Charlotte R. Bohn, who worked for Baltimore's Child magazine as distribution and advertising manager for more than a decade and was also a talented singer and voice teacher, died of colon cancer Feb. 11 at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson. She was 38.
"Charlotte was such a lovely person, She had the unique ability to anticipate the needs of others and selflessly develop a strategy to make things better," said Dr. Judith J. Thomas, former principal of Hampden Elementary/Middle School, where Ms. Bohn's son was a pre-K student.
"She made life better with her humility and desire to serve others. She never allowed herself to be bogged down by things that were insignificant," said Dr. Thomas, who lives in Upton. "She always embraced the high ground and encouraged others to travel it with her. The world is a better place because Charlotte was here."
The daughter of Jim Giza, a retired Baltimore police sergeant, and Joanne Giza, co-founder and co-publisher of Baltimore's Child magazine, Charlotte Rose Giza was born in Baltimore and lived on Guilford Avenue in Charles Village.
"A performance of Alice in a stage adaptation of 'Alice in Wonderland' as a third-grader at Barclay Elementary School sparked a lifelong passion for performing on stage," said her mother.
Ms. Bohn became a regular performer in local children's theater productions, mainly at F. Scott Black's Dinner Theater in Towson.
Her family later moved to Mount Washington, and while attending Fallstaff Middle School, she participated in the TWIGS program at the Baltimore School for the Arts.
She was later accepted as a vocal student at the school, from which she graduated in 1994. She attended Westminster Choir College in Princeton, N.J., then transferred to Towson University, from which she earned a bachelor's degree in music in 1999.
After graduating from Towson, she worked for Musical Encounters, traveling to area nursing homes and hospitals to sing and perform for residents and patients.
She later worked as activities coordinator at Broadmead retirement community in Cockeysville, and later at Brighton Gardens in Towson, before joining the staff of Baltimore's Child in 2003, which had been founded in 1983 by her mother and a business partner.
"She assisted the magazine's sales reps and, among other duties, wrote a column, 'Musical Notes,' which were reviews of children's CDs," said her mother.
"We're old ladies on the magazine, and what Charlotte brought was her youth and perspective as a young mother of two," said Ms. Giza. "And because I'm now a grandmother, she helped give me a renewed interest in the magazine."
Ms. Bohn also wrote the magazine's STUFF blog and updated its Facebook page.
After her marriage in 2005 to Rick Bohn, a state school inspector, the couple settled into a home on Beech Avenue in the city's Wyman Park neighborhood.
In addition to her professional life, Ms. Bohn began giving private voice lessons in her home and joined a nascent local klezmer band as lead vocalist.
The band, Klezzazz, performed locally at events and in various venues and also released a CD.
"She was just a fantastic person and a fantastic singer," said Tom Goldstein, a former bandmate and longtime friend who teaches music at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
"She was very expressive as a singer. Klezmer music is very soulful, and she could really put those songs across. She had a depth of understanding of those songs and had a very commanding stage presence," said Mr. Goldstein, who lives in Roland Park.
He described Ms. Bohn as "very kind, funny, unassuming and generous."
"I'm really going to miss her," he said.
After she was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2011, she became involved with the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults and with the Susan Cohan Colon Cancer Foundation, or Susie's Cause, a national colon cancer foundation that is based in Baltimore. She served as a member of the board of Susie's Cause.
"Charlotte was with us for two years and was active in our cancer 5K running and walking program for cancer patients and survivors. She participated on our Baltimore team," said Brock C. Yetso, president and CEO of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults.
"She was an incredible person and a great inspiration to our cancer patients and survivors, whom she surrounded with love and a light touch. She had smiles even for strangers," said Mr. Yetso, who lives in Butchers Hill.
"Charlotte was a tough cookie. She'd show up for a race when it was raining — when no one except the coaches were there," he said. "She never let her chemotherapy treatments get in the way of how she lived her life."
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As a fundraiser for Susie's Cause, the organization sponsored the production of an album of cover songs that she sang. "Where the Light Comes In" was released in December. She was thrilled to collaborate with her childhood musical hero, Barry Louis Polisar, on the album.
"She was backed by a full band, including one song, where she played the ukulele," her mother said. "She sang two of Barry's songs." He provided vocal harmony on one of them, she said.
Ms. Bohn died early in the morning of Feb. 11 at the hospice.
"Alongside was her husband, Rick, who had fallen asleep in the chair next to her the previous evening, holding her hand while she slept," said Ms. Giza.
A memorial service will be held Saturday at Kol HaLev Synagogue.
In addition to her parents and her husband, Ms. Bohn is survived by a son, Jack, 7; a daughter, Eleanor, 4; a brother, James Giza of Roland Park; and a sister, Emily Socolinsky of Canton. Ms. Bohn is also survived by a stepdaughter, Courtney Bohn of Eldersburg.