Colleen Belle Johnson Karmol, 47, a former runway and magazine model who became a Republican Party activist in Fairfax County and an artist, died Jan. 27 at her home in Great Falls. A spokeswoman for the medical examiner's office in Fairfax said a determination of cause of death is pending further tests.
Mrs. Karmol, the daughter of a Navy officer, was born in Dallas and grew up in Vienna. She attended Fairfax Christian School and Congressional Preparatory School in Falls Church but left home at 16 to pursue a modeling career in California. She later attended Santa Monica (Calif.) Community College and Northern Virginia Community College.
In 1973, she married television actor Sheldon Novack, a regular on such shows as "The FBI." She did modeling work for Bill Blass and appeared in catalogues and magazines, including the cover of Playgirl several times. She had walk-on roles in television shows.
After Novack's death in 1978, she resettled in the Washington area and did administrative work for former treasury secretary Robert B. Anderson and was confidential assistant to Robert P. Hunter, a member of the National Labor Relations Board.
In Fairfax County, she was campaign manager for Jane H. Woods (now the Virginia secretary of health and human resources) in her successful 1989 campaign for the state House of Delegates and for Ernest J. Berger in his successful 1991 run for Dranesville District member of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.
In 1995, she managed the unsuccessful campaign of her husband, David Karmol, for Fairfax County commonwealth's attorney. David Karmol, whom she married in 1986, is now vice president of the American National Standards Institute.
From 1992 to 1995, she was chief staff assistant for planning and zoning in Berger's district office. From 1992 to 1996, she was Dranesville district chairwoman of the Fairfax County Republican Committee.
Since the late 1990s, she had done decoration and design work for Joan Polk Interiors and Calico Corners and was a sales representative for Hunter Douglas window designs.
As an artist, she created centerpieces and wreaths, including some with feathers and animal horns. She exhibited and sold her works at arts and crafts events and area stores. She was on the board of the Great Falls Art Centre.
At her death, she was president of the Great Falls Republican Women's Club.
She was known for occasionally varying her looks, sometimes appearing with pink or turquoise bangs. She felt it would make her stand out from other Republican activists.
Besides her husband, of Great Falls, survivors include a daughter from her first marriage who was adopted by her current husband, Aslan Cordeau of Great Falls; her parents, retired Navy Rear Adm. John B. Johnson and Marion Johnson of Great Falls; and two sisters, Kerry McElroy of Ashburn and Patricia Johnson of Ventura, Calif.