Karen Elizabeth Ashford, Born to Ethel Lee Taylor and King Ashford was destined to be a gifted child of education. From her start at Edmond S. Meany middle school to her Selection to begin an Upward Bound residential college program at Reed college in Oregon during her high school years at Garfield High School in Seattle. Karen, attended the University of Oregon. She was one of the University of Oregon’s first Black Cheerleaders. She received her Bachelors in English and a Masters in Education with a focus on English literature. While working on her masters, Karen also taught English and writing classes for Upward Bound at the university. She was an avid reader and writer with excellent editing skills. Karen’s desire was to teach in
schools like her alma mater Garfield High School in Seattle, Washington. As a school teacher she was often placed in schools with few students of color and she found that frustrating and
eventually found a home in the Tacoma School District working at an alternative high school.
Karen loved her students and often spent her own money to give her students opportunities to attend artistic events, listen to lectures from community leaders or use their own writing skills at school performances. One of her crowning moments was taking a group of her students on a field trips to Washington D.C. Karen received many offers to travel for her dance abilities and she loved to create her own patterns and sew as remembered by most who knew her at the university. Karen also had a gigantic love for animals, which became a huge part of her reason for living. Karen will be missed by friends, students and many, who considered her to be a life long friend.