Karson Bailey Whitesell

Karson Bailey Whitesell was a beautiful blonde-haired, blue-eyed young woman who loved without limits. Karson was taken from this world too soon when she was killed in a random act of violence on January 23rd, 2018 at the age of 19. She lived her life with a childlike faith and wild abandon.
Artistic and Creative

Karson had a passion for various art forms and loved blessing others with her gifted hands. Some of the work she was most proud of were four paintings she did and donated for a homelessness awareness seminar. It brought her joy knowing that her talents were helping to bring awareness to that cause. She also had a love of makeup and was looking forward to finding a way to make a career out of special effects makeup. You could describe Karson as an old soul. This was evident in her choice of 80’s-90’s music and tie-dye clothing. She would tell you that tie-dye was her favorite color despite her mother continually telling her that tie-dye was in fact not a color.

Karson’s life was driven by a desire to help others. This was evident throughout her life. As a young child she would be the one in the hall at school that would stop and help another child in need. She always sensed the need that others missed.

Seeing the Need

As Karson grew into a young woman, she continued to exhibit her helpful and intuitive gifts. Her work at the Peach Stand in Fort Mill, SC, enabled her to shine a light on her gifts of compassion, creativity and conversation. After her death many customers came forward to share their stories of their interactions with Karson and how her spirit impacted their lives. The fact that many of these stories included either a young child or an elderly person is of no surprise as that was who touched Karson’s heart the most.


Karson was a member of Illumine Church where she strengthened her relationship with God. Her spiritual life led her to travel the world seeking to help others and share God’s word. As a young teenager Karson was exposed to mission work through Salkahatchie Summer Service as well as serving alongside her mom in an orphanage in Haiti with Give Hope Global. After graduating from high school Karson felt led to serve a longer-term mission.


Karson dedicated the summer of 2017 to the people of Nsoko, Swaziland and Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Her heart was set on fire through following God’s call to travel for two months in Africa and serve children in need. God set Karson apart, knowing she would follow His will by loving and serving others through missions. She embraced cultures different from her own knowing that love has no borders. She was gifted with the ability to laugh and connect with complete strangers, even in situations where language was a barrier. She communicated and loved with ease, creating a memorable moment for anyone she came in contact with. (This was to have been the first of many trips to Africa.)

Family and Friends

After service to others, the most important thing in Karson’s life was her friends and family. Growing up claiming her Italian heritage, she was thrilled to be proven (sort-of) right when she got her Ancestry DNA results back. 15% Italian, 39% Irish, and 30% Scandinavian proved to Karson that she had claim to her Italian roots. It didn’t matter that the Irish percentage was more than double that of the Italian, Italian was all she saw and cared about since her great-grandmother Mimi was Italian.

Karson embraced the challenge of being a friend to anyone she would meet. Karson had an ease about her that provided comfort to those around her. Her genuine love for life and people created an atmosphere of acceptance and wholehearted interactions. Karson was known for her authenticity and she rarely hid her opinions. She was honest with those around her and she embraced her friends and others with open arms and an open heart, wanting only the best for them.

Karson was especially close to her mom, Debbie. Debbie became a single mom when Karson was six years old, creating a bond that could never be broken. Debbie and Karson were a team and truly enjoyed each other’s company. They were best friends and talked multiple times a day about what was going on in her life. She never worried about whether or not it was cool to do things with her mom. Karson and Debbie were often mistaken for sisters and Karson loved every moment of it. She was proud of her mom and was her biggest fan, while Debbie was Karson’s greatest cheerleader. The relationship and bond shared was a blessing to both of them.

Karson was also very close to her maternal grandparents who she lovingly referred to as Ama and Gdad. They were a huge light in Karson’s life and a great influence on her faith journey. She was their only grandchild so she was the recipient of lots of love and unnecessary Target trips. Karson’s dad, Jason, and step-mom, Laurie, blessed her with the title of big sister in January of 2007 with the birth of her little sister Lainee. Karson loved having a little sister and shared countless laughs and adventures with her. She was Lainee’s protector and took that role very seriously. Karson was also blessed to have her boyfriend, Tevin, whom she knew to be her soulmate. She was looking forward to her future with Tevin and grew even closer to him during her time away in Africa. They shared a fun and loving relationship and had many plans for the future together. Karson loved her family dearly and wanted nothing more than to spend quality time with them. She was actively involved in the lives of those she loved and cared about. When she loved you, she loved you fiercely and with all of her heart.

Karson’s Impact Lives On

Though Karson’s life was brief, the impact of her years is great. Her passion for serving others will continue in many different ways through the efforts of Karson’s Kompassion Project. Through KKP we will continue to touch lives and through our words and actions allow people to learn about Jesus and how much God loves them.