Karen L. Hamilton


Karen Laura Hamilton, 81, passed away in her home in Duluth, MN on November 24, 2022. She was born in Pine River, MN on June 26, 1941 to Fay and Lorna Hamilton. Karen was the oldest of six siblings and grew up in Backus, MN where she participated in many activities including being a member of the Backus Homecoming Court and member of the Baptist Church.  Karen lived in Grand Rapids, MN where she spent over 20 years working for the Dental Office of Dr. Lee Jess in Grand Rapids. In 1998, Karen moved to Duluth, MN to live with her partner, Dave Gongwer. During this time, Karen worked for the Salvation Army in Duluth as a bookkeeper until she retired at the age of 77.  Karen was adored by her two granddaughters and many nieces and nephews. Her pride and joy were her six great grandchildren. She was so proud to be their GG and would show them off whenever she got the chance.  There was nothing Karen loved more than to cook beautiful meals for her family and friends. She also loved gardening and kept up her own vegetable garden until the age of 80.

Preceding Karen in death are her parents, Fay and Lorna Hamilton.  Karen is survived by her partner, Dave Gongwer; five siblings, Sharon (Milt) Attoe, Lila (Rick) Burlingame, Steve (Diane) Hamilton, Mark (Angie) Hamilton and Shelly Bever; Stepchildren, Brenda (Mike) Johnson, Harry Johnson; grandchildren, Anna (Luke) Francisco and Olivia (Jesse) Downey; six great grandchildren; 20 great nieces and nephews; and one great great niece and one great great nephew.

The memorial service will be held Friday, December 9th at 2:00 in the afternoon at the Salvation Army Chapel in Duluth, MN. There will be a burial service in Backus, MN at a later date.  Arrangements are with Libbey Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Grand Rapids, MN. To sign the online guestbook or send condolences visit

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