The Edmond Sun

July 8, 2013

Paula Kay Umphers


The Edmond Sun

EDMOND —     Paula Kay Umphers, 74, beloved sister, passed away in May at her home in Edmond, Okla.  For several years she suffered the chronic pain of fheumatoid arthritis, depression and anxiety.

    Born in 1938 to Roger Sanford Umphers and Lorene Sharp Umphers in Ardmore, Okla., she spent her early years in Shawnee, then moved to Tishomingo in the third grade.  She shone as a high school homecoming princess.  In her senior year the family moved to Edmond, where she graduated and entered Central State College.  She was a member of Pi Kappa Sigma sorority, and president for a year.  Her Bachelor’s degree was in elementary education, and she taught grade school in Wichita, Kan. until returning to college for graduate school at Oklahoma State (then  A&M).  Work beyond her Masters degree resulted in employment as a psychometrician in the Tulsa Public Schools.   She travelled to schools throughout the system administering diagnostic tests to children with special needs.

    After ten years she again returned to school to qualify as a reading specialist. After funding disappeared for hiring special teachers in public schools, and she found herself working as a classroom teacher in Midwest City.  She taught until health issues forced her early retirement.

    Paula was a gentle person, but could be fierce in the face of perceived injustice.  She supported Habitat for Humanity and The Nature Conservancy.

    For a time she wrote children’s literature and was an excellent writer with a fine sense of humor.  She enjoyed Scrabble and collected books and tapes on many topics, notably birds, history, nature, and religious studies.  In her later years she became a biblical scholar, and was especially interested in the ideas of Mary Baker Eddy. She especially enjoyed music and played piano beautifully until arthritis crippled her hands in her later years.

    She is survived by her sister, Linda Umphers Sherman of Eugene, Ore.; her nephews and their wives, Andrew Sherman and Jodi Sheeler, and Gregory Sherman and Jane Hogan; two grand-nephews Caleb and Milo and grand-niece Maisy, all of New York City; two cousins, Jackie Payne of Allen, Texas and Norma Barbisan of Eugene, Ore.; and her old friend Roger Rush of Eugene, Ore.

    A graveside service will be 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 10, facilitated by Baggerley Funeral Home.  A memorial service will be held at a later date.  Contributions may be made to Habitat for Humanity or The Nature Conservancy.