« Back to Obituaries

Karen R. Tanzer

Karen R. Tanzer

July 15, 2019

Karen Rose Tanzer (Peterson) –Ellison

June 2, 1948- July 15, 2019

Karen Rose Tanzer passed away Monday, July 15,2019, with loving daughters by her side, at Lake Hallie Memory Care. Karen was born on June 2, 1948, to Bernard and Rose Tanzer. She was welcomed home by a brother, Marvin, and two sisters, Patricia and Beverly. Karen was raised in Chippewa Falls on the Tanzer family farm. She attended Chippewa Falls Catholic schools, including McDonnell High School where she graduated in 1968.

Karen attended college at UW-Stevens Point and UW-Stout. Her 1st degree was in Home Economics. Later she attended UW-Eau Claire and UW-River Falls. She earned her Master’s Degree in Education and her 316 reading license.

In 1970, she married the late Jan V. Peterson. Together, they raised two daughters, Kristina Jan and Aimee Marie. Karen began her teaching career at St. Paul’s Catholic School in 1978. She taught 5th grade for 14 years. In 1991, she began working for the Bloomer School District at Bloomer Elementary School. She later transferred to Bloomer Middle School. Mrs. Peterson/ Mrs. Tanzer-Ellison touched countless lives during her more-than-30-year teaching career. She is also well known for her “Fun with Frozen Bread Dough” summer school class. Many people have enjoyed her recipes.

Karen married Jan V. Peterson on August 1, 1970, and they were married for 29 years. After they divorced, she married Donald Ellison, who passed away in August of 2016. Karen was the beloved mother of Kristina (Matt) Huset and Aimee (Jason) Andrews. She was also the adored grandmother of May and Margaret Peterson, Logan Huset, Kiara, Kionte and Kaedyn Peterson, Lakeynn and Gabrielle Anderson, and Carter, Jaden, and Austin Andrews.

Karen loved reading, writing, drawing, and teaching. She had a great love of education and of her many, many students. She enjoyed gardening and yard work, camping and baking. Karen loved Christmas and spending time with her grandchildren. She was unfairly stricken with a terrible disease that robbed her of her cognitive abilities. She will always be remembered by those who knew and loved her.

Karen was preceded in death by her ex-husband, Jan V. Peterson; husband, Donald Ellison; son-in-law, Brad Anderson; parents, Bernard and Rose Tanzer; brother, Marvin Tanzer; brother-in-law, Bruce Walther; and grandchild, baby “Hope” Andrews.

She is survived by her two daughters, Kristina (Matt) Huset and Aimee (Jason) Andrews; grandsons Carter, Jaden, and Austin Andrews, Kionte and Kaedyn Peterson, and Logan Huset; granddaughters May, Margaret and Kiara Peterson, and Lakeynn and Gabrielle Anderson; sisters, Patricia Walther, Beverly (Larry) Bresina, and Rita Tanzer; along with many nieces and nephews.

Her life as a parent, grandparent, and teacher embodied the quote, “To Teach is to Touch a Life Forever.”

A Memorial Mass will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, July 19, 2019, at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Tilden with Father Ethan Hokamp officiating. Visitation will be held from 4-7p.m. on Thursday, July 18, 2019 with a Vigil Service at 7 p.m. at Thompson Funeral Home in Bloomer.

Thompson Funeral Home and Chippewa Valley Cremation Services in Bloomer is serving the family.


4-7 p.m. Thursday, July 18, 2019 at Thompson Funeral Home, Bloomer


9:30 a.m. Friday, July 19, 2019 at St. Peter's Catholic Church, Tilden


  • Dick Krueger My sympathy to your entire family. Karen had a great teaching tool box, and the key ingredient to go with it: Love. I am sure she will be missed by many.
    Take care and love on each other.

    July 31 at 3:16pm

  • Lara (Carlson) Schwendemann Dear Aimee and Kristi and family,
    My heart hurts with you over the painful goodbye of your mom. Your mom was such a beautiful lady with a generous and giving heart. I’m praying for each of you through this difficult time.

    July 20 at 10:58pm

  • Jean Perez My sincere sympathies to Karen’s family. We were classmates at McDonell and I remember her as kind to everyone and always with a smile on her face. May your memories of Karen sustain you at this most difficult time. And may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

    July 20 at 1:31pm

  • Susan Carlson Karen became my friend through our daughters and as a colleague, encouraging me as I launched into “full time” substitute teaching. I greatly respected and enjoyed Karen. My heart aches for all the years Karen had to miss being able to truly enjoy all those wonderful grand kids & mother/daughter conversations. Her very positive legacy lives on in her children, grand children, and so many children whom she taught! Joy in Jesus forever!

    July 18 at 7:10AM

  • Vicki Brown My thoughts and prayers for the family of Karen, I went to school with Karen and, in talking with her, knew how much she loved children especially her grandchildren. May your memories keep her with you always.

    July 17 at 5:45PM

  • Julie Anderson Kristi, Aimee, and families:
    My heart aches for you and with you. I am forever grateful to Karen because she gave me one of the greatest gifts of my life: she opened the door to a lifelong relationship with the best friend I could ever hope to have. That friendship has also allowed me to know and enjoy the rest of her family better than I would have otherwise; her impact on me, therefore, has created endless ripples, and my life is abundantly richer because of her.
    Gregg and the girls and I are so sorry for your loss, and we are willingly here for you.

    July 16 at 2:04PM

  • Rita Oberweis I was a classmate of Karen at St. Charles, Mc Donnell HS, and UW Eau Claire. She was a always so kind and caring. I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with all her family.

    July 16 at 12:02PM

  • Tom Joas So sorry for Karen's passing. She was such a nice lady. We were classmates at St Charles and McDonell for 12 years.

    July 16 at 9:37AM

  • Kathy and Duane Bowe Duane and I are classmates of Karen. I went to school with her for 12 years and Duane for 4 years. We will dearly miss her. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this sad time. Please accept our condolences.

    July 16 at 7:35AM

  • Peggy & Donnie Lauer Kristie & Matt & family, so sorry to here of your Mom's passing. Such a horrible desease. I remember my mom and I going to her bread dough class and enjoyed learning to work with bread dough & got to know your Mom.

    July 16 at 6:58AM

  • Tim Bresina My thoughts are with my Karen’s family during this hard time. I am sure Aunt Karen is now in a better place as that last years of her life were more difficult than we can imagine.

    July 16 at 12:08AM

  • Mark Meinen My sincerest sympathy to your family! Your mom was my 5th grade teacher and it was one of my favorite years in school! I believe I made a Thanksgiving book that year that my parents still place out during Thanksgiving! Your mom also was incredibly supportive in ensuring I get placed in a higher reading group in 6th grade after testing los during an end of year placement test!
    She was a wonderful teacher and a very loving person!
    Big hug to you both!
    As I teach I will do my best to teach with as much heart and passion as your mom!
    Mark Meinen

    July 15 at 10:46PM

  • Jenny Harrison Kristi, Amy and family. My heart goes out to you all. There are no words that will ease the pain but please know that you are in my prayers.

    July 15 at 10:27PM

  • Breyanna Schutte I work at LHMC. I was one the girls that would care for her. When Karen first arrived, we got along great. I would sit and brush her hair, and braid it everyday I worked. I’d give her one of her sodas, and junior mints whenever I would be charting or doing laundry- and she would sit right by me. I will always remember the way her eyes lit up, and how she smiled when you complimented her. Karen was a beautiful person. God bless you.

    July 15 at 9:27PM

  • Cathy Couey So sorry for your loss. Your mom was an amazing lady and teacher. She raised two very special daughters and I am blessed to have known you all. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    July 15 at 8:57PM

View more posts (15)

Send Condolences. Click here to send a condolence

Pre-Planning Services