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The news of artist, environmental activist, documentary film producer and philanthropist Susan Swartz.

In Tribute To Karen Glass Shah

It is with great sadness that I share the news of the passing of my family member, best friend and business manager, Karen Shah. Many of you who frequent my website or do work with my Studio knew her on a personal level, but there’s no doubt in my mind, even if you never spoke with her or met her, all who  share my art are in some way touched by Karen’s presence.

I’d like to leave a few  thoughts and memories of Karen on this terribly sad day. There is great comfort in remembering the beautiful, positive things about those who have graced our lives and moved on, often far sooner than we imagined possible, to rest with the Lord.

Karen’s love of life, her engaging flirtatious style, her startling beautiful red hair and her contagious laughter will be with us forever.  Without fail, Karen was a steadfast friend. This singular trait shone through in all of the roles she played; as a wife, a partner, a mother, a sister, a daughter, an employee, a supervisor, a neighbor or a confidant, Karen’s reliability, loyalty, sense of humor and kind heart were always evident.

What better quality exists in a friend than the ability to approach difficult situations with strength, humor and graciousness? Karen did not shy away from life or its challenges. She brought the full force of her abilities to bear when confronting adversity.  She personified the power of remaining positive, but more importantly perhaps, the power of remaining true to oneself when facing trying times.

Karen persisted in demonstrating for her family, friends, colleagues and even complete strangers, a constant compassion and kindness. Her tenacity was admirable.  She showed me, and I believe others too, that there is no shame in admitting we have weaknesses and flaws; our downfall comes when we stop believing we can be better tomorrow than we are today, despite our imperfections.

I take great comfort in Karen’s legacy to my family – that she believed tomorrow could be better than today; that we are not alone in facing down our greatest trials and that we can find strength within as well as with each other, and with God. I hope that everyone who had the pleasure of knowing Karen will take time to reflect on their own memories of her and will carry her with them in some way going forward. I am already missing her terribly.