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Wanda Elaine Karolus, 76, of Kirkland, passed away peacefully on Saturday, October 7, 2017, with her family by her side, in OSF St. Anthony's Medical Center, Rockford after a sudden illness. She was born on January 1, 1941 to W. Wayne and Eileen (Smith) Dillinger in Decatur, IL. She married John Karolus, her college sweetheart, on August 11, 1962 in Decatur. Wanda graduated from Decatur McArthur H.S. in 1958 and Eastern IL University in 1962 with a degree in education. Her teaching career took her to Antioch, Decatur, Libertyville, St. Louis and Kirkland, retiring from the Hiawatha School District. She was a member of First Lutheran Church of Kirkland and a volunteer at the Kirkland food pantry and clothes closet. She was the director of the Strawberry Patch Preschool at the church. Wanda was a loving wife and mother. She was also an avid Cubs fan who loved animals and was blessed by many great friends and neighbors. She never met a stranger.
Wanda is survived by her husband, John; children, Susan (Rob) Beckman and Kathryn (Mike) Hollingsworth; grandchildren, Robert and Mikayla Hollingsworth; sisters, Joanne (Joe Rotman) Gara, and Jane (Jim) Crawford; sisters-in-law, Marcy Plant and Lorraine Karolus; nieces and nephews, John, Mark, Melissa, Anita, Steve, Sarah and Marti; and many wonderful friends.
Preceded in death by her parents; infant brother, Kenton Dillinger; brothers-in-law, Dr. John Plant and William Karolus; nieces, Lindsay, Jennifer and Kelly Gara.
A service will be held at 11:00 am on Friday, October 13, 2017 at First Lutheran Church of Kirkland, 510 West South St., Kirkland, IL with Rev. Carl Rasmussen officiating.
Visitation will be from 4-7 pm on Thursday, October 12, 2017 at Quiram Kirkland Chapel, 309 South Fifth St., Kirkland, IL.
Memorials to First Lutheran Church of Kirkland or Tails Humane Society, 2250 Barber Green Rd., DeKalb, IL 60115.

Condolences & Shared Memories (18)

  1. M Jones

    I would like to offer my condolences for your loss. How comforting it is to know that Jehovah, the God of all comfort, will soon eliminate all grief and provide permanent consolation when “all those in the memorial tombs will hear  Christ's voice and come out”! (John 5:28, 29) God promises that “he will do away with death forever, and the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will wipe away the tears from all faces.” (Isa. 25:8) Then, instead of having to “weep with those who weep,” all earth's inhabitants will “rejoice with those who rejoice.”​â€"Rom. 12:15.

  2. Celeste & Don Sullivan

    We are so sorry to hear of Wanda's passing! Know our thoughts, prayers and love are with you!

  3. Arlene Raymer

    I work with Susan at the Children's Home. Please accept my condolences for your loss.

  4. Brandi Swinson

    Mrs. Karolus was an angel sent from heaven and has now been called back home. She was a second mother to many as we spent all day at school with her. She was and still is my favorite teacher of all time. She was a kind, caring, loving person who will forever remain in many hearts and minds. My only regret is not stopping by to see her. Thoughts and prayers to the family. Mr. Karolus you are still my favorite school counselor! You were always kind, caring and greeted us with open arms. My heart breaks for you and your family. The world has lost the best teacher but heaven has gained the best angel.

  5. Ed & Jan Hickey

    Katie and Mike, we are so sorry for your loss. Your mother and your family are in our prayers.

  6. Shelley Lozano ( Coulter)

    Mrs Karolus was a wonderful teacher she always had patience and a special way to make us each feel special. It was many many years ago that Wanda was my teacher but I still remember her as if it was yesterday. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and many people she has touched in her life. Rest In Peace Mrs Karolus❤️

  7. Gary Jaster

    So very sorry for the family's loss. A sweet nurturing,inspiring soul shall be missed.

  8. Jennifer (Littlejohn) Block

    I am so sorry to here hear of your loss. Wanda was such a great friend, teacher and client. I have always looked up to her as a role model since I was a kid. I loved talking with her. She will be missed dearly. Saying prayers for your family and friends.

  9. Lee Hopkins

    She was such a wonderful person and a great teacher who has left an impression on me that will stay with me So sorry for the loss.

  10. Rotman family

    Sending our deepest condolences. Wishing you the very best memories of Wanda and how she made such a positive impact on this world. Barry, Patricia, Serik & Sam Rotman

  11. Sue Dorrans

    John, Susan, & Katie. I am so sorry to hear of Wanda's passing. She was a special lady and will be missed.

  12. Deborah Fitzgerald

    We have so many find memories with John and Wanda! Spending time on the porch, going to a dance and of course there was the snow in the ditch. Of all of the memories we have I remember Wanda always having something kind to say about will be so missed.

  13. Karen Deverell

    I'm so sorry to hear of Wanda's passing. She was such a wonderful lady. Thoughts and prayers for your family and friends

  14. Helen Becker

    I always enjoyed our conversations when we met. Getting to know another Sheep Dog lover was great. May God surround your family with love, peace and strength at this time.

  15. Melodie Littlejohn

    I'm so sorry for your loss. It's hard to believe I've known this family for 40 years plus. Between school, neighbors and the girls I can say they created many fond memories. Wanda I bet Oliver was very excited to see you. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. Melodie Littlejohn Clark

  16. Sharon Hollingsworth

    Love ya girl. I will see you tomorrow so save me a good seat

  17. Don & Audrey Kaalaas

    Wanda was a great person..always a smile and such nice personality. Will sure miss seeing her.. cherish the memories.

  18. Meredith Patrick

    I was so sorry to hear about Wanda. She was such a good friend to my parents and I always enjoyed seeing her when I was in Kirkand My thoughts and prayers are with you at this sad time Meredith Patrick Halsne

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