Karen Peters Griffin

February 13, 2017

Mrs, Karen Peters Griffin of Belmont NC, formerly of Charlotte, passed away quietly in Hospice care at the end of a nearly year-long battle against cancer on the evening of Monday, February the 13th, 2017. She was 73 years old. Her daughter and son-in-law were by her side.

Karen was preceded in death by her late husband, Mr. Hoke Smith Griffin Jr. of Charlotte N.C., her older sister, Mrs. Donna Lee of Murfreesboro T.N., and her step-sister, The Rev. Elaine Sipe of Charlotte.

She is survived by her twin sister and roommate, Mrs. Lynn Chavarria, her step-brother, the Rev. David McSwain of Charleston S.C., her daughter, son-in-law, and grandsons; Laurel, George, Christopher, and Nicholas Bagogeorge of Charlotte N.C., her son, daughter-in-law and granddaughters; John (J.P.), Nishita (Nishi), Maya, and Mira Griffin of Charlotte N.C., and her companion of the last five years, Mr. Tom Weathers of Gastonia N.C. In addition, she leaves an extended family of relatives, in-laws, and friends throughout the country who cherish her memory.

Karen was born in St. Petersburg FL the daughter of a mechanic and former coal miner father, and a homemaker mother. She and her twin sister were athletic, adventurous, and academically gifted children. They both went on to attend The University Florida where they graduated with High Honors: Karen from the College of Pharmacy, and Lynn with a Bachelor of Science. It is there where Karen met her late husband Hoke, a veteran of the U.S. Army Signal Corps and Miami native.

They moved to Gainesville FL, where they both began their professional careers as pharmacist and teacher. Their daughter Laurel was born there in 1968. The young family moved to Charlotte in 1971 where Hoke began a lifelong teaching career at CPCC and Karen took a job as pharmacist at Presbyterian Hospital. Their son John was born at that hospital in 1972.

It is in pharmacy where Karen received a large sense of satisfaction in her life. Not only a devoted and attentive wife and mother, she was friendly and compassionate servant of the people she took in her charge, to ensure they were getting the best possible treatment course from their physicians by thoughtfully tracking their prescriptions, health concerns, and remembering if there were any counter-indication concerns. This in the days before large computer databases. She recalled everyone’s treatment from memory.

Karen’s career took her to several locations, serving different and diverse communities throughout the Charlotte area. Notably, she worked at Neill’s Pharmacy, Derita Drugs, the Kroger and BiLo pharmacies at Northpark Mall, Kerr Drugs in Mallard Creek and finally the Target drugstore in Huntersville where she finished her career, retiring 7 years ago. At each, she made close friends of her customers and co-workers, many of them life-long.

Outside of work and family life, Karen found time to volunteer for social and healthcare justice organizations in addition to her church. The League of Women Voters and Health Care Justice were two in particular that held special meaning for her. After the death of her husband and retirement from pharmacy, Karen pursued her volunteer career vigorously, keeping as busy with serving the community with those organizations as she had her clients at the pharmacy. Her other full time passion in her retirement was her grandchildren. She was always available to nurture them, visit, and enjoy their company and attend family gatherings multiple times each week. In her retirement she also enjoyed travelling with her sister, friends, and companion Tom. Karen lived a more fulfilling life in her brief retirement than many aspire to in their entire lifetime. Even as her illness worsened, the cancer spread, and her body began to falter, the energy she poured into her family, her friends, and her passions never ebbed. At the final gathering at home with her family, hours before she entered Presbyterian hospital for the last time, everyone gathered in her bedroom to eat, play, sing and laugh. She apologized profusely for not having the strength to help cook and entertain. We, her family that surrounded her, let her know that her strength was all around her. She had poured it into each and every one of us.

Funeral services will be held at 1:00 PM on Friday, February 17, 2017 at Holy Covenant United Church of Christ, 3501 W. WT Harris Blvd. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Interment will follow in Charlotte Memorial Gardens. The family will also receive friends from 6:00 until 8:00 PM on Thursday evening at the funeral home. .

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204, (704) 641-7606. Online condolences can be shared at www.kennethpoeservices.com.




Share your memories & condolences


  • Jessica Schorr Saxe

    To Laurel, J.P., Lynn and all the family, I send my sympathy. I worked with Karen on the Health Care Justice--NC Board. She was cheerful, reliable and absolutely
    committed to the principle that everyone should have health care. It was a pleasure to work with her. She will be greatly missed.

  • Patricia R Mitchell

    Karen opened her home to me in a time of need. We only knew each other from church yet she gave me (and my cat) a room and shared her life with me. I appreciated this gesture more than I could ever thank her. I am saddened to hear of her passing. She was a generous and loving woman. May good memories bring God's comfort to you all.

  • Bob & Joy Stonebraker

    We are so sorry for your loss. Our prayers and thoughts are with you.

  • Laura Swaim

    I know we haven't seen each other in a while, but I came across the obituary of your lovely mother in today's newspaper. I just wanted to offer my condolences on the loss of such an extraordinary women. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Laura Swaim (Vanguard retiree)

  • Allison Binder

    I had the honor of meeting Karen though the League of Women Voters. I always enjoyed speaking with her and will never forget her smile, pose, and passion. I'm sincerely thankful that our life paths crossed.

  • Sally M Duffy

    Karen was a lovely, gentle, and kind soul who will be missed by those whose lives she touched.

  • Sally M Duffy

    Karen was a lovely, gentle, and interesting person. I very much enjoyed our conversations at church. She will undoubtedly be missed by so many people whose lives she touched.

  • Andrea Wasser

    To Laurel, George and their entire family,
    I was so sorry to learn of your mother's passing. It's quite amazing to read about her amazing life. I didn't know her, but I do know you, Laurel, and I know that you share many of those wonderful qualities, as well as looking just like her. It is never easy to lose one's mother but hopefully, you can all draw solace from the fact that she is now at peace and did have many years to enjoy her family and her career. God bless you all. My prayers are with you.

  • PJ Brunson

    What a fitting tribute to a truly beautiful woman. It was a privilege to know Karen these last five years or so. She was a truly special soul and the light that emanated from her was pure love and understanding. My thoughts and prayers are with her family, Tom, and her many devoted friends. I am certain that her spirit will live on in all who knew and loved her. Peace.

  • Peggy and Diether von Frankenberg

    Our heartfelt condolences to the family. You are in our prayers.