Karen S. Elrick

September 2, 1947 ~ December 15, 2018 (age 71)

Karen S. Elrick

Little Chute – At the young age of 71, Karen passed away with her family together by her side after courageously battling the demoralizing disease of pancreatic cancer.  Fighting like only she could until God called her on December 15, 2018.  He needed a teacher with the compassion and understanding she showed for 40 years, 35 of which she enlightened first graders at Freedom Elementary.  Her grandchildren were Karen and Don’s light.  From football to concerts to dance to soccer to softball to basketball, they rarely missed an event that any of them participated in.  Karen especially enjoyed her retirement time with grand-niece Rosie Kendall.  Karen has been a member of St. John Nepomucene church in Little Chute.  When the decision was made to suspend treatment, the family held a birthday party for Karen where family and friends gathered.  Former students and teachers including Mary Kavanaugh and the Jadin family came and spent time with Mom.  It truly was a living tribute to a wonderful, compassionate woman.  Karen served her community by serving on the Little Chute Village Board along with the AODA committee, original Cheesefest committee among others.

There were 3 mottos she lived by: I smile because you are my sister. I laugh because there is nothing you can do about it. To teach is to touch a life forever. God couldn’t be everywhere so he created Grandmothers.

Karen was born on September 2, 1947 in Kaukauna to Jim and Flave Belling.  Jim passed when Karen was young and along with her sisters Lynne and Mary they welcomed Jim Nagel to the family who was “Dad” to them all.  She married Don Elrick on January 9, 1970 and they shared nearly 49 years together, raising a son, John and daughter, Joanne.

Karen is survived by her husband, Don, her children John (Jenny) of Little Chute, Joanne (Gregg) Michalski of Hobart.  Her five grandchildren: Brandon, Alyssa and Claire Elrick; Paige and Kendra Michalski.  She is further survived by her sisters Lynne (Jim) Milhaupt and Mary (Bob) Zuleger; sisters-in-law Pat Bundy, Lynn Elrick and brothers-in-law Bob (Mary) Elrick, Jeff (Connie) Elrick, numerous nieces and nephews and grand-nieces and nephews.  She was preceded in death by her parents and Don’s parents.

The funeral service for Karen will be held on Wednesday, December 19, 2018 where family and friends are invited, with visitation from 3:00 p.m until 5:00 p.m. and Christian burial Mass to follow at St. John Church, 323 S. Pine Street, Little Chute with Father Ron Belitz officiating. Internment will take place in St. John Cemetery.

The family would like to thank Melissa Orth at St. Paul Hospice for her care and understanding of Mom.  A memorial fund is being established for a scholarship in her memory for Freedom High School.  For more information or to share a memory of Karen, please visit

© 2019 Verkuilen Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS