My name is Karen Ann Spriggs Quass and I live in St Paul, MN. I was born in South Dakota. On my father’s side, his dad was English and his mother was from Norway and on my mother’s both parents were from Norway, which means I’m three fourths Norwegian. Being raised in a Norwegian Lutheran home, I learned early on to make traditional Norwegian food and as a loving daughter, I would prepare lutefisk and lefsa for my widowed father at Christmas time.
Following after his father, my father farmed in SD, but my mother’s health required us to live in a warmer climate, and she chose Riverside, California, where I spent my youth. My father would leave in the spring and come back in the fall. Depending upon her health, sometimes we would join him for the summer. I remember those summers on the farm with my mother and father and brother (Spencer) and sister (Donna). We did not have running water or a bathroom in the house, we carried in pails of water from the well. The water was "artesian" water or well water and had a very distinctive taste. There was an "outhouse" and a big tub for taking a bath in the enclosed back porch. In the early years, there was no refrigerator - just a bucket that my mother would lower into the trapdoor in the floor which went into a crawl space in the ground - where it was cool. The bucket contained our milk, eggs, butter, etc. In later years, we got a refrigerator and even a pump to pump water into the house. We also had a wood burning stove for cooking, in which we usually burned corncobs, sometimes coal.
My mother developed cancer in her 50s and had several operations. Upon my graduation from High School, she sent me to St. Olaf College in Minnesota to get a husband and become a schoolteacher. Despite her death during my freshman year, I was a dutiful daughter and I met my eternal companion, Donald Quass, my first week there and I majored in English Education. The summers during my college years were spent in South Dakota on the farm with my Dad. He had moved back to the farm to live. I had a horse and spent my summers reading and riding.
Upon graduating, we were married (best decision I ever made) and moved to Chicago where I taught 1st grade and Don worked for Swift and Company. There he met a co-worker, who we came to find out was a lay Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints. After several months of discussions, we joined the LDS church. We had prayed about the restoration and the Book of Mormon and we knew what we had to do. Like Paul, I felt that the Lord had brought us to this point. The Lord had shown us His “tender mercies”.
We lived in Chicago for 2 years and then went to Madison, Wisconsin, where Don earned his PhD degree at the University of Wisconsin.
We moved back to Chicago (Downers Grove) and lived there for 7 years, before moving to Minnesota (Dawson), where we lived for 6 years, and then moved to St Paul for 9 years, and then moved to Wisconsin (Fond du Lac) for 5 years. During those years, we raised our family and served in PTA positions and in other ways were very active in school and community. We finally returned to St Paul in 1995, which we call home.
We have five children, two sons, three daughters, and twenty-five grandchildren. Our youngest daughter stayed in MN to raise her family and take care of her aging parents, who are now (2006-7) serving a mission for the church in Salt Lake City. Although our other four children were all raised in the midwest and lived from coast to coast, they have now settled in Utah. Serving a mission here in Utah allows us to see some of them more often.
The privilege of serving in the Chicago Temple and in the St. Paul, MN Temple quickened my desire to provide sacred blessings for those who have paved our way.
I love searching for my ancestors and finding information about their lives and who they were and what they did.
My List of Surnames