Young missionary (and mom) killed on eve of her return overseas


By Mark Kelly

Kyra Lynn Karr
Kyra Lynn Karr

On the evening before she and her family had planned to return overseas, Kyra Lynn Karr, a Southern Baptist missionary to Italy, was killed in a traffic accident.

News reports indicate a tractor-trailer driver exited his vehicle to conduct a safety inspection but the safety brake was not engaged and the truck began to roll. The vehicle hit the pickup in which Karr was traveling, crushing it against the highway guardrail on U.S. 41 in Bartow County, Ga. Karr, 30, died at the scene.

Her husband Reid and their two youngest children were transported to nearby hospitals, where they were treated and released. Their oldest child was not with them at the time.

The tractor-trailer driver, Ivan Delgado, 52, of Rome, N.Y., was arrested and charged with DUI, police said.

Tabernacle Baptist Church Pastor Don Hattaway described Karr as “one of the most wonderful, godly young ladies you could know. She was energetic, kind, articulate, beautiful, and a great mother and wife.”

The Karrs, who spoke at Tabernacle in Cartersville, Ga., Aug. 9, had been in the U.S. since mid-June and were returning home after a family outing Thursday evening to prepare to fly back to Italy the next day. Hattaway and a group had worked with the Karrs in Italy earlier this summer, and he spoke to their commitment to their work among churches and university students, as well as  planting a church.

“Kyra was part of a street ministry to those caught in sex trafficking as well as to refugees crossing the Mediterranean Sea into Italy,” he noted.

The Karrs were appointed as International Mission Board missionaries in 2009 and have been serving in Rome. They were about to begin their third term of service after a brief stateside assignment.

Kyra Karr was a graduate of the University of Georgia and grew up in Tabernacle Baptist Church. She and her family also were connected to Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, Ky.

Karr is survived by her husband Reid; her children, Nolyn, Ellie and Livia; her parents, Joseph and Karen Carp; her sisters, Chelsey Carp and Sydney Shadle. In lieu of flowers the family request donations be made to Tabernacle Baptist Church for the Italian church plant Breccia Di Roma and its ministry efforts. Please pray for the family of Kyra and her mission in Italy.  –Baptist Press