Karen Q. Mooney

Karen Q Mooney

Karen Q. Mooney, Age 79, died peacefully in Madison, WI, with her family by her side.

She was born in Sheboygan to Robert C. Quasius and Marie Themar Quasius on March 18, 1943. She graduated from Sheboygan North High School in 1961 and went on to attend UW-Oshkosh. On September 5, 1964, she married Bill Mooney. At the start of what would be a great 42-year adventure, they happily settled in Sheboygan to raise their family. Their home was a whirlwind of activity, filled with children, countless pets, a revolving door of extended family and friends, music, books, a beautiful garden, laughter and always love. Summers were spent at their second home on Crystal Lake, “the most beautiful place in the whole world.”

Karen, or “Ren” as she was affectionately known, was a woman of many talents and her career was indicative of her varied interests. She worked as a journalist for WHBL radio covering the police and courthouse beat before opening Persnickety, a floral and home décor store. Persnickety quickly became a central gathering place for a large, loyal and boisterous group of friends who shared her good taste and great sense of humor. Later, Karen worked at a local crisis center advocating for mentally challenged adults, as not only their champion but a trusted ally and friend – a job she said was the most rewarding of her life.

Intellectually curious and boundlessly creative, Karen was a talented watercolor painter, a voracious reader and lover of English literature. She had impeccable style, a quick wit and the ability to make fast friends with anyone lucky enough to meet her. With a genuine interest in others’ lives and stories, she listened with concern, kindness and compassion. She loved to travel and trips to Italy and Ireland were among her favorites. She was extremely well-read and could carry on a conversation on any subject. After moving to the Madison area in 2014, Karen discovered and joined UW-Madison’s PLATO Group, where she made many new friends with whom to discuss great literary works.

Karen had a knack for making the ordinary extraordinary. Her home was always decked out for the holidays, including the biggest Christmas tree she could find. She threw legendary New Year’s Eve parties and wrote scary Halloween stories to read out loud in her most wicked cackle. A leisurely float in Crystal Lake would inevitably become a travel adventure down the Congo River. Grandchildren would delight in finding messages from “The Lake” written on birch bark, and she was always up for a game of Scrabble, Bananagrams or cribbage. Karen loved her morning latte with a big serving of Italian Sweet Creme and a healthy dose of NPR news. In later years, despite things becoming more physically challenging, her fiercely independent spirit and determination allowed her to continue to live life on her own terms.

Karen was greatly loved and will be missed by her children Mary (Kyle) Roberts of Wales, Ann (David) Landwehr of McFarland, William (Christa Noel) Mooney of Buffalo Grove and Maggie (Scott) Baum of Monona, along with adored grandchildren Elizabeth and Megan Clark Roberts, Emily Landwehr, William and Anna Marie Noel Mooney, and Sam and Ben Baum. She is also survived by her brother Robert (Mary) Quasius of Sheboygan, brother-in-law Michael Mooney of Boston, her cat Milo, and extended family and friends too numerous to name. Karen was preceded in death by her parents, whom she loved deeply; her beloved husband, Bill; and her goldendoodle and truest companion, Guinness, who saw her through the years after Bill’s death.

The family thanks the staff at Heritage Monona and St. Mary’s Hospital Madison ER and ICU for supporting Karen and her family through the last weeks and moments of her life. While we met them only briefly, their care, compassion and support had a big impact, and we cannot thank them enough.

A gathering to celebrate Karen’s life will be held Monday, November 7, 2022, in Elkhart Lake. The family will welcome guests at Community United Church of Christ, 174 N. East St., starting at 10:30 a.m. until time of service at 12:00 p.m.

Those wishing to honor Karen’s life and legacy are encouraged to rescue a pet who needs a home, buy a great book at an independent bookstore, get out to vote, give time generously to someone who needs it, or simply enjoy the beauty of dappled sunlight as it shines through the trees on an ordinary day.


Always keep Ithaca in your mind.

To arrive there is your ultimate goal.

But do not hurry the voyage at all.

It is better to let it last for many years;

And to anchor at the island when you are old,

Rich with all you have gained on the way.

(from “Ithaca” by Constantine P. Cavafy)

Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.

Gunderson East

Funeral & Cremation Care

5203 Monona Drive

(608) 221-5420