Karen Blackbird (Kortus)


Karen Marie Blackbird (Kortus), 64, of Brainerd, passed away peacefully on Feb. 12, 2023. A native of Maplewood, Karen was one of 10 children born to Donald and Gloria Kortus (deceased). Karen married John Blackbird in 1983, and the couple proudly celebrated 34 years of marriage at the time of John’s death in 2017.

Karen is survived by nine siblings, including Lee Ann (Larry) Mjolsness of Brainerd, who was her best friend and advocate. Lee Ann oversaw Karen’s care at Northern Lakes Senior Care, where Karen was an active and much-loved resident. Karen was an integral part of Lee Ann’s and Larry’s immediate family in Brainerd - Amelia Mjolsness, Rusty Mueller and daughter Avery, and Alesha and Jessie Bates and children Lewis and Lenna -and in Roseville, Eric and Molly Mjolsness and daughters Lucy and Emmie.

She is also survived step-sons Joe (Susan) Blackbird and Jim (Becky) Blackbird and grandchildren Michael, Casey and Chase. Karen was adored and loved by her siblings and many nieces and nephews.

Karen and John moved to Mora in 1999, where they operated Blue Moon Kennels and bred and trained Labrador Retrievers, and competed in AKC Retriever Hunt Tests.

Karen was a Registered Nurse who bravely faced and conquered many challenges, including breast cancer, John’s sudden death and her diagnosis in 2015 of Posterior Cortical Atrophy, a rare form of dementia. Karen was especially proud to be 19 years sober through the support of the Brunswick Chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous in Mora.

Karen loved “airing” her dogs, hunting, gardening, nature, spending winters in Thomasville, GA and traveling with John on their Harley Davidson adventures. She was a longtime member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Mora, MN, and attended weekly Mass at Northern Lakes Senior Care.

Donations are preferred to St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 201 Forest Ave. E., Mora MN 55051; or the H.A.R.T (Heartland Animal Rescue Team), 15494 Dellwood Dr., Brainerd, MN 56401 Arrangements have been entrusted to Brenny Family Funeral Chapel in Baxter, MN (

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