Though described as soft-spoken by many, nobody was a stranger to Chianti Jackson Harpool, from former NAACP president Kweisi Mfume to Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby to the average Madison Park resident.
Mrs. Harpool, a longtime social worker, executive assistant in the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office and chocolatier, died April 8 after suffering complications from the new coronavirus.
She was 51.
“She was a generous and thoughtful person,” said Adrian Harpool, her husband and owner of a public relations and marketing firm. “She wasn’t moved by people’s positions. She knew a lot of people who were very significant in our eyes to the community but they weren’t any more important to her than [anyone else.]”
Mrs. Harpool, daughter of Dennis Jackson Sr., a truck driver for a produce company, and Melissa Jackson, a retired administrator at UMBC, was born Aug. 21, 1968, in Howard Park.
Mrs. Harpool, affectionately called “Tiki” by friends and family, was a 1986 graduate of the Institute of Notre Dame and 1990 graduate of then-Towson State University, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in social work. She later received an advanced degree in psychology from Bowie State University.
She worked as a drug counselor at the Johns Hopkins Broadway Center for Addiction and Baltimore Behavioral Health, and as a social worker for Health Care for the Homeless.
In 2015, Mrs. Harpool left social work to attend a six-month program at the International Culinary Center in New York. She returned home and launched a home-based chocolate-making business, Chianti’s Chocolates.
The chocolate-making business shared roots with her father, who owned a confectionery business based in Cherry Hill, Westport and Brooklyn.
In 2007, she offered Mr. Harpool a seat next to her for a Sunday service at City Temple of Baltimore Baptist Church. The two later agreed to go to brunch and went on car rides in the country — he described her as a “car fanatic” and lover of Porsches and Mustangs. They began dating, and in 2008 the two married.
Mrs. Harpool spent time volunteering for Ms. Mosby’s campaign for city state’s attorney. Following Ms. Mosby’s election in 2014, she invited Mrs. Harpool to join her office as an executive assistant.
Ms. Mosby remembered Mrs. Harpool as “a great mother, a wonderful wife and a really good friend."
"She was a really great listener, and she just had a gentle spirit about her. ... Her spirit was somewhat angelic.”
Mrs. Harpool left the state’s attorney’s office in 2018 to join her husband’s business.
An “ardent” Prince fan, Mrs. Harpool was often involved with the fashion community, particularly in the Station North Arts District, where she modeled in events, assisted with projects and donated clothes to people and women’s shelters.
“She was a beautiful spirit," said Caprece Jackson-Garrett, who worked with Mrs. Harpool on several fashion-centric projects. “There was a softness about her and she was elegant. ... When you were in her presence, it was very magical. [She] made Baltimore a great place to be in.
“For her to be gone, it’s like the birds stopped singing for a second.”
The family will hold a small private service on April 20 and hold a celebration of life on Mrs. Harpool’s birthday.
In addition to her husband and parents, Mrs. Harpool is survived by a son, Brian Taltoan II; a brother, Dennis Jackson Jr.; a stepson, Ian Harpool; a stepdaughter, Laura Harpool; and four nephews, all of Baltimore. A previous marriage ended in divorce.