June 18, 1948 to June 23, 2017
Memorial services for Karen Lierley will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 30, 2017, at Oakcrest Funeral Services in Algona with Reverend Norman Bauer officiating. Inurnment will be at a later date in East Lawn Cemetery. Visitation will be from 3-7 p.m. on Friday at Oakcrest Funeral Services.
Karen Lierley was born in Omaha, Neb., on June 18, 1948, to Earl C. and Geraldine (Walenz) Lierley, the second of four children. She died on June 23, 2017, at the University of Iowa Hospital in Iowa City, IA due to complications resulting from a house fire on June 20, 2017.
Karen was educated and took dance lessons at Elsie Hoffman’s Dance Studio. It was not unusual for her to go from school to the studio four nights a week and all-day Saturdays. She loved the Joselyn Art Museum also in Omaha, Neb. She lived in Omaha until her father accepted a position in Algona as President of Universal Mfg. Co. in 1964, Karen transferred to Algona High School to begin her junior year. Prior to that she attended Westside High School, in Omaha. Following her junior year in Algona Karen was accepted as a student at The Washington School of the Ballet in Washington, D.C. She was proud of the fact that she obtained two high school diplomas (one from Algona High School and one from The Washington School of the Ballet).
Karen obtained her college degree from Bennington College in Bennington, Vt. with a double major in philosophy and dance, which was her life’s passion. Graduating in 1970, following college graduation Karen was married at a church in Bennington to Harold Bowman. Shortly after, Karen and Harold moved to New York City, N.Y. where Karen formed her own modern dance company. She and Harold also owned and operated an art store and framing business in Bronxville, N.Y. The marriage was short lived ending in divorce.
Karen stayed in New York City working during the day as a legal secretary and performing as a ballet dancer off Broadway in the evenings and weekends. While employed at Faberge, she loved to tell the story of sitting at her desk and hearing Cary Grant’s voice who unbeknownst to Karen was a member of the Faberge Board of Directors. Karen left New York City in 1980. .
She moved to Minneapolis and was the legal secretary for Steve Lange until she attended the William Mitchell Law School, graduating in 1985. Following law school Karen clerked for Judge Foley with Minnesota Court of Appeals as his clerk.
Following the death of her father in November 1993 Karen accepted a position, as an attorney, in April 1994 with Pharmacists Mutual Insurance Company (PMIC) in Algona IA. Karen advanced to the position of the Compliance Department at PMIC. At the time of her retirement in 2011, Karen was the Chief Attorney for the Compliance Department of PMIC.
Karen lived and cared for her mother from 1994 until her mother’s death in March of 2015.
Karen was an avid dancer who loved to travel, create jewelry, and was a voracious reader. Karen’s love for travel included retracing her prior adventures with her nieces, Jessica and Emily Southard.
She was the smartest person you could ever meet and used her intelligence to proofread her family’s grammar for academic papers and to beat them at Scrabble. Life’s little luxuries to Karen included: eating eclairs, lobster and champagne.
Karen was an avid Scrabble player and often bested her opponents --usually family--.
Karen required assistance in her later years after a pedestrian car accident, leaving her with severe back injuries. She was fortunate to receive in home care from Connie Dietrich and Heather Schultz the last two years of her life.
Karen was deeply loved by family and friends. She will be greatly missed. However, the memories she left with us will be eternally treasured. She had a generous spirit and enjoyed being “Auntie Mame” to her nieces and nephews.
Karen is survived by her sister, Patrice, and brother in law, Tom Southard and their daughter Emily from Des Moines. Her brother, Michael, and his wife, Julie and their sons Connor and Evan, LaFayette, CO. Her brother in law Bob Eppler and his wife Nancy, Omaha, NE. Nephews P.J. Eppler and wife Michelle and their children Madison and Aaron, Omaha, Neb., and Tim and wife Julie and their daughter Mabel, Lincoln, Neb..
Karen was preceded in death by her parents Earl C. and Geraldine Lierley, sister Kathleen Eppler and niece Jessica Southard.
Arrangements are being handled by Oakcrest Funeral Services of Algona. Condolences may be left at www.oakcrestfuneralservices.com.