Cover photo for Steve Karels's Obituary
Steve Karels Profile Photo
1951 Steve 2015

Steve Karels

March 16, 1951 — July 30, 2015

Steve Karels, age 64, of Milbank died Thursday, July 30, 2015 at Avera Heart Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 am on Tuesday, August 4, 2015 at St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Milbank with Father Ken Lulf celebrating the Mass. Burial will follow in St. Lawrence Catholic Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 5-7 pm Monday, August 3 at St. Lawrence Catholic Church, with prayer service to follow. Visitation will continue for one hour prior to the time of service at the church on Tuesday.

Music will be provided by Nancy Johnson and Sandy Tucholke, organists and the St. Lawrence Family Choir, Folk Choir and Funeral Choir. Casket bearers will be Leon Eisenschenk, Al Mathiason, Ron Bjerke, Kevin Schuelke, Jerry Reiffenberger, Curt Berkner, and Don Dvoroznak. Honorary bearers include the Milbank Fire Department and all of Steve's friends and coworkers at Cold Spring.

Steve was born in Madison, MN to Emmanuel & Lauretta (Monnens) Karels on March 16, 1951. He grew up on a farm near Rosen, MN attending St. Joseph's Catholic elementary school, He graduated from Bellingham High School in 1969 where he was active in sports and 4-H. He continued his education at Canby Vo-Tech for agriculture.

In 1971 he met the love of his life, Sandy Hermans. From that moment he knew they would spend the rest of their lives together. Two days later he proposed and on September 25th they would have celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary.

They were blessed with two children, Dulcie and Josh. Steve worked for Cold Spring Granite for 37 years. He worked in many different positions, eventually becoming the manager of the Milbank Quarries. He retired January 5, 2015. Most importantly, he spent his entire life serving his Church and community. He was a member of St. Lawrence Catholic Church where he gave glory & praise to God by using his God given gift of a beautiful singing voice.

He served on the Milbank volunteer fire department as a fireman and a Captain from July 5, 1984 – May 7, 1998. During these years he was also was an EMT, an original member of the rescue squad and a training instructor. Steve also served as deputy coroner and held a seat on the Milbank city council for many years.

Steve was an avid outdoorsman and especially loved hunting and fishing. As a true sportsman he purchased 80 acres of land for the sole purpose of conservation and instilled in his children and grandchildren a respect and love for animals and nature. Steve also mentored youth and guided charity hunts.

For the last 7 years, Steve loved being "Pops" to his 3 grandchildren, Manny, Andrew and Isabelle. Everyone knew how much joy they brought to his life and he will be greatly missed.

Left to cherish Steve's memory is his wife, Sandy Karels of Milbank; children: Dulcie (John) Becker of Wayzata, MN and Josh (Karissa) Karels of Milbank; stepmother, Arlene Karels of Bellingham, MN; grandchildren: Manny Becker, Andrew Karels and Isabelle Karels; brothers and sisters: Raymond Karels of Willmar, MN; Colleen (Mike) Barber of New London, MN; Cheryl (Jeff) Plathe of Willmar, MN; Frank (LouAnn) Karels of Brooten, MN; Marian (Jeff) Plathe of Willmar, MN; Neal (Cindy) Karels of Rochester, MN; Lauralie Karels of St. Paul, MN; Brian (Juni) Karels of Edgerton, MN; Brad (Sandy) Karels of Pipestone, MN; Geraldine (Carl) Kupres of Fennville, MI; step-brothers and step-sisters: Dick (Sue) Ohm of Bellingham, MN; Darnell (Roger) Hanson of Monticello, MN; Dene (Pat) Ohm of Bellingham, MN; Sherri (Glenn) Mork of Buffalo, MN; Jimmy (Dee) Ohm of Bloomington, MN; foster brother, Lee Baldwin of Anoka, MN; and many nieces and nephews.

Steve was preceded in death by his parents Emmanuel and Lauretta (Monnens) Karels and step-sister Judy Larson & her husband Ron Larson.

In lieu of flowers, donations are preferred to the American Heart Association and the Milbank Hospital Foundation.


St. Lawrence Catholic Church
113 6th Street South
Milbank, SD 57252

Monday, August 3, 2015
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM


St. Lawrence Catholic Church
113 6th Street South
Milbank, SD 57252

Tuesday, August 4, 2015
10:30 AM


St. Lawrence Catholic Cemetery

Milbank, SD 57252

Tuesday, August 4, 2015
11:30 AM


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