Karen Tashira Smith, (middle name lovingly given to her by her niece Adrienne) was born in Baltimore, MD on November 22, 1949, to James E. Smith and Ruth A. Moye (Williams).
Karen was educated in the Baltimore City School System and due to her vison impairment, attended the Baer School until high school. She was a graduate from Carver Vocational Technical High School majoring in Culinary Arts. She later received her AA Degree from Catonsville Community College in Business Administration.
At an early age, Karen gave her life to Christ and as a member of Evergreen A.M.E. Church, she was a dedicated servant. She could be found serving on the culinary committee with Aunt Joan and various other members of the family. After Sunday service or at a repast she would be slicing cakes and pies for the sweet table or frying chicken. She loved to sing and was also a member of the choir.
Karen was employed by Blind Industry and Services of Maryland (BISM) as an Administrative Assistant for over 20 years before she retired. Karen’s language of love was “Acts of Service.” And over the years, she showed her love volunteering at various BISM events. She was a fixture at the Baltimore Running Festival (Baltimore marathon) and the Baltimore Ten Miler. She supported the BISM team by distributing water, t-shirts and after race replenishment snacks. She would assist other charities around town by volunteering at food and coat drives. She was most excited for the annual cookout on “The Hill,” where she would prepare dishes and help where needed. She was always being extremely generous with her time and charitable efforts.
Karen always had a thirst for knowledge and did not let her vision impairment stop her from reading large print publications and listening to a ton of books on tape. After retirement, she would take various classes at the Keswick Wise and Well Center with her cousin Jeanie who she affectionately called Castleberry. They became each other’s accountability partner for eating healthy and reading labels while grocery shopping. Karen loved watching old movies and TV shows. Her absolute favorite movie was “It’s a Wonderful Life” and as her sister Brenda stated, “every time a bell rings, and angel gets his wings.” Her favorite singer was Aretha Franklin, but she cleaned her house to Johnny Mathis. She loved to walk and genuinely enjoyed traveling with her favorite traveling companion her sister Vicki. Her philosophy was to take a tour every place she visited to immerse herself in the culture. Karen enjoyed cooking for her family and spending quality time with them. She preferred a home cooked meal over going to a restaurant. She wanted each meal to be prepared with love. Before she transitioned, she loved the meals prepared by Jeane Morehead (Tonia’s mother). If she knew the meal was from Jeane she would eat without hesitation.
Karen was preceded in death by her parents James E. Smith and Ruth A. Moye, her brother Warren Smith and sister Cecilia Moye. Karen leaves her legacy of love and care to her family; her only son, James L. Lott Jr., and daughter-in-law Tonia Lott; Aunt Shirley Johnson; Sisters Valerie (Vicki) Smith, Linda Cash and Brenda Tilghman; brother Edwin Moye; three grandchildrenDajuan, Jamea and McKenzie and several grandkids and great grandkids by marriage; nieces Tina, Adrienne, Lynette, Tasha; nephews Michael, Milton, Anthony, Jason, Hassan, Terry; special cousins Mildred Savage, Joyce Taylor, Gloria Balou and Margaret Batson; grand-dog Leila
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