Thursday, March 18, 2021
7:00 PM CDT
Life Story / Obituary
Kenneth Richard Karwowski, “Ken”, “Kenny”, age 75, passed away unexpectedly at his home Friday, March 12, 2021. Ken was a dedicated and extraordinarily supportive husband, father and grandfather and provided much love, friendship and mentoring to extended family and friends near and far, relationships he nurtured throughout his life.
Ken was born in Racine, July 27, 1945, son of the late Henry and Eva (Nee: Langdon) Karwowski. Ken graduated from Wm Horlick High School “Class of 1963”. Later that summer on August 17, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church he was united in marriage to the love of his life, Renee S. Dahl. This union was blessed with 3 daughters, Annette, Amy, and Andrea. At the age of 25, while supporting a young family and working two jobs, Ken furthered his studies at UW Stout graduating with a degree in Education in Industrial Arts and then earning his Master of Education at Colorado State University.
Ken lived his life on an upward path, feeling lucky to be alive. Ken had endured many years of heart health issues and diabetes and often shared his knowledge about living a healthier life, with those he cared about. He had exceptional support from his wife of 57 years, Renee, to maneuver the medical issues he faced. Ken worked hard at his health and simply was a hard-working man, always up and going to work on a project. He was active up until the day of his passing, living his mantra to “Keep Moving Forward.” Early Friday morning, Ken passed peacefully at home in his favorite chair, dressed and ready to go for the day.
Ken was a lifelong teacher, a welder by trade and a Certified Welding Inspector. He worked many years in construction as a pipefitter and boilermaker and was a longtime member of Pipefitters Local 118. In construction, Ken met new friends on the job, one of whom was from Hawaii, leading Ken and his family to move to the Islands in 1979, where they lived for a year in paradise, learning about new cultures, weekly trips to the beach and Ken fulfilling a dream of learning to scuba dive and earning his pilot’s license. After moving back to Wisconsin, Ken and Renee returned to Hawaii several times and brought each of their daughters and their families along for vacations. Ken was also a lifelong motorcyclist, still enjoying the ride on his BMW through last fall and looking forward to this spring.
The bulk of Ken’s work focused on teaching others the skill of welding. He began his career at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College in New Richmond and later at Gateway Technical College in Elkhorn. Ken was a member of the American Welding Society since 1988, holding various board positions with the Racine and Kenosha chapters. In 1991 Ken started ARK Welding Inspection Services, providing welding certifications and inspections to companies throughout Wisconsin and beyond. In all, Ken trained and/or certified thousands of welders in his career, among them his son-in-law Daniel Crifase, who will carry on the business.
Ken’s acumen or knowing how to fix things, earned him MacGyver-like status with his family. Ken as a father was incredibly supportive of his girls “the 3 A’s” in their career and family endeavors, always there with a gentle smile, supportive hug and words of wisdom and advice. As a grandfather he shined – cheering on performances, racing and sports, tucking some cash in hand, or piling the kids into the truck for the Saturday morning “trip to the dump” capped off by a stop at Dairy Queen. But what will be missed most of all is his knack to take time to listen and offer guidance in times of need.
Surviving are his wife Renee; daughters, Annette (Daniel) Crifase of Silver Lake, Amy (Robert “Buz”) Bradley of Hubertus, Andrea (Eric) Novotny of Stoughton; grandchildren, Nicholas and Taylor Crifase, Tristan Bradley, Tanner and Kayley Novotny; brothers, Hank (Kari) Karwowski, Tony (Cindy) Karwowski; in-laws, Kathy (Terry) Koch, Al Dahl, Sherry (Wayne) Pope, Darry Dahl; close cousin, Bob “Ski” (Sharon) Karwowski; his daughter-of-the-heart, Barb Garness; special person Naomi Schneider, who he and Renee took under their wings years ago; special friends, Dave and Renda Schulz, Bruce Klamm; nieces, nephews, other dear relatives and friends. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, Frank; stepfather, Al Holtz; godparents, Helen and Stephen Karwowski; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Dale and Bettye Dahl; sister-in-law Joyce Dahl and nephew “Little Darry” Pope.
Due to COVID, in person services will be restricted to family by invite and will be held Thursday, March 18, 2021. A 7 pm service will be lived streamed and may be viewed by going to the funeral home website, select Ken’s page, select service, and select livestream. A celebration of life will be held when it is safe to gather.
"Be positive. Keep moving forward in life." Ken Karwowski