South Pasadena lost a dear friend recently with the passing of Paula Jean Warner, a treasured 30-year teacher at South Pasadena Middle School. Students, parents and friends agreed “Miss Warner made every student feel special.”
Paula Warner was born in Hollywood. Her mother died when Paula was young, and Paula went to live with her grandmother in Chicago. After her grandmother passed away, Paula lived with an aunt’s family. She grew up in the Chicago area, graduating from Loyola University-Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago. Upon returning to California, she earned a master’s degree in counseling from Point Loma University.
After teaching in several area private schools, she was hired as a science teacher at South Pasadena Middle School, where she was adored by her students and peers. She was extremely shy with adults, although when working with students she blossomed into the kind, friendly, supportive person she truly was. As a colleague, she was unsurpassed in her knowledge of science, the arts and computer science, and was helpful with whatever required patience and assistance. She did the job of an administrator each year by completing the master schedule of the middle school, laboriously working her way through late hours at night to find just the correct placement for each student.
Paula’s activities were numerous: she led the Tigerettes, hand-calligraphed each graduation certificate, chaperoned field trips, marched with the band in innumerable parades, attended the Pomona Fair each year with the band and was even a linesman for the SPHS Tiger football games. To the joy of the students, on any school-related dress-up day, she would appear in a flamboyant costume. She also assisted with staging many of Marion Tompkins’ spectacular plays and musicals.
As an artist, she was unsurpassed. She taught tap and ballet at a local San Marino dance studio for many years and belonged to a dance group. Paula was an effervescent member of Shakespeare Club. She appeared in multiple plays and assisted when necessary with any stage-related tasks.
Paula Jean Warner passed away on Aug. 3, 2019 at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, surrounded by her middle-school friends and members of her dance group. These were the people she included as “my family.” She will be missed by her colleagues, her beloved students and by the supportive parents of South Pasadena Middle School. Her five adored cats were adopted by a dear friend.
A Celebration of Life gathering will be held at the Shakespeare Club, 171 South Grand Ave., Pasadena, on Saturday Oct. 5, 2019 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Everyone is welcome. Donations may be made to: The Shakespeare Club, 171 South Grand Ave., Pasadena, 91105; or the Cancer Support Community, 76 East Del Mar Ave., Pasadena, 91105.