"There is nothing quite like seeing clothes worn by a woman who is genetically, temperamentally and professionally specialized in the business of wearing clothes."|
KAREN LEE was such a woman. She was a trained fashion and print model, both in Akron and New York; and ELLE model and trunk show coordinator in Little Rock and Dallas. She modeled the latest designer business, sportswear and evening gowns on the Internet for ELLE fashion.com from 1995-2002. From her early teenage years, when she designed and sewed her entire wardrobe, she maintained her "fashionista" image daily, never leaving her home without proper makeup, jewelry and the latest classic clothing and accessories. She had an acute sense of drama and humor. Her great loves were fashion and the City of New York. She loved the fast pace, electricity and diversity of the city, the Broadway shows, many museums and elegant restaurants.
Born in Akron, Karen died on March 8, 2013. She was head majorette of the Boston High School Marching Band, twirled a fire baton and taught baton twirling to elementary school girls, many of whom became majorettes for years after her graduation.
She studied tap and modern jazz dancing at CHARLES BOYD SCHOOL of the DANCE: was center leader of his "CUYAHOGA FOLLIES," a Rockettes-type high-kick line dance troupe. She later assisted Mr. Boyd with pre-school, Jr. and Sr. dance lines.
Karen was an honor roll student with the ambition of becoming an attorney. When this was not possible with no family support, she did the next best thing and worked as a legal secretary, first at FERBSTEIN & SCHWARTZ; then at SHECK, HERNDON & BARTLO, where she was executive secretary to ROBERT E. SHECK, who recognized her talent, efficiency, organizational skills and dedication to learning the law, and who taught her the intricacies of each of his cases. She interviewed clients, prepared pleadings and handled many other phases of his cases when he was out of town. Mr. Sheck had a widely diversified legal practice, affording Karen an education in all fields of law. She later went on to earn paralegal status; and became DIRECTOR of OHIO PARALEGAL INSTITUTE in Fairlawn.
Karen married Rawney D. Trunko in 1963; became both a Notary Public and a multiple-line insurance agent, licensed by the State of Ohio. In this regard, she was employed by P&C BONDING AGENCY from 1963 to 1974, when Ohio law eliminated bonding agencies, and bail bonds were handled by the Clerk of Courts. Known as "AKRON'S LADY BONDSMAN," she was one of only two women (the other in Los Angeles) licensed and working all phases as a bail bondsman in the country at that time. Karen worked in the Akron Municipal Criminal Court, as well as in the booking area of the Summit County/City Jail, where she interviewed prospective clients at the time of arrest, and became very skilled in the decision making process, which involved risking large amounts of bail money on her professional judgment of an arrestee's likelihood of returning for court appearance. She was known as a tough bondsman, but fair, having less than a 1% skip rate. She was also a trained investigator and held a commission as a Summit County Special Deputy Sheriff, necessary to execute a bench warrant and arrest a bondjumper. She traveled to many other states to execute warrants and make arrests with her husband, Rawney Trunko, who was business and bond manager for Liborio "WHISKEY DICK" Percoco, owner of P&C BONDING AGENCY and SUMMIT FIEDELITY & SURETY CO. of Chicago. Mr. Percoco, who had a very colorful past, had a reputation of always brining a fugitive to justice, regardless of the cost of investigation and arrest. In this regard, Karen had many interesting stories and circumstances, most chronicled in her book, THE LADY BONDSMAN.
In 1972, Karen and Rawney Trunko opened BIG WHEELS BICYCLES dearlership in Peninsula. In 1975, she opened her own store at Pilgrim Square in Akron. They were divorced in 1976. Karen immediately petitioned the court for a legal name change to LEE; then enrolled at Akron University.
Karen is survived by her children, TIFFANY DALE TRUNKO, a New York corporate trademark attorney, (husband Attorney Alan Scheiner) and their children, Ainsley, and Sawyer Scheiner; and son, RAWNEY D. TRUNKO II, (Juliana) and their children, Rawney III, Natasha, and Tristan Trunko, of the Akron area.
In 1983, Karen married EUGENE W. BRAGG, an installation/engineer with AT&T, later LUCENT TECHNOLIGIES. Together, they survived many transfers to cities throughout Ohio, as well as Chicago and Little Rock. They were transferred back to Akron in 2001, and one month later, Gene was assigned a temporary transfer to Michigan, where he died suddenly in his sleep. Their next transfer in two years, was planned for the East Coast, where she could be closer to her beloved New York.
Karen was a member of the following organizations: Bath Pre-School Parents Association; Vice President of Our Lady of the Elms Pre-School Parents; Ohio Bicycle Dealers Association; Vice President of English Oaks Condominium Association, and a member of the Board of Directors of Hampton Woods Condominium, Inc. She did volunteer work for the Akron Police/Fraternal Order of Police ETERNAL FLAME project, a tribute to fallen Akron Police officers; the American Cancer Society Discovery Store; and the Akron Area Alzheimer's Association.
Karen was well-traveled, having visited Greece, cruising the Agean Sea Islands, venturing through the BOSPHORUS and DARDANELLES, to reach Istanbul, Turkey, where visiting the TOPKAPI Palace, Blue Mosque and the Turkish Grand Bazaar. Other destinations include Cologne, Germany; Paris, France; Madrid, Barcelona, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; yearly trips to Acapulco, Mexico City and Monterrey, Mexico; and the cities of Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, Japan.
Published in Akron Beacon Journal from Mar. 15 to Mar. 17, 2013