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Karen Ann Eilert

07/19/1954 - 12/30/2019
Service Date: 01/25/2020
Service Time: 10:00 AM
Service Location: Tre Bella, 119 W. Main Street, Mesa, Arizona 85201

Karen Ann Eilert was born under an endless summer sky in a small Kansas town in the summer of 1954. One of ten children born to her parents, Helen and Albert, Karen spent her early years on their small family farm on the rolling prairies of America’s heartland. Life lessons came hard and fast on that little farm, and Karen had to grow up too fast and too soon. The oldest daughter among her siblings, she learned early on how to help care for her younger brothers and sisters and to help with the day to day chores essential to the life she was born into. Fearless, driven, and passionate in every aspect of her life, she was determined to become more, to accomplish more, than every statistic would say was possible.

In her professional life, Karen was focused and competitive in every sense. Beginning as a Licensed Practical Nurse, and later spending over 25 years as a Licensed Optician, she never allowed herself to be anything less than the best in her field. She took enormous pride in her profession, and pushed everyone around her to be the absolute best they could be. She had an uncanny ability to sense the untapped potential in her colleagues and was relentless in challenging them to rise to their abilities.

As a single mother to three children, she was loving, nurturing, supportive, fierce, and brave beyond measure…but it was as Grandma to her seven grandchildren where Karen found joy beyond measure. A love without boundaries and with limitless hope and possibility. First with five grandsons, and, finally, through two little girls in whom she could bestow her love of hearth and home, teaching them to bake cookies and knead bread dough beside her in the kitchen.

As a wife, Karen found her “happily ever after” in her husband, Mike Valasco. He was her soul mate, best friend, and confidant. Together, they traveled the world, ate the food, drank the wine, and made memories most would envy given two lifetimes. Through her illness, he was her helpmate, caretaker, and tireless advocate. He was her anchor and safe harbor in the storm.

Karen lived life to its fullest and loved openly. She took great joy in her family, whether it was taking cruises with her husband, baking cookies with her girls (all of them), or taking her boys out to lunch. She love her country and lived to spend time with family.

Karen found eternal peace on December 30th, but her memory and legacy lives on through her husband, Mike, three children – Brandon, Nathan, and Heidi, seven grandchildren – Hunter, Geoffrey, Colby, Eric, Jaxon, Zoey and Evelyn, four brothers, four sisters, and many nieces, nephews, and close friends.

Karen was the strongest woman we have ever known. Her love was limitless. She is gone too soon, but will live forever in our memories as our amazing Wife, Mom, Grandma, Sister, Friend, and Colleague.

A Celebration of Life will be held on January 25th at Tre Bella in Downtown Mesa (119 W Main Street, Mesa, AZ 85201). Doors open at 9:30am and we’ll begin at 10am. In lieu of black, please wear Karen’s favorite color, blue.



  • I am so sorry for your loss. Prayers to ease your pain.

  • Sorry for your loss. Karen and I graduated high school together,Rode school bus together from 3 grade till we graduated. Good people.

  • Bernie Sierpina

    Wow, what a perfectly amazing obituary that I can add nothing to, except that I’ll see you and Jesus later….

  • I grieve over the fact that the whole family now has to individually deal with a big empty spot in their hearts.

  • Carrie Weltmer Mayhew

    Karen was definitely a passionate and beautiful woman. We were classmates in Mankato K-12 grades. She will be missed.

  • For all who knew her, please cherish the memories you were afforded by knowing such an awesome individual. I am fortunate to have grown to know her son Brandon, and can only now understand why he is so amazing! May peace surround the family during this time of great sorrow and may you rejoice in the knowledge that she bestowed goodness in those she met. Rest In Peace Karen, for your work here is done!

  • What a wonderful life she had. and what a wonderful remembrance written of her. So sorry for the families loss.

  • Jeffrey A Johnson

    Condolence to the family. May God watch over her now.

  • Karen is gone too soon. I will always remember her as being kind and helpful as a co-worker. My thoughts and prayers are with all those who loved her. She will be missed.

  • Charlene Tilson

    Karen became known to me through Heidi who married my nephew Jason. She was a lovely family member to add to our large boisterous Tilson family. She was giving of her time and attention to all of us as we got our eyes examined at her store and got glasses. She was always smiling and loved to talk about her children and grandchildren. She will be greatly missed in our family and of course yours. I will keep all of you in my prayers as you mourn her loss in your lives.

  • Lynette Wilson Huntsinger

    I was neighbors to the Eilerts and liked everyone of them. So glad to hear Karen enjoyed her life. Hugs to all of you.

  • Karen and I were neighbors for many years. She became one of my best friends. My children adored her growing up and shared fond memories. I feel such a hole in my heart for our loss, but so blessed to have had her in my life. I will treasure the memory of this strong woman and beautiful soul always.

  • My family were Karen’s closest neighbors on the farm in Kansas. She was always someone I looked up to for her beauty, strength and kindness. I’m so happy she had a wonderful life after leaving home. My thoughts and prayers are with you Tom, Bill, Margaret (my horseback buddy for years!), Pat, Mike, Alice (my best friend for many years), Miriam and Rosie (you’ll always be Rosie to me!)

  • Paula Rightmeier Cherney

    Sincerest condolences to Karen’s family. I remember Karen as remarkably beautiful, and it appears she carried that all her life. So sorry the wonderful life she created was cut short – I’m sure she will be missed so very much.

  • I believe I have known Karen since 1st grade as Pat was in my class & we all attend Church in Mankato. I always was in awe of her as I thought she was a very strong girl to be able to handle all her siblings & the way she handled life in general. I am glad she has such a loving family. She leaves us all with lots of memories to hold in our hearts forever.

  • Mary Jane Armstrong

    May perpetual light shine upon her. We attended school together 6th-12th grade. But I remember Karen most from our activities at church. I always found it amusing that our family (Smith) of 6 kids was lumped with the her family, the Eilert’s and the Esslinger’s as being the “large” families in the parish. I am so happy that Karen achieved her own untapped potential and that she shared her love of life and family with so many lucky people. You can take the girl off the farm and away from Kansas but her beautiful personality lives forever.

  • Brenda Huntsinger Williams

    I was lucky enough to be Karen’s Mankato classmate from K-12. So glad she had a full life and the love of a large family.

  • Nela Huntsinger Erwin

    I remember Karen as a spunky little girl. Before school age she was responsible, loving, caring and had an ornery streak that would make you laugh! As she grew older she was an immense help to her mother, Helen. Sad to know that she left this world too early.

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