John ‘Jack’ Karthaus, 85

Published 10:43 am Thursday, October 13, 2016

John ‘Jack’ Karthaus, 85

John ‘Jack’ Karthaus, 85

John “Jack” Karthaus, 85, passed away on Oct. 10, 2016, at Mayo Medical Center in Austin, Minnesota, surrounded by his family.

Born in Humphrey, Nebraska, on July 21, 1931, to Clara Gertrude and Everett Jacob Karthaus. He attended St Francis High School in Humphrey where he participated in many sports, but excelled in basketball. He graduated with distinction. Following high school, he enrolled in the Army Air Corps, the precursor to the U.S. Air Force and was sent to Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio Texas for basic training. He served in the Signal Corps as a radio operator assigned to a remote outpost in the Aleutian Islands during the Korean War. Following his assignment to Alaska, Jack returned to San Antonio where he met the love of his life, Janet Blonigan, who had also enlisted in the Air Corps and was serving as a dental hygienist. Jack and Janet were married on Nov. 21, 1952, in San Antonio Texas.

Using skills obtained in the Air Force, the newly married Jack became a railroad telegrapher, for two years, based out of Humphrey Nebraska. With the demand for telegraphers beginning to wane, Jack moved his wife Janet and daughter Susan from Humphrey to Webster City Iowa where enrolled in Linotype school. During this time Jack and Janet had their second child, Debra. Jack soon excelled at the Linotype, a high demand and highly demanding occupation and received offers from many local newspapers. Jack accepted an offer from Geraldine Rasmussen of the Austin Daily Herald, joined the ITU (International Typographers Union), and embarked on a 36-year career. Although trained as a hot metal printer, he helped transition the newspaper to cold-type. Through additional training from Austin Vo-Tech, he soon became the resident computer expert at the Herald until his retirement.

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An avid gardener who indulged his wife’s passion for tomatoes by planting as many as 106 tomato plants in a single season. Finding supply exceeding demand, he would send his children door to door — not to sell — but to give away the delicious, vine ripened, Beefsteak tomatoes.

Jack and Janet made Austin their home, raised their daughters, and also two sons, John Jr. and Christopher. They became active parishioners at St Augustine’s church, enjoyed dancing at the American Legion Hall, volunteering, golfing, traveling, and entertaining friends and family.

Survivors include his wife of 64 years, Janet Julia Karthaus; daughters, Susan (Tom) Nystrom, Debra (Dan) Kahnke, son John (Caroline) Karthaus, Jr; eight grandchildren, Angela (Paul) Bernier, Brigitte DeBell, Jeffery (Christine) Kahnke, Kirsten Nystrom, Ryan Kahnke, Alex (Miranda) Kahnke, Breanna Kahnke, Eleanor Karthaus; nine great-grandchildren, Christopher, Rayne, Emily, Lexi, Aubrey, Molly, Rozalyn, Jack, and Adam; sister, Effie Lou McNamara; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Preceded in death by his parents, son Christopher; granddaughter, Christine; and sisters, Bernadette Osborne and Kathleen Zavadil.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated at noon on Friday, Oct. 14, 2016, at St. Augustine Catholic Church with Father Jim Steffes officiating. Friends may call one hour before the service at the church on Friday. Interment will be in Calvary Cemetery with military rites by American Legion Post No. 91.

Memorials are preferred to the Alzheimer’s Foundation.

Arrangements by Mayer Funeral Home. Condolences may be left at