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Shirley M. Blazek, 88

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Shirley M. Blazek, age 88 of Lawler died Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023, at Colonial Manor of Elma.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023, at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church in Lawler with the Rev. Nick Radloff celebrating the Mass.

Interment will follow at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Cemetery with Scott Anderson, Ron “Gowdy” Leibold, Shane Fountain, Dennis Njus, Mike Kruse and Bill Kout serving as pallbearers.  Honorary pallbearers will be Jenna Blazek, Jamee Schmitt, Johanna Blazek, Wyatt Blazek, Jalyssa Blazek, Haley Norcross and Samantha Norcross.

Friends may greet the family from 4 to 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 18, 2023, at the church where there will be a 7 p.m. Parish Scripture Service.  Visitation continues an hour prior to the Mass on Tuesday at the church.

Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory in New Hampton has been entrusted with Shirley’s arrangements.  Online condolences for the Blazek family may be left at

She was born on April 20, 1935, in New Hampton, the cherished daughter of Walter and Zelpha Karnatz.

Shirley’s early years were filled with joy and laughter on the family farm near Boyd.  She attended a one-room country school, where she would playfully recount the “five miles uphill both ways” that she walked daily to attend. She went on to graduate from New Hampton High School in 1953, leaving a legacy as a Spelling Bee champion and an active member of 4-H. Her time in high school was marked by enthusiasm, friendships and a love for learning.

Throughout her life she exemplified a strong work ethic and commitment to her community. Right after graduating from high school she worked as a nurse’s aid at St. Joseph’s Hospital. She went on to work as a secretary for Farm Bureau Insurance — where she earned enough money to purchase her first and only sewing machine which served her faithfully throughout her entire life.

On Dec. 28, 1957, Shirley united in marriage with the love of her life, Donald Blazek, at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church in Lawler.

Together, they built a beautiful life and were blessed with four children. Shirley dedicated much of her working life to supporting their family business, Blazek Corporation, where she efficiently managed the books and handled all secretarial responsibilities with unwavering dedication.

In her leisure time, Shirley found joy in music, showcasing her talent on the piano. She was an accomplished seamstress and proudly crafted a great deal of her own clothing. Shirley loved to cook and was a hospitable hostess.

Her home had an open door policy. Friends and strangers alike were greeted with the best home cooked meals. She was well known for her potato soup, potato salad, and pumpkin bars. You always left her home well-fed.

She and Don embraced a vibrant social life. Shirley was an active member of Mt Carmel church, often lending her time to lector and assist wherever needed.

Walking, golfing, traveling and needlepointing were among Shirley’s favorite hobbies. She and Don spent countless winters in Orange Beach, Alabama.

However, her true passion was being a grandmother. Shirley excelled at showering her grandchildren with love and attending their events, creating cherished memories that will be forever treasured.

Shirley Mae Blazek leaves behind a legacy of love, warmth and generosity. She will be deeply missed by her family, friends, and all who had the privilege of knowing her.

Shirley is survived by her husband of 66 years Donald Blazek of Lawler; four children, Donald P. (Kim) Blazek of Lawler, Eugene L. (Janet) Blazek of Fredericksburg, Thomas E. Blazek of Cedar Rapids, and Laura L. (Jeff) Norcross of Mason City; seven grandchildren, Jenna Blazek, Jamee (Brandon) Schmitt, Johanna Blazek, Wyatt Blazek, Jalyssa Blazek, Haley Norcross and Samantha Norcross; five step-grandchildren, Keri (Shane) Fountain, Shelley (Paul) Carter, Kimberly (Daniel) Beineke, Laura (Cody) Clausing, Daniel (Stacy) McFarland; one sister, Charlotte (Ross) Braland; and one brother, Ronnie (Lynn) Karnatz.

She was preceded in death by her parents; sister, Margaret (Harley) Wendt; and in-laws, Margaret and James Blazek.

The family wishes to extend their heartfelt appreciation to her caregivers from Colonial Manor of Elma, the Patty Elwood Center of Cresco, and Howard County Hospice for the love, care, and support shown to Shirley and her family over the last couple of years.

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