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Karen Rose (Tanzer) Ellison

Karen Rose Tanzer, passed away Monday, July 15, 2019, with loving daughters by her side, at Lake Hallie Memory Care.

Karen was born June 2, 1948, to Bernard and Rose Tanzer. She was welcomed home by a brother, Marvin, and two sisters, Patricia and Beverly. Karen was raised in Chippewa Falls, on the Tanzer family farm. She attended Chippewa Falls Catholic schools, including McDonnell High School, where she graduated in 1968.

Karen attended college at UW-Stevens Point and UW-Stout. Her first degree was in home economics. Later she attended UW-Eau Claire and UW-River Falls. She earned her master’s degree in education and her 316 reading license.

In 1970, she married the late Jan V. Peterson. Together, they raised two daughters, Kristina Jan and Aimee Marie. Karen began her teaching career at St. Paul’s Catholic School in 1978. She taught fifth grade for 14 years. In 1991, she began working for the Bloomer School District at Bloomer Elementary School. She later transferred to Bloomer Middle School. Mrs. Peterson/Mrs. Tanzer-Ellison touched countless lives during her more than 30 year teaching career. She is also well known for her “Fun with Frozen Bread Dough” summer school class. Many people have enjoyed her recipes.

Karen married Jan V. Peterson Aug. 1, 1970, and they were married for 29 years. After they divorced, she married Donald Ellison, who passed away in August of 2016.

Karen was the beloved mother of Kristina (Matt) Huset and Aimee (Jason) Andrews. She was also the adored grandmother of May and Margaret Peterson, Logan Huset, Kiara, Kionte and Kaedyn Peterson, Lakeynn and Gabrielle Anderson, and Carter, Jaden, and Austin Andrews.

Karen loved reading, writing, drawing, and teaching. She had a great love of education and of her many, many students. She enjoyed gardening and yard work, camping and baking. Karen loved Christmas and spending time with her grandchildren. She was unfairly stricken with a terrible disease that robbed her of her cognitive abilities. She will always be remembered by those who knew and loved her.

Karen was preceded in death by her ex-husband, Jan V. Peterson; husband, Donald Ellison; son-in-law, Brad Anderson; parents, Bernard and Rose Tanzer; brother, Marvin Tanzer; brother-in-law, Bruce Walther; and grandchild, baby “Hope” Andrews.

She is survived by her two daughters, Kristina (Matt) Huset and Aimee (Jason) Andrews; grandsons, Carter, Jaden, and Austin Andrews, Kionte and Kaedyn Peterson, and Logan Huset; granddaughters, May, Margaret and Kiara Peterson, and Lakeynn and Gabrielle Anderson; sisters, Patricia Walther, Beverly (Larry) Bresina, and Rita Tanzer; along with many nieces and nephews.

Her life as a parent, grandparent, and teacher embodied the quote, “To Teach is to Touch a Life Forever.”

A memorial Mass will be held at 9:30 a.m. Friday, July 19, at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Tilden, with Father Ethan Hokamp officiating. Visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, July 18, with a vigil service at 7 p.m. at Thompson Funeral Home in Bloomer.

Thompson Funeral Home and Chippewa Valley Cremation Services in Bloomer is serving the family. To express condolences online please visit

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