Cover photo for Karen E Buckley's Obituary
Karen E Buckley Profile Photo

Karen E Buckley

March 25, 1951 — September 19, 2022

Dr. Karen Ellen Buckley was born March 25, 1951 to parents Elizabeth Ann Grabarek and Laurence William Jagnow. She spent the first 18 years of her life in LaGrange, IL. She attended St. Cletus School and Nazareth Academy High School for girls where the nuns told her she wasn't college material. She took this as a challenge and proceeded to get her PhD in Modern British Literature. She was a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where she taught English Literature and Philosophy of Aesthetics, both challenging and entertaining her students.

Her journey took her to Southern Illinois where she owned Anna Books and Records, homesteaded a small piece of land and met her beloved husband of 36 years, George. They moved to Fond du Lac, WI (which no one really remembers) before relocating to Greenbush, WI, population of about five (Karen was never really much of a city girl). She taught briefly in a correctional facility while pregnant with her first child, Emma, and where two inmates fought over which one was the father (really, we could not make this up).

After Emma was born, Karen and George moved to Ixonia, WI (population: 5 and a half) and bought an old mink processing plant which they renovated into a lovely and wonderfully warm home. This is where they welcomed their second child, Matthew, three years later. Karen loved being a mom more than anything. She was very active in the PTA and local environmental causes—she was always a woman on a mission.

In 2002, the family moved to Hartland, WI in the middle of the winter (of course) where Karen found her dream house with an in-ground pool. Swimming was her passion and she loved having summer parties with friends and family. Karen was a Master Gardener and filled the yard around the pool with beautiful gardens. She loved feeding and watching the birds and routinely cursed the dog for digging up her gardens.

Karen loved to write poetry and short stories (no Oxford commas please!). She wrote wonderful stories about her time at Anna Books and Records, as well as beautiful poetry about mothers and motherhood, some of which were published in the journal Mothers Always Write. She read voraciously, pulling books from the many, many bookcases throughout her home. She gave books away to all and sundry, sharing her joy of reading.

Karen was active in her local Democratic Party, marching in parades and helping advance social agendas. It was always easy to find her car in the parking lot because you only had to search for the one covered in bumper stickers. But Karen didn't just talk it, she lived it. If one of her children's friends needed a place to stay, she had a room ready. If someone came by with a stray cat, it found a home. She generously donated to many charities including Heifer International, Sojourner Family Peace Center and FolkSoul Farm. You could never compliment Karen on anything in her home without her offering to give it to you. People have been known to leave Karen's house with such items as rugs, bowls and the (stylish) shirt off her back.

Karen is survived by her husband George, her son Matthew Buckley, her daughter Emma (Zachary) Schauer, three grandchildren Guinnevere, Crosby and Liam Schauer, brothers Jeffrey (Lisa) and James (Kym) Jagnow and sister Kristine (Max) Jagnow. Anyone wishing to honor her is welcome to make a donation in her name to Sojourner Family Peace Center ( A celebration of her life will be held in late October. For more information, please contact Kristine Jagnow at

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