Karen (Schuelke) Casale, age 75, of Ramsey, MN, passed away peacefully on April 30, 2023, at her residence with her family by her side and surrounded with the same love and care she so wholeheartedly shared with the world.
The visitation will be held at St. Stephen’s Church (525 Jackson Street, Anoka, MN 55303) on Friday, May 12, 2023, from 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. followed by a Celebration of Life Mass at 11:00 a.m. A reception will immediately follow the mass at the church. Inurnment will be at a later date at Calvary Cemetery, Anoka, MN.
Karen is survived by her husband, Matt Casale; her children: Angela (Will) McKeand, Christina (Aron) Romo, and Matthew (Sonia) Casale; her grandchildren: AJ Romo and Caiden Romo, and Matilda McKeand; her sister-in-law, Angela (Robert) Flower, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Upon her passing, Karen was reunited with her parents: James and Mary Ellen (Mundwiler) Schuelke; her grandparents: Andrew and Martha Schuelke and Orrie and Ruby Mundwiler; her sisters-in-law: Matilda Carboun and Maria McDonagh; her uncle and aunt, James and Dorothy Mundwiler; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and other loved ones.
Karen was born in Ortonville, MN, and attended Benilde-St. Margaret’s High School in St. Louis Park, MN, before attending College of St. Teresa in Winona, MN—where she met her future husband, Matt. After they married, Matt and Karen moved to Washington, D.C., where Matt worked at the Pentagon while in the service and Karen worked as an Environmental Health Specialist with the District of Columbia Bureau of Food and Drug. She even had the honor of serving as the Health Inspector to ensure food safety for an event at the White House! After Matt fulfilled his time with the Army, they returned home to Minnesota, where Karen went on to serve as an Environmental Health Specialist with the Anoka County Community Health and Environmental Services Department for 45 years.
In addition to her work with Anoka County, Karen was a dedicated and lifetime member of the Minnesota Environmental Health Association (MEHA) for 50 years and also volunteered as their Membership Committee Co-Chair. She was the first female Environmental Health Specialist in the state of Minnesota and the first recipient of MEHA’s Frank A. Staffenson Environmental Health Professional of the Year Award in 2003. She was honored with MEHA’s Life Award following her retirement from Anoka County in 2017.
While deeply loved and so very missed, Karen lived a very full and accomplished life—with her ultimate source of pride and joy being her family. Matt and Karen were married for 53 years and shared 3 children and 3 grandchildren together. They adopted their two daughters, Angela and Christina, from South Korea in 1981 and 1984, respectively, and had one son by birth, Matthew, in 1985. Though Karen’s professional roles kept her extremely busy, she rarely missed a game, performance, recital, or other event throughout her children’s lives. She was a loving mother-in-law to Will (Ang), Aron (Chris), and Sonia (Matthew); and a proud and doting grandmother to AJ, Caiden, and Matilda.
Karen was a devout Catholic and parishioner at St. Stephen’s Church in Anoka for over 50 years. She volunteered at the church in numerous capacities throughout her time as a parishioner. She remained strong in her faith and love for God throughout her life and leaned into her faith to help guide and bring her comfort through her battles with cancer and her time of transition.
The memories and legacy she leaves behind are a testament to a life well-lived. Her friendly, intelligent, exuberant, and caring exterior endeared her to all who had the honor and pleasure of knowing her. Her feistiness allowed her to faced her battles with great strength and courage and she navigated every twist and turn of life with resilience, optimism, and grace.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Karen A. Casale MEHA Scholarship Fund https://mehaonline.org/karen-casale-memorial-fund/ established by Karen’s family, in partnership with the Minnesota Environmental Health Association (MEHA), to support current and future Environmental Health Specialists in Minnesota.