OUTMemphis Remembers Karen Silverstein

Karen Silverstein was a long-time member of the Memphis LGBTQ community, and was involved in several organizations and groups to that effect.

From her obituary:

“Karen Jean Helms Silverstein passed away on Friday, March 15, 2019 in her home in Memphis, TN from Parkinson’s Disease. She was born in Denver, CO on December 5, 1944 to Dorothy Henrietta Helms and Carl Elmer Helms. When Karen was born, her father was a was a second lieutenant in the US Army stationed at Fitzsimons Army Base. Karen was born in the base hospital. The family later moved back to Long Island where she grew up.


Karen was preceded in death by parents, her brother Kurt Helms, and her beloved wife Kathleen “Kat” Bagley. She is survived by her sister-in-law Joanne Helms from East Moriches, NY; her nephew Thomas Helms of Yaphank, NY; and nieces Lisa Gold of Center Moriches, NY and Susan Helms of East Moriches, NY.


Karen graduated from Cornell University and went on to obtain two advanced degrees. She retired from St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, where she worked as a biostatistician and computer programmer.


Karen was a lover of art, music, dance, Tai Chi, science, and nature. She and her wife Kat were members of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. They also participated in the Ministry with Gay and Lesbian Persons at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and previously belonged to the Cotton Pickin’ Squares LGBT square dance group.


Karen leaves behind a circle of loving friends and a wonderful group of professional caregivers who provided comfort and support during her final transition. Special thanks to Ben Howell, Annie Dandridge, and the caregivers from Angels at my Door. Karen will be greatly missed by all that knew her.”

Karen was loved by many, and will be missed dearly. Rest In Peace, our sibling.

The program from Karen’s memorial service, which was held on March 30th, 2019