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Welcome to the memorial page for

Charles "Charlie" R. Karau

June 13, 1941 ~ June 26, 2017 (age 76)

Charles “Charlie” R. Karau, 76, of Rochester, passed away on Monday, June 26, 2017 at his residence in Rochester.

Charles Ramon Karau was born June 13, 1941 in Rochester to Raymond and Constance (Siem) Karau. He graduated from John Marshall High School in 1959 and from Winona State College, receiving his Master’s Degree in Education.

Charlie served in the United States Marine Corps from 1962 to 1965 as a Cpl. E4 in Communications and was a sharpshooter and then in the Marine Corps Reserves 1965 to 1968. In 1966, he married Bonnie Peck and to this marriage three sons Eric, Wayne, and Stephen, were born. They later divorced. On October 20, 1990, he married Denise Wilkes.

Charlie began teaching at Central Junior High School in Rochester and also taught at Willow Creek Middle School in Rochester. He retired from Friedell Middle School in June of 2000.

He enjoyed kart racing for fifty years and was one of the oldest active racers in the Midwest Karting Association. Charlie also enjoyed oil painting, crossword puzzles, traveling, history, writing, and poetry.

He is survived by his wife, Denise of Rochester; sons, Eric Karau, Wayne Karau, and Stephen Karau, all of Rochester; daughter Jennifer Vogel of Minneapolis; brother, Don (Shirley) Karau of Wabasha; brothers-in-law Jim Bidsler of Chatfield and James Wilkes of Janesville; sisters-in-law Pamela (Charles) Hunt of Blue Earth and Wendy (Greg) Grover of Fountain; stepmother-in-law Lois Wilkes of Rochester; aunt Dorothy Hardtke of Rochester; nieces and nephews; and grand-dog Erasmus “Razzy.” He was preceded in death by his parents; father-in-law and mother-in-law Dean and Lavonne Wilkes and sister JoAnn Bidsler.

Memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, June 30, 2017 at Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Homes Chapel. Visitation will be Thursday, June 29, 2017 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Homes and one hour prior to the service on Friday at the funeral home. Memorials may be designated to ASPCA, Toys for Tots, Smile Train or Special Olympics.

To share a special memory or condolence please visit

Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Homes, 5421 Royal Place NW, Rochester, MN 55901


 Service Information

June 29, 2017

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Homes
5421 Royal Place NW
Rochester, Minnesota 55901

Memorial Service
June 30, 2017

2:00 PM
Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Homes
5421 Royal Place NW
Rochester, Minnesota 55901

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