Bonnie Karl, 83, Worthington

Published 9:48 am Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Bonnie Jean Karl, 83, of Worthington, died on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013, at Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls, S.D. She was born Jan. 10, 1930, in Slayton, to Rudolph and Diana (Pearson) Johnson, the oldest of five children. Bonnie grew up on the family farm northwest of Slayton and graduated from Slayton High School.

She married Raymond Karl of Slayton on Feb. 24, 1948. They operated a service station and later a Pontiac and Rambler car dealership. In 1962, they moved to Worthington to start a Pontiac/Oldsmobile/Cadillac dealership, which they operated until 1972. In 1973, they and their son, Jim, opened an auto parts store known as General Trading Co. Their son, Chuck, joined them a year later. After Ray’s death in 1979, Bonnie and sons continued the business, later known as Karl’s Carquest Auto Parts, expanding to three stores in Worthington, Albert Lea and Jackson. In 2011, Bonnie retired from the business, now operated by her sons.

Bonnie Karl

Bonnie Karl

Bonnie broke glass ceilings as a businesswoman, and was honored in February 1981 as the first female national Carquest Jobber of the Month in a male-dominated business. She also received the Oldsmobile Athena Award for leadership and community service by a professional woman.

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Bonnie was very active in the Worthington community, serving on the Worthington Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, including a term as president. In 1989 as chamber president, she accompanied a group from Worthington to its sister city, Crailsheim, Germany. Bonnie also served on the Chamber Ambassadors Club. She was a charter member of the Worthington Foundation and served as its chair for the first 12 years. She also served on the Worthington Planning Commission, Downtown Redevelopment Committee, Star Cities Committee and King Turkey Day Hospitality Committee.

She was a member of the First United Methodist Church and was very active in the church for many years. In addition to serving on numerous boards and committees, Bonnie was active in Women’s Circle and prayer chain. She was also a Sunday school teacher and for more than 25 years was the wedding coordinator.

Bonnie was a member of the Elks and the American Legion women’s auxiliary. She had many friends and enjoyed playing bridge, entertaining, spending time with her daughter, Roxanne, and watching her grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow up. An avid cook and baker, Bonnie was well known for hosting many luncheons and dinner parties. For family events, Bonnie planned menus and did most of the cooking. She especially loved hosting Christmas Eve celebrations for her children and grandchildren, having them all together at her home for 49 consecutive years.

She is survived by her children Jim (Pat) Karl of Worthington, Chuck (Janet) Karl of Albert Lea and Roxanne (Terry Rueb) Karl of Burnsville; grandchildren Jackie (Brian) Seifert of Rochester and Krista (Josh) Brassfield of Green Bay, Wis. (Jim and Pat’s children); grandchildren Chad (Jill) Karl of St. Paul and Alexis (Scott) Neve of Oronoco (Chuck and Janet’s children); great-grandchildren Michael Seifert, Avery Karl, Jocelyn Karl and Stella Brassfield; brothers Harris Johnson, Donald (Ruth) Johnson and Gary (Cindy) Johnson; many nieces and nephews; and many friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband; and brother, Harold Johnson.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Dingmann Funeral Home, 1545 N. McMillan St., Worthington. A celebration of life service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at First United Methodist Church, 408 11th St., Worthington. Interment will be at Memory Gardens, Worthington.

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