Tamara (Knepp Poore) Romero

*CORRECTIONS: Tamara Romero was the only one among her siblings to be adopted by Donald Poore. Her two children were eventually adopted by Jane and Donald Poore.

After her bicycle was stolen as a child and a friendly police officer kept her involved in the investigation, Tamara Romero knew she wanted to dedicate her life to helping others through work in the criminal justice system.

Tamara (Knepp Poore) Romero was born in Louisiana, Mo., on Jan. 8, 1962, to Jane (Foland) Poore and Stanley Knepp. *She was adopted by Donald Poore as a child after he married her mother. Ms. Romero died in El Paso, Texas, on Sunday, July 31, 2011, after a motorcycle accident. She was 49.

As a teenager, Ms. Romero enthusiastically participated in the Columbia Police Cadet Program and enjoyed volunteering for various projects in the community, Jane Poore said. Ms. Romero attended Blue Ridge Elementary School and Oakland Junior High School and graduated from Hickman High School in 1980. Ms. Romero studied criminal justice at Columbia College.

She then married Bradley Reida, with whom she had two children, Carl James "C.J." and Kelsy Dawn, before the two divorced. *The children were later adopted by Ms. Romero's mother and Donald Poore.

After she worked for catalog retailer Montgomery Ward and later with her husband for a number of years, Ms. Romero’s passion for criminal justice led her to the New Mexico Corrections Department, where she became an administrative assistant for nearly a decade.

“She loved her job,” Jane Poore said. “She liked organizing, keeping things straight, making sure the system worked right and treating prisoners and family properly. She believed strongly in the penal system — that whatever rights prisoners have should be protected.”

Ms. Romero had a deep respect for others, and her openness allowed her to make friends easily, said her sister, Kim Brown.

“She was bubbly, never quiet," Brown said. "She’d do anything, try anything.”

Brown said Ms. Romero loved her family.

“Her kids were everything to her,” she said.

Ms. Romero and her sister would dote on their father, Donald, Jane Poore said.

“They’d always take his side instead of mine, even without all the facts,” she joked.

Ms. Romero passed on to her daughter a love for animals, Jane Poore said. Ms. Romero owned a horse named Tillie when she was in high school.

“She loved the freedom of the wind and rain in her hair,” Jane Poore said. “It was about being one with the animal.”

Brown said Ms. Romero always had cats.

“It’s always been her thing — she loved her cats,” she said.

Ms. Romero also enjoyed making quilts and crocheting clothes and blankets, but her sister said she remembers Ms. Romero for her green thumb.

“She saved my flowers quite often,” Brown said.

Ms. Romero was an excellent cook who enjoyed trying new foods and buying odd spices, Brown said.

Brown said her sister was a talented athlete who participated in a variety of sports. Ms. Romero could do “flips and everything else in gymnastics” when she was in elementary and junior high school, and as a star swimmer on the team at Hickman High School, her powerful arms helped her master one of the most difficult strokes — the butterfly. The sisters also played baseball together in high school, wearing pink shirts emblazoned with the team name “Brook’s Babes.”

“We were kind of each others' best friends,” Brown said, looking back on their relationship as children.

The sisters even double-dated two brothers together in high school, she said.

“She just loved life,” Jane Poore said. “She was a happy person.”

Ms. Romero later married George Romero and kept his last name when they divorced.

Ms. Romero is survived by a son, Carl James "C.J." Poore of Columbia; a daughter, Kelsy Poore and partner Matt Perry of Jefferson City; her parents, Donald and Jane Poore of Columbia; a sister, Kimberly (Knepp) Shaw Brown and husband Chuck of Ashland; a brother, Kevin Poore and wife Cheryl of Columbia; three grandchildren, Jameson Trey Blake, Connor Martin Lee and Madison Laura Jane of Jefferson City; and numerous uncles, aunts, cousins and close friends.

Visitation will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. Friday at Bach-Yager Funeral Chapel, 1610 N. Garth Ave, followed by services at 2 p.m. at the funeral home. Burial will follow at Memorial Park Cemetery, 1217 Business Loop 70 W.

Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of the donor’s choice, care of Bach-Yager Funeral Chapel.

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