Memorials may be directed to The Country Church - Homes of Hope Fund.
To view Karen's funeral service, please click the follow link: View Funeral Webcast
Karen LaRae De Groot was born on February 20, 1962 to John and Margaret (Van Dyke) De Ruyter in Pipestone, MN. She was raised on the family farm by Holland, MN where she made numerous memories with her 14 siblings including learning to work, making mudpies and riding horse. At the age of 4, she met her future husband, Wayne De Groot, at church. She attended grades 1-8 at the Holland Christian Grade School and attended high school at Ruthton Public School. After attending her senior prom with Wayne, she graduated in the spring of 1980. It was that summer that a farm accident landed her in the Tyler Hospital. While there, a nurse came in and asked her if she knew where she was going if she died. She replied, “I don’t know. Go ask my dad.” By divine appointment, that nurse then proceeded to share the Gospel with her and Karen put her faith in Christ at 18 years of age. That encounter marked the beginning of a lifetime characterized by the fruit of the Spirit and God’s faithfulness to her.
On June 1st, 1984, Karen was united in marriage to her high school sweetheart Wayne De Groot. Through the first years of their marriage they moved around quite often, but eventually they settled in Ruthton, MN where they purchased their first home.
Karen was a caregiver at heart. She babysat for numerous people throughout the community and worked in nursing homes until she had her own children. At that point, she did daycare in her home so that she could stay home with her children. This was very important to her. She passionately homeschooled her children on and off until Brittany was in 7th grade. She was an incredible teacher. Some of her girls’ fondest childhood memories revolve around her making learning fun through singing songs, homemade crafts, and unique field trips all around the country. In July 1999, Wayne and Karen’s family went on the road to build motels along with their best friends’ Dennis and Mary Tinklenberg’s family. There were 8 kids between the two families, and Karen and Mary switched every other day caring for them and working on the job site. “That was amazing!” she said. She loved all eight of them as if they were her own. From working on the construction site, the opportunity arose for her to travel to get motels ready for opening day. She did this for six years and loved it! She also cleaned houses when she could fit it in. In 2004, she started working at D&T’s Meat Market where she worked for 17 years for Ivan Tinklenberg and Clint Soleta. “Awesome bosses!” she said.
Some of Karen’s favorite hobbies included gardening, spending time in nature, raking and mowing, scooping snow, cleaning, and sledding (she loved taking her grandkids out on sleds as babies and called them “her little papooses!”). She was incredibly gifted at playing piano by ear, which she did for the majority of her married life while leading worship with Wayne and the girls at their church. She also loved to paint and do puzzles. But, all of this did not compare with the love she had for doing things with her grandkids! They were her pride and joy. Karen loved her family and counted it one of her greatest blessings that her kids all grew to love the Lord!
Karen loved life, loved people, and always tried to encourage and help others in any way she could. She believed that there was hope for anyone and was exceptional at loving people when they were at their most unlovable. In her own words, “Everyone is valuable to Jesus! No matter what you think of yourself. He thinks awesome of you! Walk in that, everyone!”
Karen is lovingly remembered by her husband, Wayne De Groot of Ruthton; daughters, Brittany (Joshua) Deiss of San Pedro, CA, Amy Bundy of Pipestone, and Ashley (Ricardo) Jimenez of Holland; grandkids, Madeleine, Johann and Anneliese Deiss of San Pedro, Braxton and Hayes Bundy of Pipestone, and Jadyn and Emeli Jimenez of Holland; 15 siblings, Tammy (Randy) Helzer of Ft. Collins, CO, Deb Gerdes of Holland, Greg (LeAnne) De Ruyter of Okabena, MN, Barb (Ken) Brinkhous of Hardwick, MN, Bryan (Kym) De Ruyter of Okabena, Brent (JoAnne) De Ruyter of Ruthton, Jeff (Shelli) De Ruyter of Holland, Todd (Osiris) De Ruyter of Holland, Rich (Stephanie) De Ruyter of Ruthton, Lyn (Kevin) Jolitz of Thief River Falls, MN, Gary (Bernie) De Ruyter of Lake Benton, MN, Doug (Judy) De Ruyter of Holland, Connie Fletcher of Holland, Dave (Marge) De Ruyter of Holland, and Chad De Ruyter of Holland; mother-in-law, Opal Vander Woude of Edgerton, MN; countless brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, John and Margaret De Ruyter; fathers-in-law, Harry Vander Woude and Melvin De Groot; and sister-in-law, Lynne De Ruyter.