Cover photo for Karen S. Dobberstein's Obituary
Karen S. Dobberstein Profile Photo
1954 Karen 2022

Karen S. Dobberstein

February 18, 1954 — November 19, 2022

Karen S. (Zarling) Dobberstein 68, passed away on November 19, 2022, in Madison. She was born in Oshkosh on February 18, 1954, to Robert (Mike) and Rena Zarling. She attended Oshkosh Grade and High Schools. She graduated from Oshkosh High School in 1972.

Karen then continued her education and graduated from UW Oshkosh with a degree in teaching. She taught Special Education with a special patience few of us possess. In 1979 Karen was married to Larry Dobberstein on June 9th. Their love continued for 43 years until Karen's passing.

Karen was a campfire girl, a Mercy Hospital candystriper and worked at EAA for a food vendor. Later in life she became a member of the Ravishing Rubys Red Hat Society. She enjoyed them all and had stories about each of them. Karen always enjoyed going to the Miss Wisconsin Pageant most every year growing up.

Karen enjoyed hiking, biking, tennis and XC skiing with her husband Larry. Together they skied at many Wisconsin and Michigan U.P. trail systems. Karen bought their very first skis as a surprise Christmas present. She also enjoyed their camping resort membership for many years in Door County and Southern Wisconsin every summer.

Karen enjoyed traveling to anywhere they had a good perch dinner. Karen's father would occasionally take her fishing to help get fresh perch for supper. She loved and went to many theatre entertainment shows, especially Christmas Shows and musicals. Christmas and Easter were Karen's favorite holidays. She was a lifelong Green Bay Packer backer. She would sometimes get so upset she’d have to change the T.V. channel to collect herself.

Karen's favorite shows to watch were Shark Tank, The Masked Singer, and any good crime mystery show. For some fun she enjoyed an occasional trip to a casino.

Every evening Karen had a spontaneous table prayer at supper time. The prayer was almost always a long prayer for others and lastly for herself. When Karen was able to go shopping, it was again finding something to buy for someone else first and herself last. This is what she learned from her parents, and she never forgot it. She would often sing "Jesus Loves Me" to her feline friends.

Later in life Karen's health slowly declined. She was strong in dealing with chronic pain, vertigo and diabetes issues. She always seemed to find strength however, to sit on the patio and pamper her summer flowers and talk to her neighbor every year no matter how she felt. She spent hours finding the right outside flowers each year.

Then there are the three cats that were a loving and faithful part of Karen's life. Charlie, Abby, and currently Elly who misses Karen deeply. She loved all of them and made their lives happy. She often donated to help other cats and kittens at the OAHS. If Karen went to OAHS to visit, she could spend hours playing with kittens and adult cats.

Karen's voice will be missed, for anyone on the phone with her always easily knew it was Karen. She had a unique voice that could never fool anyone.

Karen was a long-time member of Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Oshkosh. She served on the church council and St John's Lutheran handbell choir. She sponsored Wimmie, as a small girl from Thailand through Compassion International. Wimmie is now 18 years old and still sponsored because of Karen.

It is now that Karen finally has herself first, ahead of all of us on the journey to a pain free new life eternal.

Karen is survived by her husband Larry, many cousins, nieces and nephews and relatives. She was preceded in death by her parents.

A thankful appreciation to all of the medical teams in Oshkosh, Green Bay and Madison that provided wonderful treatment and care for Karen over the last six weeks. A special thanks to Karen's personal health care advisor, D.J.F. MD who helped greatly with handling Karen's personal life care planning. Thank you to all those who prayed for her and were at the hospitals for her. Lastly, unmeasurable thanks to Pastor Connie for the countless time she devoted in many ways to Karen's fight for life.

In lieu of flowers, all other gifts will go to Karen's favorite, elected organizations. They are the OAHS, Compassion International, Alzheimer’s Association.

A funeral service will be held at 12pm on November 28, 2022, at Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church, 1860 Wisconsin, St. Oshkosh with Pastor Connie Weiss officiating. The visitation will be held from 10am until the hour of service. Burial will be private at the Borth cemetery.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Karen S. Dobberstein, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, November 28, 2022

10:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church

1860 Wisconsin Street, Oshkosh, WI 54901

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Monday, November 28, 2022

Starts at 12:00 pm (Central time)

Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church

1860 Wisconsin Street, Oshkosh, WI 54901

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Borth Cemetery


Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Photo Gallery

Visits: 1

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree