Tara Marie PiowatyMay 22, 1980 ~ May 28, 2017 (age 37)
Tara Marie Piowaty, beloved wife, mother, daughter and friend turned 37, May 22nd and died peacefully, Sunday, May 28, 2017 at Hospice, after a valiant struggle against metastatic breast cancer. Tara leaves behind a large family who will be lost without her including: her husband Hongzhe Zhang and her beloved daughter, Rania Don Craig, her mother Kim Kennelly Kairis and stepfather Bill Kairis, siblings; Katherine Piowaty and Brian Piowaty, nephew Aidan and stepsisters Jessica and Stephanie and nieces Trinity and Ava and father Timothy Piowaty. Tara also leaves behind her grandmothers Mikell O’Neil and Deborah Bassett Piowaty, as well as a slew of aunts, uncles and cousins and in-laws. None of us will ever be the same for knowing Tara. There was something totally unique about her that will stay with us long after her mortal shell has left the earth.
Tara was employed by JC Penny for many years and has a large group of friends where she worked as evidenced by the stream of friends who visited her at Hospice. Tara loved her job because of the people she worked with and the people she met. Tara had a keen curiosity and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Hospital and Social Services Administration from St. Petersburg College. She earned her degree online, while working full time and travelling part-time. A gifted writer and a voracious reader, Tara had a thirst for knowledge and a love of the written word.
There is no doubt about it, Tara was unapologetically her own person. Not concerned with superficiality, she eschewed the material trappings of modern American life. Instead, Tara chose to focus on what was within a person; she cared about whom they were not what they were. Tara bristled at the artificial distinctions people created to set themselves apart or above one another. In a way that few of us are, Tara was comfortable in her own skin and she insisted that we accept her just as she was.
A follower of the Bahia faith, Tara was drawn to the faith’s universality and acceptance of all types of belief systems. The Bahai’s believe that the spirit continues after physical death and Tara embraced that belief as well. “To consider that after the death of the body the spirit perishes is like imagining that a bird in a cage will be destroyed if the cage is broken, though the bird has nothing to fear from the destruction of the cage. Our body is like the cage, and the spirit is like the bird…if the cage becomes broken, the bird will continue and exist. Its feelings will be even more powerful, its perceptions greater, and its happiness increased.” As spoken by Abdu’l Bahá
Tara loved to travel and it was to this passion that she dedicated her energy and her assets. An unquenchable wanderlust took Tara and her daughter, Rania, on two year-long stints living and teaching in China. Her family was in awe of the courage it took to pack up your child and head off to China, but Tara was not fazed. She tackled China like she tackled everything in her life; head on.
It was on her second trip to China that she met her husband, Hongzhe, who would become her heart’s companion and her tireless champion during her illness. They met in China and carried on a truly long-distance romance. Despite the language and cultural differences, Tara and Hongzhe crafted a marriage based upon mutual respect and true love tested through adversity.
In addition to her China travels, Tara also travelled with Rania on an extensive tour of India, Thailand and Ecuador. On the day she left this earth on her ultimate journey, Tara was supposed to be on a flight for a long-awaited trip to Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos with her mother. She had booked the flight to celebrate being declared cancer free. Life’s ironies know no bounds.
A visitation will be held Friday, June 2nd from 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. at Holloway Funeral Home, 112 Bayview Blvd., Oldsmar followed by a 12:30 graveside interment at Sylvan Abbey Cemetery, 2860 Sunset Point Rd., Clearwater. A celebration of life and luncheon will follow at 2:00 p.m. at the Clearwater Bahai Center, 2892 Gulf to Bay Blvd., Clearwater 33759