Tara Beardsall, who died in a horrific stabbing in Sunset Park this month, was loved dearly by her friends and family. A friendly, sociable and driven woman from TriBeCa, she leaves behind a seven-year-old daughter.
“Tara was amazing, helpful, always ready to listen if you had a problem,” said Liz Rivera, her friend of nine years. “She loved her daughter so much, and was dedicated to motherhood from the start.”
Rivera, a Department of Education employee, started the Tara Beardsall Memorial Fund on Thursday to help support Beardsall’s daughter. She’s collected over $1,200 so far.
“I want to do more for Tara and this is the only way I can help,” said Rivera, whose boys used to play with Beardsall’s daughter in the local park.
Beardsall’s child is in the care of the father, who asked not to be named. The couple separated in 2011.
Beardsall, who was 31, lived in TriBeCa. She attended P.S. 234 on Greenwich Street, and worked at a local restaurant called Yaffa’s on-and-off for a decade, where she “pretty much ran the place”, Rivera said.
“She was a great worker,” said Yafa Faro, 54, the restaurant’s owner. “Pleasant, responsible, always on time, and customers loved her.”
Faro met Beardsall as a child in 1986, and offered her a job in her teens. Beardsall rose from waitress to bartender to manager, and worked at Yaffa’s until the venue closed in 2009.
“She was a beautiful person, I really loved her,” Faro said. Beardsall had a lot of friends, she added, and was very close to the other staff. “We were all devastated by the way her life ended.”
Beardsall later worked at the Little Pie Company on 295 Greenwich Street. The restaurant has since closed.
Several of Beardsall’s friends have joined her Facebook memorial group and donated to her daughter’s fund. Some have said she made poor decisions and should have sought guidance.
“Tara was a very beautiful but troubled person,” said one friend, who asked not to be named. “I wish she had gotten the help or therapy she desperately needed.”
Beardsall took out an order of protection against her 44-year-old boyfriend, Alex Santiago, earlier this year, court records show. Santiago was arrested in December for holding her against her will, police said.
“She could be sweet, smart, funny, and a good mother, but there was this terrible darkness,” her friend continued. “I am shocked and saddened by her brutal death…but I am also angry at her for putting herself in that position.”
Other friends remembered Beardsall fondly, and said she would be sorely missed.
“Tara had such a fun, bubbly, warm, and inviting personality that you couldn’t help but want to befriend her,” said one of her TriBeCa friends, who asked not to be named. “She always made people feel special. Tara probably never realized how much her kindness meant to people.”
Beardsall’s death may help bring attention to the plight of women in abusive relationships, her friend hoped.
“Our remembrance of Tara must go beyond memorials, articles and blogs,” she said. “It must be an effort to make changes and shine a light on domestic violence issues. So many women are suffering in silence, and sadly many will become another statistic. Deaths like Tara’s are preventable and unacceptable.”
The investigation into Beardsall’s death is ongoing.