Karen Kay Riester

January 6, 1952 ~ February 15, 2019 (age 67)


It is with great sorrow to announce that Karen Kay (Crump) (Davis) Riester passed away on February 15, 2019, surrounded by her family at the age of 67 at St. Mary’s Hospital. Karen was born in Quincy, Illinois and raised in Quincy and Germany, where her family was stationed with the Army for many years. Karen graduated from Stuttgart American High School in Germany and then attended flight attendant school and Rochester Community and Technical College. She went on to have a career at Mayo Clinic.

An Army brat, wife, and mother, Karen was dedicated to supporting the troops. Although never serving on active duty herself, Karen was recommended for appointment as an honorary member of the 503d Infantry Regiment for actively supporting the 503d Infantry Regiment Heritage, the 173rd Airborne Brigade Association, and active and reserve components of the United States Army. She played an instrumental role in Chapter 24’s hosting of three annual national reunions in Rochester. Specifically, in addition to general support of these events, she organized and executed Gold Star meetings and activities, arranging for guest speakers who addressed mental and emotional issues of concern to this elite group of individuals. In 2005, Karen commenced an ongoing participation in the 173rd Airborne Brigade Memorial Foundation at Ft. Benning, GA. For five years, through the fundraising, groundbreaking, construction and dedication of the Memorial, she worked tirelessly in multiple aspects of the Foundation’s activities. Continuing her compassionate ministry to Gold Star families, she ultimately was appointed the Foundation’s Gold Star coordinator. She planned and coordinated all social and protocol activities of the Foundation, including dealing with veterans and active duty soldiers of all ranks from private to general. Her intimate knowledge of Regimental history facilitated her success in this role. In 2010, Karen became a Member of the Board of Directors of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Memorial Foundation, serving as Secretary, Gold Star Outreach Chair, and Director of Protocol. She also served as the family readiness group leader (FRG) for Charlie Company, 2-135 Infantry Battalion, Winona, MN during the Operation New Dawn deployment to Kuwait from 2011-2012.

Karen was a woman of deep faith. This faith sustained her throughout her adult life and led her to search for a lay religious community that resonated with her soulfulness. This desire was met when she found, at Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church in St. Paul, MN, the Lay Carmelite community where she was subsequently professed as a member. Shortly after her profession, she began inquiry about establishing a similar community in Rochester, MN. With the help and mentorship of Mother Rosemary Quinn, Prioress of the Hermits of St. Mary of Carmel in Houston, MN, Karen co-founded the St. Joseph Lay Carmelite Community at the Church of the Resurrection in Rochester, MN and served as its Formation Director for a number of years. Concurrently, she also served as the Regional Formation Director for Minnesota, North and South Dakota.

Karen was the eldest of six children and was the beloved wife of Floyd C. Riester for 48 years. She will forever be remembered by her loving children, Danielle Riester of Minneapolis, Crist (Kimberly) Riester of Rochester, Ashley (Kyle) Laganiere of Elgin, her seven grandchildren, Sydney, Christian, Hailey, Cameren, Kemaya, Royce, and Ries, and two great-grandchildren. She is also survived by three sisters and two brothers. She is preceded in death by her sister, Vikki (Davis) Harris, her father, John Crump, her mother, Dolores Davis, and her stepfather, Rodger Davis Sr.

Karen touched the lives of so many with her smile and warmth and will be greatly missed. Friends and family are invited to attend a celebration of life at the Riester home on Saturday, May 11th, 2019 from 11am-4pm.

In lieu of flowers, memorials in Karen’s name are preferred to the Hermits of St. Mary of Carmel, 33005 Stinson Ridge Road, Houston, MN  55943.  Please contact a family member for further details.


Celebration of Life Gathering
May 11, 2019

11:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Floyd and Karen Riester home

Rochester, MN 55906


Hermits of St. Mary of Carmel
33005 Stinson Ridge Road, Houston MN 55943

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