Cover photo for Karen Sutter's Obituary
Karen Sutter Profile Photo
1936 Karen 2020

Karen Sutter

July 19, 1936 — April 8, 2020

Detroit Lakes

Karen Marie Sutter, 83, died peacefully on April 8, 2020, at The Cottage, Ecumen, in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota.

Karen was born July 19, 1936, in Hamburg, Iowa, the daughter of Harold and Mary (Glenn) Zach. She graduated from Rock Port High School in 1954. After graduation she attended both Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, MO and Tarkio College in Tarkio, MO pursuing a Home Economics teaching degree.

On June 1, 1958, Karen was united in marriage to James L. Sutter at the United Methodist Church in Rock Port, MO. Over the next 18 years, they resided in several towns in Missouri, Iowa, and Kansas, until finally settling in Moorhead, MN, in 1976. Karen stayed at home, keeping house and raising her children. When both children were in their teens she returned to college, graduating in 1984 with a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Moorhead State University. In 2010, Jim and Karen made a move to Detroit Lakes, MN, to be nearer to their daughter and grandchildren.

Karen had a love for genealogy. She spent nearly 30 years researching her family history. She spent many hours over the years as a volunteer at the Red River Valley Genealogical Society, helping others find information on their families. After years of research, she​ published a book on the Zach Family. Karen also found great joy in family photos, both old and new.

Karen was talented at sewing, crocheting, cross stitching, quilting and knitting, often making things for her home and for others.  She loved other crafts as well, such as handmade pottery, furniture refinishing and upholstery and, macrame, even building a wooden 2 story Martin bird house.

Karen liked to collect antiques, including furniture, ​Block Optic green depression glass, Black/Amethyst glass, and White milk glass​. Over the years, you could find her at local auctions, or antique stores looking for treasures. She loved finding new recipes and trying them out. Gardening, especially her Iris garden, brought her great joy. When she wasn’t crafting, gardening or researching, you would hear her playing piano. She also liked to pass the time working on picture puzzles, crossword puzzles and playing cards, both Bridge & Pitch.

Karen always encouraged her children to try new things. She brought them to music lessons, art classes, summer reading programs, and sport team practices.  Whatever interested them she would find a way to give them the opportunity.

Karen loved to return home to Missouri to visit family. She also spent time at her cabin on Cotton Lake enjoying the beach, pontoon rides and family dinners with the grandkids. Karen will be greatly missed by her family and friends. She was a smart, sweet, patient, kind, soft spoken woman who loved her family deeply.

Karen is survived by her husband of just shy of 62 years, Jim; son, Mike Sutter; daughter, Mindy (Rob) Nielsen; grandchildren; Ally Nielsen, McKensie (Chris) Pischel, Shay Nielsen, Jay Nielsen; sister, Nancy (Richard) Ohrt; brother, Richard (Sandy) Zach; Brother-In-Law, William (Carolyn) Sutter; numerous nieces and nephews. Preceding Karen in death are her parents, Harold and Mary (Glenn) Zach, Brother-In-Law, Richard Sutter, and infant daughter, Nikki Gail Sutter.

Burial will take place at Green Hill Cemetery, Rock Port, MO, also at a later date.

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

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation/Gathering of Family and Friends

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Starts at 10:00am (Central time)

David-Donehower Funeral Home

609 US-10, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501

Plant Tree

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Memorial Service

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Starts at 11:00am (Central time)

David-Donehower Funeral Home

609 US-10, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501

Plant Tree

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Visits: 7

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree