Karen Jo Tobak (Tanis)77, of Brookfield, WI was born to eternal life on July 19, 2021. She passed away surrounded by her children, after combating cancer since 2019.
Karen was born on June 15, 1944 in Hammond, IN and baptized as an infant at Illiana Christian High School’s chapel, where the future Oak Glen Christian Reformed Church was established. She was preceded in death by her parents, Vernon and Catherine Marie (Wydra) Tanis, her husband, Eugene John Tobak, and her brothers, Clark Tanis and Peter Eliot Tanis. She is survived by her brother, Kenneth Vernon Tanis.
Karen married Eugene John Tobak on June 15, 1968 in Lansing, IL. She resided in Brookfield, WI for 50 years, 45 of those years with Eugene until his passing. She is survived by four children: Kevin John (Janel) Tobak, Cynthia Kaye (Christian) Buettner, Candice Michelle (Matthew) Czarnecki, and Jeffrey Michael (Beth) Tobak and thirteen grandchildren: Whitney McKinstry, Adam (Amanda) Czarnecki, David (Allison) Ohlsson, Clay Czarnecki, Jaden Buettner, Mason Buettner, Megan Czarnecki, Brandon Tobak, Sydney Tobak, Landon Buettner, Addison Tobak, Justin Tobak, and Jessica Czarnecki and two great grandchildren: Isabella McKinstry and Conner McKinstry. Twin great grandchildren are expected this year: Evelyn Rose Czarnecki and Madeline Leigh Czarnecki.
Karen graduated from Illiana Christian High School in 1962 and continued her education at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa and Sterling College in Sterling, Kansas majoring in English/Language Arts and minoring in Fine Arts receiving her certificate to teach grades 1st – 8th. In addition, she took graduate courses at Purdue University in Educational and Vocational Counseling.
While attending school, she began working at R.R. Donnelly’s Printing Company in Chicago, IL. After graduating from college, her career life began full-time teaching at Prinsburg Christian School in Minnesota, Milwaukee Christian School, and then substitute teaching. She always stated that her most rewarding job was being a mother to her four children. As her children grew up, she cared for them and took a job as a playground supervisor to watch over them for 19 years. She also purchased and managed the Milwaukee Nut Company, along with her husband, for many years. On top of all that, she was a gift shop manager, a banquet waitress, a newspaper delivery person, and a rental property manager. For the next ten years, she took care of her husband, Eugene, as his health deteriorated.
Karen was a member of the Brookfield Christian Reformed Church for 55 years and volunteered teaching Sunday School, leading children’s worship, sitting in the nursery, serving lemonade and cookies, greeting, leading Bible hour, teaching in vacation Bible school, and serving in 2 summer workshop missions. Her Christian beliefs and need to serve was an integral part of her life.
Karen will be forever remembered as a woman who praised God for eternal life through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
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