On Monday April 15th, Karen Lucile (Aldrich) Harrelson, passed away peacefully at home, holding the hand of her husband, just a few weeks shy of her 71st birthday.


A memorial service was held Saturday, April 20, at Rasmusson-Ryan Funeral Home (1418 Fawcett Pkwy) in Nevada. A celebration of life followed at the Cambridge City Center (225 N Water Street) in Cambridge. Burial will be at a later date at Cambridge Cemetery in Cambridge.


Karen was born May 7th, 1948, to June and Irvin Aldrich, the 8th of 12 children. She loved playing little mama to her younger siblings, and was devastated each time one passed before her. Her love for them was immense and deep. She leaves behind three sisters, Bonny (Wayne) Dulaney, Susan Cerretti, and Robin Blue.


She met Raymond Harrelson, (only she called him “Den” or “Denny” for as long as anyone can remember, unless he was in trouble, then it was Ray), in the fall of 1965. After a few dates, both were smitten, and he proposed to her in the fall of 1966. They married on February 4th, 1967, at the Methodist church in Nevada and started a family of their own that year, welcoming Stephanie June in November. Over the next decade and a half, they completed their brood with 4 more children, Becca, Jenny, Ben & Cassie.


Karen made sure to stick around Cambridge after she married so that she could care for her mother, June, and was devastated when her mom passed at the age of 49. They are together again now, though, and the reunion must have been magnificent!


Karen worked several different jobs during her life and made lasting friends at each of them. She never met a stranger and was the confidant of many - always listening and saying just the right thing. She always rooted for the underdog and would have given the shirt off her back to anyone who needed it.


Oh, the things Karen loved; sitting at her picnic table in the back yard watching her grandchildren play, garage sales, gambling, fishing, game shows, lottery tickets, HGTV, the library and of course, her children and grandchildren. Though these are only some of the things she enjoyed. A lot of people don’t know that she had a pretty good singing voice, and her children can remember how much their mom loved to dance when they were younger. The thing she loved the most though, was Den. She was his beloved “Maxine” - “Max” for short, (though where he came up with that name, even he can’t remember) and she loved being taken care of by him. They shared a crazy strong bond that amazed their children and those around them. He will forever miss his coffee-drinking, countryside-traveling companion and awaits the day they can sit on the banks of the river and fish together once again.


Karen is survived by her husband, her children: Stephanie (Brian) Cozad, Rebecca (Jason) Hasbrouck, of Maxwell, Jennifer, of Cambridge, Benjamin, of Ames, and Cassondra (Josh) Crannell, of Huxley. She also leaves behind seven wonderful grandchildren who adored her so much: Ethan, Logan, Lilli, Brennan, Caden, Landen and Hailey.


She was preceded in death by her mother and father, June and Irvin, infant brother Charles Jr, brothers Chris, Steve, Bob, Jim, Kevin (Tobor), Tom and sister Elaine.


She will be intensely loved and forever missed by everyone.


Memorial contributions may be made to EveryStep Hospice in Des Moines. Rasmusson-Ryan Funeral Home in Nevada is handling arrangements. www.rasmussonfh.com