Angela Karmis was born on October 17, 1984. She was raised in rural Illinois as an only child to a single mother. In 2005 she was accepted into the physics program at UC Santa Barbara. She moved to Lompoc and graduated with a doctorate in 2012.
Angela chose physics because “she thought it was beautiful and conducive to concrete answers and tangible processes.” As a graduate student she worked as an adjunct lecturer and discovered her love for teaching.
In 2014 Angela came out as transgender and began to live into her true self. She became involved in LGBTQ activism, participated in panels for youth at Pacific Pride, and hosted a KCSB radio show called “Love Letters from the Submind” which addressed trans issues.
In spite of her positive transformation, steady employment was difficult and she found herself struggling to survive. The kindness of various friends provided temporary housing for a couple of years before Angela made the decision to begin camping in the woods near the Butterfly Preserve in Goleta.
During this time she became a regular guest at the mobile shower trailer project called “Showers of Blessing”, which provides free showers to people experiencing homelessness. Angela became a deeply loved volunteer at the shower project and eventually she was hired as the Director of Operations. Once again Angela blossomed and with the support of the County Housing Authority she was able to secure housing in Goleta.
During this time Angela also became a beloved member of the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara. She volunteered as a teacher in the Religious Education program and shared her love of science with the kids. She was a gifted public speaker and became a lay leader on the worship team, sharing reflections on her life and participating in Sunday morning services.
It seemed that Angela had found her place in the world, full of loving friends and satisfying work, but her depression returned and this time it claimed her life. She was found deceased in her apartment on October 31, 2019.
A memorial celebrating Angela’s life will be held at The Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara, 1135 Santa Barbara St. at 3pm on November 24th.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the homeless shower project that she loved so much at showersofblessingiv.org.