Karla Reed, 73, died on September 3 at Duke Hospice-Hock Family Pavilion in Durham.
She grew up in New York City, graduating from Hunter College and the Columbia University School of International Affairs before pursuing a career in Foreign Service with the U.S. Government. Over the years, she carried out high level consular assignments in nine different countries, primarily in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
In retirement, Karla took great pride and pleasure from renovating the home in Mahopac, N.Y. that she inherited from her mother, Faith Reed. Because the house featured authentic turrets, area residents referred to it as “the castle.” She sold the castle 14 years ago and retired to Carrboro.
Here, she established a large circle of friends by volunteering for more than 12 organizations. As a Certified Master Gardener, she worked at the NC Botanical Garden and the Coker Arboretum. She also helped to build stage sets at Carrboro ArtsCenter, Deep Dish Theater, and others. Additional volunteer pursuits included: preparing tax returns under the VITA program, reading for the blind in Raleigh, teaching English as a Second Language, building for Habitat for Humanity, and sorting books for the Carrboro Library. Her interests included tennis, international travel, classical music, theater, gardening, and needlework of all sorts, most recently Japanese embroidery. Karla also enjoyed early Saturday morning jaunts to the Carrboro Farmers’ Market.
Karla leaves behind her two cherished cats, Gandalf and Blue; cousins in California, Clinton Staley of Atascadero and Lisle Staley Stigler and Wynne Staley Pecheck of Sherman Oaks; former husband, Harlie Smith of Arlington, VA; friend for 58 years, Klara Kurowski of Closter, NJ; and many other friends and neighbors with whom she shared her life.
A memorial gathering will be held later this fall. In the meantime, those wishing to remember Karla may donate to WCPE, the Classical Station¸ in Wake Forest¸ or a charity of their choice.