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Karen Anne Sweet

May 20, 1940 - March 7, 2016

Burial Date March 11, 2016

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Gentle woman, quiet light,
morning star, so strong and bright,
gentle Mother, peaceful dove,
teach us wisdom; teach us love.

Karen Anne Sweet (nee Gallagher) of Apple Valley, passed away suddenly on March 7, 2016. Karen was born in Waukon, Iowa on May 20, 1940. The youngest of nine, Karen was the only one of her siblings born in a hospital. Upon graduation from Waukon High School in 1958, Karen became a novice with the Presentation Sisters of the Beloved Virgin Mary (PBVM). After taking her final vows, she became known as Sr. Judith Gallagher. She graduated from Clarke College with a degree in English and went on to complete her Master’s degree. As a nun, she taught grade school and served as principal of St. Odilia’s in Shoreview, MN.
Karen left the convent in 1970 at which time she began teaching at (Totino) Grace High School in Fridley, Minnesota. She married Harold (Hal) Sweet in 1971. She became the proud mother of his children, Rob, Julia and Anne and joined them in their home in Golden Valley, Minnesota. In 1974, Karen and Hal welcomed Leah to their family.

Karen taught at Totino Grace for 34 years in the English Department. Teaching was her passion and her calling. She loved and respected her students, colleagues, family and friends and they loved and respected her. She received the Minnesota Business Foundation Excellence in Education Award in 1983, and Outstanding Catholic School Teacher Award in 1995.
Mom’s passion for literature and art was infectious and inspiring. She frequently assigned books to all of us even years after retirement. She loved hosting family dinners, never missed dessert and enjoyed frequenting the Guthrie, art museums and Byerly’s. A lover of animals, she enjoyed her many pets throughout the years. She was proud of her children and her grandchildren. In recent history, she traveled to Caltech to witness the Mars Rover (Curiosity) landing with her son Rob, who is part of the Mars Science Laboratory Team.

In 2004, Karen retired formally as a teacher allowing her to spend more time with her longtime partner, Dick Sweet, several pets, family and friends. Karen is preceded in death by husband, Harold (1989); partner, Richard (2012); siblings, Dorothy Deeny, Thomas, Vernon and Fr. Maurice Gallagher. Karen is survived by children, Robert (Linda), Julia (Bill Duffy), Anne (Wayne Huls) and Leah (Todd) Sweet Slicker; grandchildren, Joseph, Jeremy (Monica) and Joshua Rhodes, Timothy and Gregory, Dylan and Guthrie Slicker, and Austen Huls; great-granddaughter, Sophia Rhodes; siblings, Joseph Gallagher, Idella Bresnahan, Donald and Robert Gallagher, and many nieces, nephews and friends.
Mom inspired all of us to act with justice, practice mercy and walk humbly in our faith. She taught us to appreciate literature, art and to find beauty everywhere. Most importantly, she taught us to find the good in everyone and to practice kindness with each other. She will be dearly missed by all who knew her.

Visitation 5-8PM, Thursday, March 10th at Henry W. Anderson Mortuary, 14850 Garrett Ave., Apple Valley and also 1 hour prior to the service at church on Friday. Mass of Christian Burial 2PM, Friday, March 11th at Incarnation Catholic Church, 3817 Pleasant Ave., Mpls. Private Interment Ft. Snelling National Cemetery. Memorials preferred to El Centro de Los Pobres, Sacred Heart Church, 214 E Highway 50, Avondale, CO, 81022, Totino Grace High School ( or the charity that most inspires you.

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