Karla Jean Bagtaz; caring,
Karla Jean Bagtaz appreciated
things that were big and noisy. Things like rock concerts. And monster trucks
-- those pickups with ridiculously oversized wheels, splashy paint schemes and
nicknames like "BigFoot."
"Anything that was large and
loud," said Ms. Bagtaz's close friend Natalia Vargas, of Stoughton, Mass. "She
liked people and things that were larger than life."
People remember Ms. Bagtaz, 41,
of Brockton, as a caring, warm woman who liked spending time with the children
of her friends and family.
She had a talent for lifting
someone up on a bad day.
"When she sees someone is at
their lowest low, she is right there, picking them up," said Vargas, who met
Ms. Bagtaz in first grade.
Ms. Bagtaz had a distinctive
laugh and a rascally nature.
Last summer, she gave Vargas's
son $100 on his birthday. But she made him work for it.
Each of the dollar bills was
folded up inside a tiny capsule, the same sort of plastic container used in
vending machines for children's toys.
"She was always up to
something," Vargas said.
Ms. Bagtaz lived most of her
life in Stoughton. She graduated from Stoughton High School in 1980. In recent
years, she worked as a legal assistant for a lawyer in Randolph, Michael
Maniscalco. In recent weeks she had started a new job for Miracle Mortgage in
Meanwhile, she sold Avon
fragrances and other products, and she spent several nights a week waiting on
tables at Lastoria Italian Bar and Grill in Stoughton.
"Everybody liked her," said the
restaurant's assistant manager, Mickey Lastoria.
When she was off the clock, Ms.
Bagtaz liked to escape.
"She had an adventurous side to
her, without a doubt," Vargas recalled.
Ms. Bagtaz often had concert
tickets to hand out.
Late one Sunday night in
January, Vargas found herself at The Living Room in Providence. And she didn't
like the music much. It was her friend's thought that counted.
"I did it for her," Vargas
said. "She loved it."
She was buried at Holy
"I know if there is a heaven,"
said Vargas, "she made it there with a bunch of people who have the same
interests as her."