Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Karen Polkowski

ONTONAGON, Mich. - I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7)

Mom, Momma, Gram, Great Great, Sissy, Aunt Karen met Jesus peacefully the morning of Jan. 18, 2024, surrounded by her number one priority, her children. No words will articulate the enormous loss we feel but we know you are dancing with Dad, loving on your Momma and Daddy, having a few words with Uncle Butch. Yes, we expect that Grandma Helen was keeping him in line holding your cheeks with the biggest kiss.

Karen Polkowski was born Nov. 4, 1941, in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, to Stephen and Dorothy Kakuk. After graduation from Stephenson High School in the Upper Peninsula, Karen had a brief stint at Northern Michigan University and decided to take her charm to Milwaukee, where she met her husband, Gary Polkowski. They married on March 27, 1965.

Karen was devoted to her children, whether that be coaching Little League or teaching CCD. She also was passionate about service to her community and was on the Ontonagon Village Council for many years.

Gary and Karen had a love for the U.P. and decided that was the best place to raise their four children. Parker Avenue served as the homestead not only for her children, but her grandchildren and even her greats. The barn, the yellow clock, the teddy bear, watching Barney in the closet or "The Brave Little Toaster," along with milkshakes in the bear cups are memories we will cherish always. The countless hours around the table eating some of her favorites, the best potato salad, kidney bean salad, cabbage rolls and sour cream chicken. You welcomed not only your kids and grandchildren to that table, but so many who called you "mom." And when all the grands were coming, how many we could we fit on the floor so we could all be together. Oh the night Dixie not only chewed the pillow but the ham. The girls and I hid the pillow.

We can close our eyes and hear your voice: "Heyyyyy honey buns, just Grandma calling." "Hey babycakes, how was your day?" "Mmmmmmm-bye. Mwahhh (insert kiss)." "Abbey doodle it's Gram here." "I love you more," every time.

Karen is survived by her children: Gary (Kim), Stephen (Marney), Ed (Patty) and Andrea (Ben). So proud of Meagan, Tim, Tatem, Mitchell, Nikki, Zac, Micha, Lila, Darby, Reagan, Callie, Amelia, Mason, Isabella, Corinne, Rory, Caitlin, Robby, Eloise, Noelle, Karmyn, Jake, Sydney, Daniel, Julie, Blake, Morgan, Allie, Abby, Mitch, Eddy, Olivia, Helen and Rosie. Her siblings that will miss her include: Tony, Ronnie, Donnie, Johnny, Keith, Sharon her twin, Marge and Patty.

Her siblings preceding her in death include: Dorothy Ann, Lois, Mary, Fran, Stephen and Tom. The Polkowski's were likely elbowing at the pearly gates when Mom arrived. Uncle Ron, Uncle Ed, Uncle Butch, and of course Grandma Helen made sure she was first to embrace her and tell those boys to step aside.

Momma loved her Catholic faith and was so proud to live that faith daily. Whether it was her chair, her bed, or the bathroom, you could be a witness of her faithful journey.

A celebration of Karen's life with be held at Holy Family Catholic Church in Ontonagon on Saturday, Jan. 27. Family will greet the public beginning at 10 a.m., with a Mass of Christian Burial beginning at 11 a.m. A luncheon will follow in the church basement. Burial will take place in the spring.

Karen was so grateful for the support of the Ontonagon County Cancer Association. The family requests in lieu of flowers please contribute in Karen's name to: Ontonagon County Cancer Association, P.O. Box 282, Ontonagon, MI 49953.

The family has entrusted Cane Funeral Home with her arrangements.

And Mom it's our turn: "We love you more."