Akkerman-Ingebrand • Mora, MN

Rock-Ingebrand • Braham, MN

Mora, MN • 320-679-1933

Braham, MN • 320-396-2121


j-karpen-webphoto.jpgJoseph Karpen, of Milaca, died on September 12, 2008 at the Mille Lacs Medical Center in Onamia. He was 70 years old.

FUNERAL SERVICE will be at 2 P.M. on Wednesday, Sept. 17. at First Presbyterian Church in Mora, with Rev. Harry Nelson officiating. VISITATION will be on Tuesday, from 5-8 pm. at Akkerman-Ingebrand Funeral Home in Mora and 1 hr. prior to service at the church. INTERMENT will be in Oakwood Cemetery in Mora. The family prefers memorials in lieu of flowers.

Joseph Nicholas Karpen of Milaca formerly of Isle, passed away at his home on September 12, 2008. He was 70 years old.

Joe was born January 12, 1938 in Hinckley to Nick and Eilene (Parries) Karpen.

Joe met Martha Benson in January 1955 at Ann Lake and they married on November 3, 1956 in Ogilvie. To this union seven children were born.

Joe and Marty lived in Rochester before moving to Blaine where they lived from 1958 – November 1979. In November 1979 they purchased Karpen’s Sunset Bay Resort on Lake Mille Lacs. Joe and Marty ran the resort until 2004 when they sold it and moved to Milaca.

Joe was a member of the National Guard. He worked in construction as a cement mason and was a member of Cement Mason’s Local 633 for 50 years.

Joe was an active member of AA for 45 years and PERM (Proper Economic Resource Management) and MERF (Mille Lacs Equal Rights Foundation) for several years. His hobbies included hunting, fishing, trapshooting and working outdoors.

He was always ready and willing to help family and friends.

Joe was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather He will be truly missed by all who knew him and loved him.

He was preceded in death by his parents, infant son, Timothy; daughter Debbie and brother Merlin.

Joe is survived by his wife Marty, children Michael (Francie) of Maple Grove, Julie (Rich) of Chaska, Kevin (Debbie) of St. Cloud,, Keith of Isle, and Ross of Stanchfield,; sisters Patty of Troy, MT; Shirley Benson of Hinckley; brother Ray (Linda) of Coon Rapids; 25 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren.


  1. Joe Karpen was a very strong influential guy in my life. From being a hard, honest worker, to the great times my family and I shared while having our fish house at his resort. He helped out many and not just by providing a great place to stay and fish. His P.E.R.M. dedication helped the lake immensely and his open willingness to help others that where down on their luck.

    He will be greatly missed.

    Prayers and condolences go out to Marty, the boys and the other extended family I have had the privilege of knowing and meeting from those great years at Karpons Resort.

    Thanks Joe.

  2. Joe was the greastest friend a man could have. He was always there whenever my grandpa, Howard Thurber, needed him. I greatly appreciate everything Joe did. He was a great man. Thanks Joe

  3. Mighty Mille Lacs has lost it’s mightiest advocate. Joe was our coach and quarterback, always leading the way to insure the Mille Lacs economy and fishery was second to none.

    Joe’s grand-kids were his pride and joy. Passing on his fishing heritage to the grand-kids was very special to Joe. He was never happier than when those kids were winding in walleyes. Kids–proudly remember your grandpa! And keep catching those walleyes for him!

    Joe–thanks for the memories and especially for all the unprecedented effort on behalf of Mighty Mille Lacs.

    Steve Fellegy
    North Shore of Mille Lacs

  4. I grew up with Karpens Resort and have greatly missed their presence. Mille Lacs will never be the same with Joe’s passing. My greatest sympathies to the family. May the Peace of the Lord be with you all.

  5. It is a sad day today as I retrieved my voice mail and heard my friend tell me the terrible news that our friend Joe Karpen had passed away on Friday.

    The news forced me to pull over from the highway and have a moment. I was stunned, to say the least.

    I just picked Joe up at his house and had breakfast with him about a week ago. He showed me his new shop that he just finished and all his new toys. He was very proud, as he always is. Joe and I spent the morning just catching up with each other and came up and spent the rest of the morning with me on the Rum River property going over the project. In fact, Joe wanted to do some of our concrete work on the project.

    Joe Karpen, taught me everything about the Mille Lacs ice business and what to do in certain circumstances with the roads on the ice when I was running Appeldoorn’s (Formerly Karpen’s Sunset Bay Resort). He was always ready and willing to lend a hand or give me advice at anytime. Although Joe was not exactly happy with the new direction the resort was going, and regardless of what the conditions were at that time. Joe was always there for me when I was running the resort and asked for his help. And for that I am forever thankful to Joe.

    In fact, I know to be exact that Joe was still helping out at the resort up to the day he passed. The resort was his life and so was Lake Mille Lacs.

    He was one of the toughest but gentle guys Ill ever know in my lifetime. Joe Karpen, would literally give you the shirt off his back if he thought you truly needed it. He had a heart bigger than anyone I have come across in my life. He was truly a gift given to all of us.

    He was not a good man. He was a great man. He always fought for what he believe to be the right thing to do. I know that I will miss him dearly as will many others, that had the privilege to have know Mr. Joe Karpen.

    To Joe’s family, I am so sorry that I was out of town and missed his services. My thoughts and prayers are with Joe’s family.

    I am very proud to say I knew Mr. Joe Karpen. God rest his sole.

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