February 12, 1932 - October 29, 2021
Paula White (Mom, Grandma, Aunt, neighbor, friend, sorority sister, and bridge partner). Whoever she was to you, you were likely blessed with a quick smile, a positive outlook, someone who gave much more than she ever asked for. She was intelligent, kind, had a loving spirit and quick wit, she was caring, selfless, grateful, productive. She found the good in everyone and every situation. She always rooted for the underdog, whether it be her favorite sports team, or that person who needed it most. Paula was born in Spokane Washington on February 12, 1932 . She was adopted by a loving couple, Paul and Frances Matson, who gave her a loving home. She was extremely intelligent, and though she missed almost a year of early elementary from illness, she excelled and even skipped a grade. Anything math related was a breeze for her. Her mother was bedridden most of her teen years, and died her senior year of college. Perhaps this history prompted her to pursue a BS degree in nursing at Washington State University. Her father, who had immigrated from Sweden via Canada as a child, was extremely doting to his only child. At Washington State, she joined the Pi Phi sorority, where she met many lifelong friends, who she had reunions with up to age 80. She got her Degree in nursing and became an RN. She also met the love of her life, Joe (Joseph White). Joe had attended WSU, was president of the Beta fraternity, and was able to attend college because of the ROTC program and earned a BS degree in Pharmacy. He was the first in his family to get a High School degree, and now college Degree. Upon graduation, he was to attend officer training and then deploy to South Korea during the occupation. Once he learned he was going to be shipping out, he proposed over the phone, giving Paula six weeks to plan a big wedding to take place at the beautiful episcopal cathedral in Spokane. Many sorority sisters were getting Married in the summer and fall of 1954. Four of them shared the same wedding dress within a few short months. On Sept. 1, 1954, Joe and Paula tied the knot. They spent their honeymoon at the officer barracks at Fort Lewis before he shipped out for 18 months. Paula worked as an RN in Spokane during his deployment. She lived at home with her father and step mom and saved a nest egg. Joe returned and found a position at Hall’s pharmacy , in Hazel Dell, WA. They purchased a house for $6,000 dollars and soon became expectant parents. By 1960, they were parents to three daughters, Diane, Julie and Nancy. Paula was a doting mother and homemaker. She had the home where all the neighbor kids hung out. In 1965 they purchased a cabin in Seaview, WA where they spent the majority of their vacation time. So many memories of Long Beach from her daughters time as kids, digging clams, making Moms famous clam chowder and clam dip that we all still make. Working jigsaw puzzles and learning to play pinochle. Seeking out low tides and collecting firewood at The Point, fires on the beach at night. Sliding across the seat of the car driving the curves to Waikiki, (before seatbelts) then spending the day there swimming in the big waves timed with the last hour before high tide. Walking on the jetty when it still had a paved road, and finding the glass ball and the perfect driftwood on that Beach, that took hours to roll to the car. Summer vacations with the Olsons. Hours of fun playing on the swing at the Sea Chest. There was no phone or television. We don’t recall missing that. At home in Hazel Dell, Paula was an active member of the neighborhoods where they lived. She was an outgoing welcoming neighbor. The neighbor kids built elaborate sheet homes on the laundry lines in the back yard. After washing sheets for weeks, and realizing this was only getting bigger, the neighbor kids were told to bring their own sheet and lunch each day. She made an elaborate haunted house in the garage for Halloween. She was campfire leader, class Mom and she was a founding member of her bridge group and the Children’s Hospital Orthopedic Guild. She was in charge of the district campfire candy sales, she enjoyed doing what she called the “lacky” work. She never needed credit or praise, she just enjoyed doing whatever was needed. Often this entailed serving as treasure, other times it was setting up coffee service after church. In 1966, they moved to a larger home on 12th Avenue, where she met many of her lifelong friends. She was amazing at maintaining a budget on one income, with three daughters. The finances were maintained with the help of envelopes she called “kitties” to stash away monies for utilities, mortgage, food or special purchase. She collected green stamps to earn free gifts, canned hundreds of jars of food and did side jobs to help the ends meet. We always had everything we needed. Her needs always came last, she was selfless in that way. In 1979, they purchased the independent pharmacy, where Joe had spent his entire career. Paula was a natural business manager and ran the business operations and finances with ease. She took on the roles of Bookkeeper, HR, logistics, inventory and management. Her natural knack for numbers, and business acumen helped her to grow the business in a time when many independent pharmacies were losing out to the large chain drug stores. During this time, they celebrated 3 college graduations, three weddings, and by 1993, nine grandchildren had joined the family. In 1987, They sold the pharmacy and retired to a beautiful home on the Puget Sound in Manchester, WA. For the grandkids who are old enough to remember, Manchester was about the 101 stairs to the beach, the shag carpet, the crabs under every rock, the indoor hot tub room with the ceramic rabbits, chocolate milk, the scary furnace room. This was just a ferry ride away for the grandkids, and their house was soon equipped with cribs, high chairs, blocks, books and toys. A great inexpensive vacation on the Puget sound for all our young growing families. Joe passed unexpectedly in 1993, and Paula moved a few years later to Providence Point in Issaquah, where she lived for 20 years. She always looked forward in life, she jumped into her new home in a Issaquah with enthusiasm. She made friends easily, and she enjoyed international travel, annual winter excursions to Maui, following the stock market, rooting for her beloved Cougars, playing in several bridge groups, water aerobics, and mostly being close enough to spend a lot of time with her grandkids. As a grandma, she is remembered as someone who lead by example. All nine grandkids were born between 1985 and 1993, she was skillful at treating everyone equally while embracing their uniqueness and special qualities. She loved them exactly as they were. She was their biggest cheerleader on the sidelines of their favorite sports whether it was track, little league, soccer, or other, she was there with a smile win or lose. She enjoyed playing games of any kind with them, Gin, ConnectFour, Yahtzee, cribbage, pinochle, and many more. When she drew the winning card, she would do a little jig with her arms and get a cute smile, sometimes clicking the cards on the table. It was hard to get mad about losing. She was very present in their everyday lives, and she made it a priority to give them her unconditional love. She also made Holidays special, the fun gift boxes at Christmas, with bills hidden throughout the treats, homemade Chex mix, all assembled, wrapped and delivered. She organized the annual day after thanksgiving family get together, with Turkey sandwiches, football watching, decorating her house for Christmas, swimming and a movie. She called every birthday to sing Happy Birthday. It wasn’t necessarily in tune, that didn’t matter to her, she wasn’t going to missing singing to you on your big day. She made certain that the annual Long Beach trip took place for all the grandkids. She enjoyed treating everyone to putt putt, go carts, and some quarters for the arcade. She herself was a master of the pinball. She always had the “deluxe” room on the second floor and every night she had a special night for two of the grandkids to stay together at her place. She was on the s’more task, having crackers with chocolate ready for the hot roasted marshmallows. For two years we were able to rent the cabin we owned as kids. Now called the Lucy cabin, it was somehow much smaller than we remembered. There were theme nights with awards. A spa night for grandma, who was happy to have her granddaughters give her facial and massage. In 2017, she moved to Spiritwood where she had a nice apartment. She loved the food and having people around for meals and activities. Bingo, rummy, sit and fit, jigsaw puzzles, sudoku were activities she enjoyed. She loved her corner table in the dining room where she was always ready with a smile as people entered and left. She is survived by her three loving daughters, Diane Lentz and husband Roland of Sammamish, Julie Zimmerman and husband Chuck of Wenatchee, Nancy Omiliak of Bellevue, as well as her nine grandchildren. Greg Lentz and wife Jessica, Joelle Benson and husband Rob (and daughter Lanessa), Jenny Lentz, Jeff Lentz, Jay Zimmerman, Mark Zimmerman, Rachel Peden and husband Mark, Brian Omiliak and wife Sarah, Danny Omiliak and wife Mary. She was called to heaven on October 29th after 89 years packed with, love, humor, friends and family. Please feel free to share a memory in the comments.
Paula White (Mom, Grandma, Aunt, neighbor, friend, sorority sister, and bridge partner). Whoever she was to you, you were likely blessed with a quick smile, a positive outlook, someone who gave much more than she ever asked for. She was intelligent,... View Obituary & Service Information
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