Karen Eileen Beims, a graphic artist who owned her own business and was an accomplished cook, died Tuesday at her Highlandtown home. She was 45.
A cause of death has not been determined.
Born and raised in Harford County, she was a John Carroll School graduate. She earned a bachelor's degree in art from the University of Virginia and a bachelor's degree in education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
She worked as a graphic artist for two Washington firms, Lightnet and Maximus, and taught art at Aberdeen High School and Parkville High School. In 1999 she founded Dezining One Visual Communications. She also taught at Prince George's Community College.
About five years ago she bought an East Baltimore rowhouse and started designing posters and other materials for the Highlandtown Wine Festival. She named her cat Patterson after the park.
"She was a fantastic cook. She cooked Thai food like a native," said Don Arnold, president of the Highlandtown Community Association. "She restored her home and sat out on the steps with all her neighbors."
In 1997 she received the People's Choice first place award in the St. Mary's National Oyster Festival. She also won the fourth annual Phillips Seafood crab recipe contest.
"She started cooking in an Easy-Bake Oven when she was 7 years old and never stopped," said her mother, Constance Beims of Darlington. "When other people read novels, she read cookbooks."
Ms. Beims recently completed the cover for a new Heart of Highlandtown cookbook, which has been dedicated to her memory.
"She considered cooking a form of art," said a friend, Tyrone Gaither of Rockville. "She threw some of the best parties. She would arrange food stations all around the house."
Services were held yesterday.
In addition to her mother, survivors include her father, William Beims of Darlington; two brothers, William Douglas Beims of Highland and Brian Henry Beims of Napa, Calif.; a sister, Patricia Shea Gannon of The Woodlands, Texas; her maternal grandparents, Frank and Grace Ross of Fort Walton Beach, Fla.; and her paternal grandmother, Mary B. Beims of Mount Dora, Fla.