February 21, 2004
The Kentucky Post
Tambra "Tammy" Carpenter, silenced by the effects of multiple sclerosis, didn't speak for the 24 years before her death Wednesday at St. Elizabeth Medical Center South, Edgewood. But her voice will echo at her wake Sunday as family members play a recording of a gospel song she made when she was 19.
She was an active teen, running on the track team at Twenhofel Middle School, skating, and singing with gospel groups in Ohio and Indiana, said her mother, Magdeline Collins of Taylor Mill.
Mrs. Carpenter married and was 19 when her daughter, Shanda, was born. "When she was pregnant, she noticed a tingling in her hands and numbness in her arms," Collins said.
It was the first warning signs of MS.
"She always depended on God to bring her out of it," Collins said. "She didn't want to give in to it."
Shanda was a few months old when Mrs. Carpenter was invited to sing a solo on a recording of gospel music developed by several local churches. The song, "The Last Tear," was written by a church member and held special meaning for Mrs. Carpenter. The lyrics talked about the trials and tears of life that will be banished by God's smile.
The recording was played on Christian radio programs for several years, Collins said. But Mrs. Carpenter's condition quickly worsened and she could barely speak by the time she was 20.
Her marriage disintegrated. She and her daughter went to live with her parents in Taylor Mill.
"She communicated with us by blinking her eyes," Collins said. "Before she died, her eyes were blinking so hard -- she was telling all of us good-bye, giving us her love."
Mrs. Carpenter had the talent to become a gospel music star, said her sister, Sharon Hart of Mechanicsville, Va.
"She won singing contests from the time she was 12 until she was 16," said Hart. "We were very proud of her."
Surviving in addition to her mother are her daughter, Shanda Lynn Murphy of Independence; her father, Bennie Collins of Taylor Mill; another sister, Glenna Hoskins of Burlington; and two grandsons.
Services will be noon Monday at Taylor Mill Pentecostal Church, Taylor Mill. Visitation will be from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Allison & Rose Funeral Home, Taylor Mill, and from 11 a.m. to noon Monday at the church. Interment will be in Floral Hills Mausoleum, Taylor Mill.
Memorials are suggested to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Southwest
Ohio and Northern Kentucky, 4460 Lake Forest Drive, Blue Ash, Ohio, 45236.
Copyright © 2004, The Cincinnati Post