Tara Lynnette Smith

June 11, 1998September 20, 2020
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Tara Lynnette Smith, 22, of Raymore, MO, made her final stage exit Sunday, September 20, 2020 at Belton Regional Hospital. She was born June 11, 1998, in Shawnee Mission, Kansas to Keith and Shanna Smith.

Tara grew up in Kansas City, MO with her parents and older brother Brandon. Tara attended the Center School District from Kindergarten at Red Bridge Elementary, through Center High School. While in elementary School, Tara discovered her love of dance at the age of 5. She went on to study jazz, tap, lyrical, modern and ballet, earning her pointe shoes at the age of 13. But she always especially loved tap. She had the joy of being part of several dance teams. Including Expressions and Jr Expressions at Academy Dance Studio and the Center High School Sapphires where she finished her SR year as one of the team’s co-captains.

While in middle school, Tara expanded her love of performance to include theatre while part of a musical production of Suessical Jr. The experience lead her to join the Players 58 high school theatre club. During her time at Center HS, Tara took on the challenges of actor, choreographer, set construction and director of her own original one act play. Along the way, she also discovered a love of Improv, and was part of her high school Improv team that performed locally.

Along with her extracurricular activities, Tara was an excellent student, graduating in the top 5% of her class, and serving as National Honor Society President in her senior year. Tara received a full 4 year Academic Scholarship to Buena Vista University (BVU) in Storm Lake, IA. At BVU Tara was a double major choosing Musical Theatre and Business and was a member of Alpha Psi Omega National Theatre Honor Society. She again took on the challenges of actor, choreographer, set construction and director to further expand her knowledge. She also continued to perform Improv while at BVU. To enhance her performance and vocal skills, Tara joined the BVU choir. The spring break choir tours were always a highlight of her year, as she enjoyed travel and seeing new places. This led to the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York and experience her first live Broadway play. Her goal was to open her own theatre school after pursuing her personal dream of acting, and share her talents and experience with the next generation.

Tara always enjoyed spending time with her family, especially large family dinners that would also include friends. Tara enjoyed games, and was very competitive. Most family gatherings usually included some type of board, card or video games, and Tara actually owned her own set of white dominoes with pink rhinestones.

Tara’s love was present in every gift she gave as it was usually something she created by hand or purchased from the heart and had special meaning. Tara brought joy to everyone she met, was always willing to lend a hand, listen to a friend and provide encouragement when needed. In true fashion, she chose to be an organ donor, and her final gift was helping up to 50 people with her donation. She will be loved and remembered by everyone she touched.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Tara's memory may be made to Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey Dance Company,

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Smith family.


  • Private Family Memorial Service - By invitation only

    Saturday, September 26, 2020



Tara Lynnette Smith

have a memory or condolence to add?

Sheri Britt

September 28, 2020

To Tara's Parents, I am so filled with saddness, my heart goes out to you, your daughter will be remembered as a beautiful sole inside and out . God be with you during your healing time. I will continue to pray for you and your family. God be with you.

Jenn Burnett

September 26, 2020

Smith Family,
I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet Tara. Even though I hadn’t seen her for a while, I’ll always remember her kind heart and gentle spirit. She was a friend to everyone. I loved seeing her and Brandon when they came back to visit us at Red Bridge. There were always so many smiles and hugs. Praying for you all. Peace be with you.
Jenn Burnett (RB Counselor)

Bridgette Villano

September 26, 2020

Even at a young age Tara was always unapolegetically herself. She alway had something whimsical and beautiful about her personality that I feel like a lot of people are missing. Her creativity was powerful. I hope I can move throughout the rest of life with a fraction of the freedom and kindness that I know Tara exuded every day. You will always be a light, my dear cousin. Love always.

Michele Villano

September 26, 2020

Lynn and Keith, I’m so sorry. I wish I had the chance to know Tara as the beautiful young adult she turned into. I still picture Lynn putting Taras hair in little pigtails. Please know our prayers are with your family right now.

Janet Tinsley

September 26, 2020

I will always remember Tara as a super-smart, super-talented bookworm. I remember that she would bring books to read on band trips, and she would sit next to Shawna and read in between performances. Tara was kind and gentle - one of the top Center High School students that made us all proud to be Yellowjackets. Tara, you are missed. The world is a lesser place without you. Deep condolences to Shawna, Keith, and Brandon. Our hearts are with you.

Jess Molton

September 26, 2020

David and I had the pleasure of being Tara's high school drama teachers for four years. She was a lovely and talented girl, with a heart of gold, and an excellent sense of humor. Tara worked hard and constantly gave of herself. She worked on every single Center production from her freshman through her senior year.

She shined in every show, but our favorite performances of
Tara's included the lead role of Mary Louise in MY THREE ANGELS, Willie in the one-act THIS PROPERTY IS CONDEMNED, Mrs. McCullem in the one-act A RINGING OF DOORBELLS, and as the principal dancer in ONCE ON THIS ISLAND.

Tara's work ethic, creativity, leadership, and grace under pressure earned her the honor of BEST THESPIAN her junior year of high school, when she performed in and choreographed all but two numbers of Center's production of SHREK THE MUSICAL. Tara's choreography was instrumental in the success of this beloved show. She was an excellent teacher, and the students loved working with her.

Apart from plays and musicals, Tara was also active in several clubs and wore many hats within the drama department. She was a member of the student-led CHS Improv Team, "The Cereal Killers," and she served all four years as a critic for the CHS Cappie Team. Tara was also an officer of Players 58, and her senior year she performed and won an award for her original poetry.

Tara was an accomplished and beautiful girl. Like her brother Brandon, she was always giving of herself, friendly, and willing to assist others. She only had positive things to say about people - never a negative word.

We are devastated by this loss. Our heartfelt condolences to her family. She will be deeply missed. -Jessica and David Molton

Emily White

September 25, 2020

There are many great descriptors for Tara -actress, singer, dancer, reader, enthusiastic, musical, kind, extra, and warm hearted to name only a few. The most important of these to me is she was a great roommate and even more so a great friend. She touched so many hearts in such a short amount of time. She always had her pink headphones with her. She sang loud and proud. Some of my favorite memories include, playing Humans versus Zombies, going to New York with the Choir, late night talks as we fell asleep, and musical karaoke. She would wear big fluffy skirts, scary makeup, and had a fan just because she wanted to. Cassandra Clare wrote a series of books starting with The Mortal Instruments. In these books is one of her favorite characters. I think this is how she would want me to say goodbye.
For you Magnus Bane.

Susie Pryor

September 25, 2020

I was deeply saddened to learn of Tara's passing. She was such a bright spot on the BVU campus. I will always remember her lovely smile, her bright pink headphones in the second row of my operations management class, and our conversastions about the virtues of Pop Tarts.

I will remember her with great affection.

Professor Pryor

Job Saunders

September 24, 2020

My condolences to the family members that lost a great member.

I'm not the best with words, especially with times like these, but I'll share my best memory of her. I was a college friend who was involved with our improve group Sawtooth every now and then, watched her perform on stage and play Humans versus Zombies. There was a time I went to the serve and accidentally sat next to her (I mistakened someone else with her) and proceed to sit down and have a conversation that whole time during lunch. We had a great time! I won't go into details about what we discussed but looking back, I'm very glad that I stayed.

Tara Smith was one of those goofy friends to have around that wasn't afraid to show her weird and funny side, and those are the kinds of friends to love and cherish in life. She will be greatly missed from me, the BVU community, and countless others.

Toi Willis Sampson

September 24, 2020

I am saddened to hear about the passing of your daughter Tara. It is my constant prayer that you and your family will receive comfort and peace knowing that her spirit blessed the lives of so many. May God continue to keep all of you and allow her sweet memories to serve as a reminder of the purest form of love. I love you both Keith and Shanna.
Toi Willis Sampson


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