Karen Mildred (Kasten) Baerbock, 76, of Merrillan, Wisconsin, went to be with her Savior on
July 11, 2023, at her home in Merrillan, Wisconsin, after a lengthy battle with ALS.
Karen was born on June 25, 1947, in Port Washington, WI, the daughter of Edgar and Hertha
(Kringel) Kasten. She attended elementary school at St. John’s Lutheran School in Newburg, WI.
From there she went on to attend Winnebago Lutheran Academy in Fon du Lac, WI, for her high
school education. In her pursuit of a teaching degree, she attended Milwaukee Lutheran
Teacher’s College in Milwaukee, a 2-year college, before finishing her education at Doctor
Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN, graduating with a BS degree. Her first teaching call
was to teach K-2 at St. John-St. James Lutheran School in Reedsville, WI.
Karen married Ronald Baerbock on August 1, 1970, at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Newburg,
She used her teaching skills in many ways as she followed her WELS pastor/missionary husband
in his divine calls. At Star of Bethlehem in New, Berlin, WI, she taught kindergarten in the newly
opened school. At King of Kings Lutheran church in Kennewick, WA, she also helped with the
teaching in that new school. In 1987, Karen, with her husband and family, traveled to
Guadalajara, Mexico, to learn Spanish for doing mission work in Latin America. Over the next
20 years they lived in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Sonora, Mexico. Karen taught
Bible lessons to the children in many of these areas while her husband did the same with the
adults. While in Mahahual, Costa Maya, Mexico, Karen not only taught the children’s Bible class
in Spanish, but also taught uneducated children to read and write Spanish. She served as church
secretary for several years at Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in El Paso, TX. At Bethel
Lutheran in Menasha, WI, she helped with the teaching of ESL classes.
She loved to cook, garden, sew, crochet, stamp, and spend time with the grandchildren.
Karen is survived by her husband Ron, and four children: Brenda (Matthew) Henning, Amy
(Mark) Kuether, Matthew (Sara) Baerbock, and Joshua (Rachel) Baerbock. She is survived by 21
grandchildren and one great grandchild, along with three siblings: Kenneth (Patricia) Kasten,
Kendall (Linda) Kasten, and Kathleen (Dennis) Heinen.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Edgar and Hertha Kasten; two nieces; grandparents;
and many aunts and uncles.
Karen’s Christian funeral will be on Saturday, July 22, 11:00 a.m., at Faith Lutheran Church,
N6598 County Rd. A, Black River Falls, WI. Visitation will be from 8:00-11:00 before the
service, with a lunch to follow the service. The service will be livestreamed.
Memorial suggestions as we remember Karen: Faith Lutheran Church; Costa Maya Ministries
(Mexico); Mission to the Children (Mexico); ALS Association.
The Torgerson Funeral Home of Black River Falls is assisting with final arrangements, 715-284-

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