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Karl E. Karlsson
September 26, 1917 ~ December 31, 2022 (age 105) 105 Years Old
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A Celebration of Life for Karl Enar Karlsson will be held on Saturday, July 22, 2023 at 4:00PM at Bethel Lutheran Church in Roseau, MN
Karl Enar Karlsson passed away in peace at the age of 105. Enar was known as Karl Enar to friends and family in Sweden. While in his Warroad Senior Care Center apartment he was called Karl, as well as by staff in his short stay at Roseau Manor. For most of his life as a child growing up on a farm near Salol and as a farmer, husband, and father of six children on the Stafford dairy farm he was known as Einar.
Karl and Brita Karlsson had eleven children. Their childhood was labor intensive as it was for most on the farms with milking and wood cutting being daily activities. Enar attended school in Salol through the 8th grade.
He stayed on the farm until enlisting in the Army for World War II. Enar was evaluated for the service and served in the Air Corps division, a precursor to the Air Force, as a radio repair man. He traveled from basic training in Alabama, to Wisconsin and Florida, with brief stops in England and France, before landing in Trinidad.
While in Wisconsin he met Frances Elizabeth McNeill who was living in a boarding house in Chicago and studying art. Once during their courtship he wrote her address on a coconut in Trinidad and dropped it in the mail. She received it and faced a challenge opening the package. Enar and Frances married on January 26, 1946 and returned to the Karlsson family farm. It was a change of lifestyle and scenery for Frances.
Within a couple of years they bought a farm in Stafford Township, eventually developing a successful Brown Swiss herd. The family was active in 4-H and Bethel Stafford church. Enar served as township assessor and later on the township board. At age 50 Enar passed the exam for a GED diploma and began a career as a salesman for Lutheran Brotherhood insurance until retiring at 65. Formal education was important to Enar who began a scholarship for high school graduates seeking to study in the math and science fields, which is funded to continue as part of the Karlsson Family Scholarship through the Northwest Minnesota Foundation. He and Frances continued farming while converting the dairy operation to beef. They also began an endeavor as landlords of single family houses for rent in Roseau.
Enar was an avid reader of novels, Reader’s Digest, and current news and magazines. He took up cross country skiing later in life into his 90’s and stayed active. News and politics were topics of conversation at the dinner table throughout Enar’s life.
Enar loved spending time outside appreciating the trees, wildlife and smells of the woods. He once waited for a bird to land on his hand at the feeder. As a father he expected his children to work contributing to the farm duties. In turn, when his children needed help into their adult lives he was there for them. He loved raising cattle and was troubled butchering a steer who had been finished with extra feeding.
In his year-end letter of 2022 he praised the Ukranian people for fighting the Russian invasion. He continued looking beyond his own life to appreciate what others faced in theirs. Enar is survived by his children Cindy, Faith, Becky, Teresa, Peter, Julie, twelve grandchildren, many great grandchildren, brother Vernon Karlson of Mesa, Arizona and sister Eva Olson of Roseau. Grandson Andrew and great grandson Matthew preceded him in death. Frances passed on at age 84 in 2009. He will be buried next to her at the Bethel Church cemetery. Memorials can be sent to the Bethel Stafford Church cemetery fund.