Karen Catherine Balaich


Karen Catherine (Jago) Balaich passed away March 16th, 2023, from cancer which she has been battling for over a year. Karen was born June 15th, 1942, to Frank and Catherine (Verbonic) Jago in Duluth MN where she spent her entire life. Karen grew up in the Raleigh Street neighborhood with her siblings, Donald, Jim, June, Betty, Carol, and Raymond. She attended Denfeld High school.

Karen met John Balaich when she noticed he would walk to Good Shepard Church each Sunday, and she made sure she was out on his route to church. They were the first couple married in the new Good Shepard Church building in 1960. They were together until John passed October 2022. Karen and John had 3 sons, John Jr., Robert, and Steve and had a home in West Duluth.

Karen began working as a young teen at Woolworths Downtown Duluth. She then followed her mother’s career and became a seamstress at Minnesota Woolen and then other clothing manufacturers following that. She spent years at the Cook Nursing Home where she enjoyed helping the residents and serving them food.

Karen was a devout catholic and volunteered for many events to help the church and parishioners. She would spend hours at St. Mary Star of the Sea Chapel to maintain the mission there. She also loved to attend family events and baby/wedding/bridal showers.

Karen and John did many projects together including building an airboat, remodeling the house, and restoring an airplane. The biggest feat was building a cabin on an island at Whiteface, and it was the heart of many family weekends and get togethers. Karen loved to play bingo and would play several times a week. She also loved to go to rummage sales to find treasures.

Karen loved to help with raising her grandkids and would always be there to take care of them, when needed. She would light up whenever she saw them and did the same when the great grandkids came along. She posted pictures everywhere and cherished seeing them each day. She would always be there for her sons and other family.

Karen is survived by her sons John Jr., Robert, Steven (Terri), sisters Betty and Carol (John), sisters-in-law Julie Jago and Darlene Jago, grandchildren Steve Jr (Jordann), Grant (Lauren), Ashley (Ryan) Boller, Aili (Mike) Giddings, and great grandchildren MaKenna, Ella, Alayna, Noah, Michael, Mila, many nieces and nephews and special friends.

Karen requested to be cremated and asked that there be no ceremony.

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