The memorial service for Karen will be held Saturday, July 14th at 2pm at the Forest Park Funeral home and cemetery, The Woodlands, TX

Karen Elizabeth Smith

October 17, 1944July 1, 2018
Play Tribute Movie Play Tribute Movie

Your life was a blessing, Your memory a treasure… You are loved beyond words, And missed beyond measure. Karen Elizabeth Smith, 73, of Houston, TX passed away on July 1, 2018 in Lakewood, CO. Karen went to visit her daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren on December 22, 2017 for the holidays. For the next six months, she suffered through a debilitating illness, tests, scans, doctor visits and medications. Though she fought hard, Karen was never cleared to travel back to her home in Texas. Karen was born in Baltimore, Maryland to loving parents Janet Elizabeth Nourse Barnes and Ashton Harry Barnes on October 17, 1944. As a child, she and her sisters traveled the United States and its then territory Hawaii as the daughters of their U.S. Coast Guard Captain father. Karen graduated in 1966 from Perry Normal School (which was later absorbed by Curry College, MA). Karen met John Lloyd Smith III while waitressing at the Bubbling Brook Restaurant in Westwood, MA in the summer of 1965. They were married on August 3, 1968 in Walpole, MA. Karen worked as a teacher for many years in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Texas. She had a true gift for teaching and nurturing young children - especially those who needed some extra help. She loved her grandchildren as much as any Grammie could. Her love of life and learning spread over to all children, family and friends. Karen loved the beach, gardening, playing Scrabble and Trivia, listening to Elvis, dancing, The Houston Texans (especially J.J. Watt), chocolate, and cooking for others. Karen is preceded in death by her parents Janet and Ashton Barnes, her husband John Lloyd Smith III, and her sister Barbara Krug. Karen is survived by her son J. Michael Smith and his wife Benoite (Nouvellon) Smith; daughter Kristin and her husband David; grandchildren, Caleb, Elise and Sophia Doles. She is also survived by her sister Priscilla Johnsen; Brothers-in-law Dana Johnsen and Larry Krug; Sister-in-law Connie Ostis; her wonderful nieces and nephews along with their children, and many special friends. A funeral service and reception is scheduled for 2:00pm, Saturday, July 14, 2018 at Forest Park The Woodlands Funeral Home, 18000 Interstate 45 S, The Woodlands, TX 77384. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Karen’s life. If sending flowers, please choose colorful flowers as Karen’s personality always was…or, in lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Charity of your choosing in Karen’s name. Thank you. People unable to attend or those attending who would like to share their thoughts and/or stories can do so on the dignitymemorial.com website. Simply type Karen Elizabeth Smith in the search bar under Obituary. These will later be turned in to a Memory Book.


  • Memorial Service Saturday, July 14, 2018
  • Reception Following Service Saturday, July 14, 2018

Karen Elizabeth Smith

have a memory or condolence to add?

Caren Van Pelt

July 19, 2018

I was deeply saddened to hear of Karen's passing. I have many fond memories of growing up across the street from the Barnes family in Massachusetts. Janet, Harry, Priscilla, Karen and Barb were all special, dear people. Karen used to walk to the bus stop with me when I was in junior high and she was in high school and I remember her early days of dating Spike. She was always outgoing and great fun. Although I last saw her many years ago, she, and the rest of her family, will always occupy a very special place in my heart. My sympathy goes out to her family and many close friends.

Judy Shindler

July 14, 2018

I am so sorry that I cannot attend today's memorial service for Karen. I send my heartfelt sympathy to her family and friends. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. I enjoyed working with Karen at Townewest Elementary for many years. She was the most warm and caring person on our staff. She loved her students and they loved her also. Her calming voice and warm hugs could solve anyone's problem. Whenever our paths crossed in the building, she always had an uplifting thing to say. You will be missed Karen! I will hold your memory in my heart. May our Lord wrap his loving arms around you and give you peace and comfort.

Miriam Beck

July 14, 2018

I am so saddened to hear that we lost an amazing and wonderful woman, Karen Elizabeth Smith. You will be missed by so many. Me personally, I will miss our long talks and the many things that we shared; for example, Rumple (your cat), I was his sitter until he passed. I will treasure you my friend and I pray that you continue to watch over your children and grandchildren from above , and that I one day I might have the privilege of seeing you again. Until then, rest peacefully sweet lady.

Marie Davis

July 13, 2018

I have such great memories of Karen and want to share my deepest prayers and thoughts with her family. I loved going to work and talking with her about her grandchildren, my children, work, and Massachusetts. She was caring and kind in every way. No matter if I was having a rough day or the greatest of days, she was always there to talk to and we had great conversations. She was an excellent listener and always made me laugh. I will forever remember the way she touched the lives of her co-workers and students. Lots of love to you Karen!

Lauren Ostis

July 13, 2018

Aunt Karen was so thoughtful and had a great laugh. I can picture her signature on many cards that I received over the years. And her laugh was one in a million, especially if you really struck her funny bone. She always made special efforts to attend family celebrations over on the East coast. She loved her kids and grandkids with all her heart. She extended that love to her nieces & nephews and all of our kids. When my son, Zyan, was born three years ago, she showered us with love and support in several ways from afar... and continued to do so even during these challenging past few months for her. I'll miss sharing updates and laughs with my godmother during future family times. We love you, Aunt Karen~

Connie Ostis

July 10, 2018

When Karen married my brother, Spike, she was immediately embraced by our family. She became one of us. My mother was especially fond of her, as Karen was thoughtful in so many little ways, would bring my mom special little gifts, and she never forgot a birthday or any occasion to send a card throughout the year.
In the early days of our marriages, my husband and I would have many times with Karen and Spike playing games into the wee hours, in Boston and later in Pennsylvania. One night we played till three in the morning and found a pizza place that would still deliver at that hour. The fourteen hour drive from Maine to PA was worth it, as Karen and Soike always made us feel welcome and Karen had lots of hors d’oeuvres, most notably her crabbies, prepared for our visits. What fun our families had together once the children arrived!
Whenever there was a big family event, Karen was sure to show up, no matter the distance. And it was Karen who was forefront pitching in to the work that needed to be done. At both of my sons’ weddings on our family Westport Island property, it was Karen the following morning fully participating in the pick-up process. Karen was thoughtful and had a big heart, and when something caught her just right, she had a great laugh.
It hasn’t always been easy to keep in touch with the great distances, but we’ve shared many phone calls and lots of stories. Karen has been loved by our family, and I along with all her nieces and nephews will miss her in our lives.

Gloria Linares

July 9, 2018

My thoughts and prayers are with the Smith Family and loved ones. My dearest friend Karen, you will forever be missed . You will always have a place in my heart ❤️! I'll never forget how you & I, did not like "technology". How we both would sit in front of the computer, look at each other and laugh! Your words "For Pete's sake, let's get out of here". We both would log off , get our belongings and leave work, knowing we did not finish our time sheet. Love you my special friend ~ R.I.P Karen 🙏🏼

Sherry Outlaw

July 6, 2018

This is so hard - Karen was one of my few closest friends and it’s a huge hole in my life. I’m still having trouble believing it. Karen was nothing but a big heart (mixed with a variety of 4 letter words - a vernacular we shared). She was my only go out and eat, lets cook something good, play scrabble, spend the night together, work in the yard together, talk to and laugh with all the time friend. I knew all about her whole family and all her friends because she talked about them all the time. NO ONE ever loved her family more than Karen. Nor did any teacher love her kids more. I can’t imagine how her family feels as this is a major loss for me.