John Louis Karlen (Johnnie) was born March 10, 1956 to Dr. Louis and Betty (Stock) Karlen in Madison, SD. He died peacefully at home on the farm Tuesday, April 27, 2021 after a lengthy battle with renal cancer. Funeral services will be 1:30 PM, Friday, April 30, 2021, at the Beach United Methodist Church in Howard. Burial will follow at Graceland Cemetery in Howard. Visitation will be 5-7 PM, Thursday, at Willoughby Funeral Home with a prayer service at 6:30 PM.
John attended grade school in Vermillion, Kansas City, and Madison while his dad completed medical school, moving to De Smet in 1968. He graduated from De Smet High School in 1974 and in 1978 from SDSU with an Animal Science Degree. In 1979, John married Pam (Jacob), they spent their first two years in De Smet, moving to the Karlen family farm in 1981 where they raised their 3 children. They celebrated their 42nd anniversary in March.
Loving the outdoors, John lived out his childhood dream of farming and raising cattle. He enjoyed seasonal hunting, trapping, and fishing with friends. He also looked forward to his yearly spring and fall “road trips” driving through out the midwest viewing other farming and ranching operations.
John was Roswell Township Treasurer for many years, served on the Howard Fire Dept. Board, District 17 Director of the SD Stock Growers Association, and supporter of R-Calf Association.
A lifelong learner, John enjoyed researching multiple topics of conversations and history. Many will remember him openly sharing his knowledge passionately around the table.
Highlights the past few years was the grandchildren’s sporting events, hanging out and hunting at the farm.
John will forever be remembered by his wife, Pam; mother, Betty; 3 children: Angela Karlen (Wyatt), Becky (Jeremy) Schaffer and Billy Karlen; 4 grandchildren: Ty, Mya, Brady, and Charleigh; sister Debbie (Laird) Beck and brother Trey (Jenni) Karlen; aunts, uncles, cousins and many friends.
He was preceded in death by his father, Louis; brother, David; and grandparents, Clarence and Edna Stock, and Louis and Margaret Karlen.