Cover photo for Geneva   Karl's Obituary
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1924 Geneva 2016

Geneva Karl

May 17, 1924 — October 2, 2016

Geneva “Gen” Rose (Ghelfi) Karl, 92, Onalaska, passed away on Oct. 2, 2016 at the Hillview Nursing Home in La Crosse.

Geneva was born on May 17, 1924, in Genoa, WI to Frank and Margaret (Jambois) Ghelfi. She graduated from Lansing High School, in Lansing, Iowa, in 1943. After graduation, she went to work at the La Crosse Rubber Mills before becoming a stay at home mom. Later in life, Geneva worked for the La Crosse County and Town of Campbell Library branches.

Meeting on a blind date, Geneva married the love of her life, Lawrence Karl, on October 21, 1950. Geneva and Lawrence were inseparable and shared many experiences and adventures throughout their 65 years of marriage. Together, they raised four daughters and one son. The couple would spend many summer nights watching the Milwaukee Brewers and in the winter, Sunday afternoons were spent watching the Green Bay Packers.  After the couple retired, they traveled the country on several bus trips and became heavily involved with their church, St. Patrick’s in Onalaska.

Geneva will be remembered for her bright smile, her quick sense of humor and her never ending love for family and friends. Geneva was an excellent seamstress and also enjoyed crocheting, knitting and quilting. Her skills produced bridesmaid dresses, baptismal gowns, Halloween costumes and dresses for area beauty pageants. Geneva loved all of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and was up to date on all of their lives. To pass the time, she worked through crossword puzzles and played bingo, frequently winning rounds of the game during her time at Springbook Assisted Living. Family and friends will always remember the sincerity in her voice when she said “I love you,” even through all of the pain near the end of her life.

Geneva is survived by her children Dave (Roxanne) Karl of La Crosse, Karen (James) Arms of Onalaska, Janet (Don) Kotek of La Crosse, Barb (Chris) Clark of La Crosse, Mary (Bob) Hess of Coon Valley and her 17 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. She is further survived by her sister  Bernie Besl of La Crosse and her brother Richard “Dick” (Nancy) Ghelfi of La Crosse.

She was  preceded in death by her husband Lawrence, her mother Margaret, her father Frank and brothers Joseph, Phillip and Bernard.

A funeral mass will be held at 11:00 a.m. Friday, Oct. 7, at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, 1031 Main Street, Onalaska, WI. Msgr. Delbert Malin will officiate.  Following the mass, the burial will take place at the Onalaska Cemetery. Friends and family may call from 10 a.m. until the time of Mass Friday at the church.

The family would like to extend a thank you to the caregivers at the Hillview Nursing Home for the excellent care Geneva received during her stay.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be made to the La Crosse County Library, The La Crosse Public Library or Catholic Charities.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Geneva Karl, please visit our flower store.


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