Karen Jeane Fanning

Karen Jeane Fanning, 84, passed away peacefully in the presence of family on February 14, 2020 in Rochester.

Karen was born in Rochester on November 20, 1935 to Helen and Benjamin Trelstad.  She spent her early childhood in Zumbrota, MN, before her family moved to Rochester in 1938. Karen attended Rochester schools and graduated from Rochester High School in 1953.

Karen met her lifelong love, David R. Fanning, as a young teen, and they were married on March 14, 1955 in Rochester. They had 2 children, Richard and Cristine, and the family lived in California while Dave was in the Navy.  Karen and Dave were later divorced, but reunited and were lifelong companions until David’s death in 2016.

Karen worked as a Nurse’s Assistant at Mayo Clinic for 32 years before retiring in 1994. She continued to work for 11 more years at fabric and sewing machine stores in Rochester.

Karen was well known for her creative pursuits. She mastered wood carving and created many beautiful Christmas ornaments for her family. She was an excellent seamstress, knitter and crocheter.

Karen had many beloved pets during her life. She adored horses and especially Siamese cats.

Karen will be remembered most for her love of her children and 2 granddaughters. She was a devoted grandmother and was very involved in her granddaughter’s lives.

Karen is survived by her daughter Cristine (Jeff) Swantko of Rochester, granddaughters Katie Swantko of Madison, WI, and Lauren (Zachary) Boutin of Rochester.

She was preceeded in death by her parents, ex-husband David, and her son Rick.

Karen’s family would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to her outstanding caregivers at Mayo Clinic, especially Dr. Childs and Dr. Strande, and the members of the Mayo Hospice team who provided such amazing end of life care.

A very special thank you goes to Travis and Tiffany Forsberg for provided Karen the gold standard of care and love in their Adult Foster Care Home during Karen’s final days.

Karen’s family will be honoring her life with a private memorial celebration at a later date.

Memorials are suggested to Mayo Clinic Hospice.

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