Karen Gowin

Alton | Friday, October 14 2022 |

Karen Leigh (Kreski) Gowin left this world behind her on Friday, October 14, 2022, surrounded by the people that loved her most. Karen was the only child born to parents Evelyn (Hayes) German & John Kreski on October 10, 1956, in Springfield, IL. She grew up in Hillsboro & Gillespie but ended up in Alton, IL where she would go on to thrive & live her life. She graduated from Marquette Catholic High School in 1974 but her calling didn’t come to her until a bit later. She put herself through nursing school and graduated from Lewis & Clark Community College in 1993 as a Registered Nurse. After working at the bedside for a few years, she fell in love with home health nursing. Her independent spirit and appetite for variety made for a perfect fit. She worked as a home health nurse for many years, mostly with Visiting Nurses Association. She loved her patients, fellow nurses, and the freedom her job provided. Unfortunately, life had different plans for her, and threw her curveball after curveball in the health department which she became quite good at hitting.

Through all her health struggles over the years, Karen persisted and overcame them. She excelled at not holding back her opinion, laughing at jokes, and telling it like it is. She always told you the truth even if it wasn’t what you wanted to hear. She was an avid reader, mostly of the thriller, historic true crime, and Stephen King's nature. She was known for her flourishing garden where she loved to spend her summers in the sun. Travel was also something she enjoyed, especially to the Grand Cayman Islands in the Caribbean. She was an excellent cook; famous for her mashed potatoes, brownies & meatloaf. She had a passion for going to new restaurants, wineries, & concerts. She cheered on the Cardinals but hockey was her sport and the Blues were her team and even if they were losing-she still cheered them on. She also was good at giving her son-in-law Mike a hard time about being a Blackhawks fan. But most of all, she had a passion for being with her friends & family whom she loved with all her heart. Karen was an only child but was raised with her “aunt” Laura, who was the closest thing she had to a sister. She was so proud of her three “nieces” Emily, Sarah, & Rachel, and cherished her time with their children, Jack, Anna & Maggie. On top of everything, Karen had a very special and close relationship with her only daughter, Aimee. She was tough, smart, witty, fun, and strong and because of this, Aimee will forever be a better person. (She also loved her grand-dogs no matter how many times they jumped on her). 

Her spirit and fight will be carried on by her mother Evelyn, her daughter Aimee & son-in-law Mike along with countless other friends & family members. She was joined in heaven with her father John, her grandparents, aunts & uncles, other friends, and her pets Shelton & Moe. Karen was the life of the party and in her honor, a celebration of life will be held on Saturday, Nov. 12th from 4-7 pm at Laux Brick Hall in Bethalto. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Hope Animal Rescues or Paralyzed Veterans of America. Elias, Kallal & Schaaf Funeral Home of Bethalto will oversee arrangements. Online condolences and guestbook may be found at

Obit Provided By:
Elias, Kallal & Schaaf Funeral Home

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