Karen A. Leisen
Karen Ann (Heaser) Leisen, a long-time resident of Dubuque, IA, passed away peacefully at the age of 80 years due to ALS-related complications on Wednesday, May 17, 2023.
Visitation will be held 3:00 -7:00 p.m, Wednesday, May 24, 2023, at Hoffmann Schneider & Kitchen Funeral Home. The Mass of Christian Burial for Karen will be held at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, May 25, 2023, at Church of the Nativity. Burial will follow at Linwood Cemetery.
Karen was born April 7, 1943, in Winona, MN, the daughter of Ralph Victor and Elizabeth “Betty” Ellen (Mogren) Heaser. In 1960, she began pursuing a liberal arts degree at University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. On December 4, 1965, she married Vincent “Vince” Mathew Leisen of Plainview, MN, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Minneiska, MN. In 1967, the couple moved to Dubuque, IA, and started their family, which grew to number six daughters and three sons.
Karen dedicated a great deal of time to the Church of the Nativity, filling many parish roles over the past five decades: Archdiocese of Dubuque pastoral associate, parish visitor, cantor, sacristan, eucharistic minister, choir member and was involved in a multitude of church-based organizations and committees. She especially enjoyed her position as parish visitor-spending time with parishioners who were homebound or in nursing homes, keeping them connected to their church community, and serving them communion.
Known to be first to raise her hand when Dubuque community organizations needed help, Karen volunteered her time as 4-H leader, Boy Scout leader, Dubuque Symphony Orchestra greeter, Shalom Spirituality Center volunteer, Dubuque Youth Hockey Organization registrar and treasurer, and much more. An avid Dubuque Fighting Saints fan, Karen often sang the national anthem for games held at Five Flags Center, and opened her home to the team, housing multiple players over the years. She ran a home-based child daycare for nearly 40 years. She was co-owner and bookkeeper for Dubuque Appliance Center, the business co-founded by her husband, Vince.
In 1984, Karen enrolled at Loras College in Dubuque to finish earning the degree she started working towards 24 years earlier in Minnesota. In May 2019, then-76-year-old Karen became the oldest graduating student in the 180-year history of Loras College, receiving her bachelor’s degree in liberal arts.
Karen is survived by her devoted husband, Vince; her nine beloved children: Jean (Norman) Bondoc of Madison, WI, Teresa Sellinger of Sparta, NJ, Steven (Tammi) Leisen of Urbandale, IA, Amy (John) Ouellette of Murfreesboro, TN, Daniel (Theresa) Leisen of Dubuque, Diana (Michael) Moroney of Dubuque, Angela (Jack) Seeley of Charlotte, NC, Molly Leisen of Dubuque, and Anthony (Morgan) Leisen of St. Paul, MN; her 23 cherished grandchildren: Evan, Peyton, Delaney and Haley Bondoc, Griffin, Devin and Alexandra Sellinger, Vincent Leisen, Morgan, Zachary and Samantha Ouellette, Natalie and Isabel Leisen, Brock, Connor, Nicholas and Madeline Moroney, Olivia, William, Elena and Caroline Seeley, Robert and Ethan Leisen; and her three treasured brothers: Ralph (Darlene) Heaser, Jr. of Kellogg, MN, Kenneth (Patti) Heaser of Minneiska, MN, and Michael (Donna) Heaser of Minneiska, MN.
Karen is preceded in death by her parents, Ralph and Betty Heaser, and her father- and mother-in-law, Joseph and Julia Leisen.
A special thank you to the wonderful staff members of Bethany Home and Hospice of Dubuque for their incredible dedication and care.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established.
Hoffmann Schneider & Kitchen Funeral Home and Crematory is in care of the arrangements.