Karen VanLaecken Brinker, 66, of Mitchell, SD, died Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at her home under hospice care in Mitchell. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Arrangements by Bittner Funeral Chapel.
Karen Marie VanLaecken-Brinker was born January 15, 1955 to Lawrence and Irena (Christian) VanLaecken at Sioux Valley Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD. She grew up in Letcher, SD with her brother Rodney. She attended Letcher High School, but graduated in Colorado. After high school, Karen attended both Dakota Wesleyan University and Augustana University for a year.
Karen met Rick Brinker, and became the mother of four children who she loved dearly. Rick and Karen were together for 37 years.
Karen loved country music; George Jones was her favorite. Every summer Karen could not wait to camp with her children and grandchildren, and visit her siblings in Texas.
Karen is survived by her husband, Rick; sons, James and John both of Mitchell; daughter, Laurie Briel of Mitchell; 13 grandchildren; brothers Bruce, Vince, and Howard of Texas; sister, Tammy of Texas; and multiple nieces and nephews.
She is preceded in death by her parents; step-daughter, Angela Finney; and brother, Rodney VanLaecken.