Mark Fonstad writes: I thought the readers of should be aware of the passing of my mother, Karen Wynn Fonstad. Karen was a big reader of the website and was greatly pleased by fans’ reactions to her work on the Atlas and other things. Thanks.


Karen Lea Wynn Fonstad, age 59, of Oshkosh, Wisconsin died March 11, 2005 of complications from breast cancer. She was born April 18, 1945 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the daughter of James and Estis Wynn. She graduated from Norman High School, Norman, Oklahoma. She earned a B.S. degree in Physical Therapy and an M.A. in Geography, specializing in cartography, from The University of Oklahoma. While attending OU she met and married Todd A. Fonstad of Oshkosh on March 21, 1970. They have two children: Dr. Mark A. Fonstad, San Marcos, Texas and Kristina Stingle, Sussex, Wisconsin.

Karen was a freelance cartographer, part-time lecturer at The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, and an invited speaker for many events. She was the author and illustrator of The Atlas of Middle-earth, The Atlas of Pern, The Atlas of the Land, The Atlas of the Dragonlance World and The Forgotten Realms Atlas. Karen helped develop Eowyn Challenge-Worldwide Walk to Rivendell and Beyond where over 800 people have logged 200,000 miles in the past two years.

She has been listed in: Who’s Who of American Women, Who’s Who in the Midwest, and World Who’s Who of Women.

Karen was active in the Oshkosh community. She served on the Oshkosh City Plan Commission for twenty-four years and as a member of the Oshkosh Common Council. Some of her other civic participation included: Grand Opera House Board of Directors, Hotel/Convention Center and Mass Transportation Center Development Committees, Oshkosh Commercial Development Corporation, Business Improvement Council Board of Directors, and the Downtown Oshkosh Committee.

At various times Karen had served in the Oshkosh Symphony League, Camp Fire and Cub Scout programs, and in the UW-Oshkosh Faculty Dames where she held the offices of president and secretary.

Karen had been an active member of Algoma Boulevard United Methodist Church since 1974. She was the unofficial curator of The Nativity Collection housed at the church. She was largely responsible for designing and coordinating the cabinet construction, displaying, promoting, and maintaining the 1000 sets of the collection. She helped plan the Centennial Center Building Addition, was Director of Program Ministries for two years and webmaster for seven years. She served on many committees, participated in church mission projects and was a Certified Lay Speaker.

Karen is survived by her husband, Todd; her son, Mark; her daughter, Kristina (Chad) Stingle; two sisters, Peggy (Jerry) Rhoton and Marsa (Derald) Crissup of Norman, Oklahoma; and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and two brothers.

A memorial service will be held at Algoma Boulevard United Methodist Church* on Tuesday, March 15 at 6:00 p.m. with Reverend Barry Yarbro officiating. Visitations will be held on Monday, March 14 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the church and on Tuesday from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. prior to the service. Burial will be at Forest Cemetery in Stevens Point at a later date.

Karen loved flowers but contributions may also be made to the ABUMC Centennial Center debt retirement or to a memorial in Karen’s name for breast cancer research.

130 Church Avenue
Oshkosh, WI 54902

*A map of ABUMC (created by Karen) is located here.