Elmer Karas of Pine City passed away in his sleep Nov. 15, 2014 at his home at Ecumen North Branch Assisted Living. Elmer will always be remembered as a loving husband, dad, grandfather, friend and farmer. He touched the lives of many with laughter and interest in knowing all about the people around him.
He was born Dec. 2, 1918 to John and Anna (Spinler) Karas. He shared many stories about growing up on the dairy farm, the tractors, machinery and family traditions. He and Cecelia Kryzer married June 27, 1945 and together purchased the family farm, continuing to raise and milk Holstein cows. To help with income Elmer would hire out to help others with the harvest. In 1951 combining for others helped him pay the $1,125 needed to reside and put new windows in the house.
Elmer enjoyed deer hunting and visiting with people. As kids it would seem we were always waiting while dad talked at the feed mill, parts store, with the milk man, or with a salesman. At home he was in charge of the recipe for making sauerkraut and enjoyed eating it at every meal. Driving tractor was his favorite part of farming. He so enjoyed growing and harvesting crops, and taking ‘after chores drives’ in the country to compare crops and field work to see what neighbors were doing.
He supported Dave and I in all our activities which often meant doing our chores when we were at 4-H.
Elmer retired from the farm but never in his heart. He and Cecelia purchased land and built a house next to the farm, raising a huge garden where they were challenged to find ways to keep the raccoon out of their sweet corn. Elmer continued to take part in daily farm activities, mostly driving tractor, until he turned 89 years.
Due to health, Elmer and Cecelia moved to Ecumen Assisted Living in North Branch in 2010. He loved his new home, especially the people there. Each day dad waited patiently by the phone for the morning call with news about what was happening at the farm.
Elmer was preceded in death by his wife Cecelia in 2012. He is survived by his sister Viola Johnson of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin; son David (Jody) Karas, Pine City, and daughter Barb (Russel) Piehl of North Branch; grandchildren: Krista (Howard) Otte of Randolph, Jacob Karas of Pine City, Cindy (Dan) Mellum of Coon Rapids, Gary Piehl of North Branch, Glen (Ashely) Piehl of Connecticut; and great-grandchildren: Ryanne, Blake, Austin and Beylen.
Monsignor Aleksander Suchan celebrated the Memorial Mass on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014 at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Pine City. Jody Karas, Krista Otte, and Paul and Teena Bacigalupi provided music. Elmer’s five grandchildren were honorary casket bearers. Interment was in the St. Joseph’s Calvary Cemetery of Beroun.
Arrangements are with the Funeral and Cremation Service - Swanson Chapel of Pine City; www.funeralandcremationservice.com.