Paula Marie CHMILAR

Paula Marie

Aug. 21, 1952 – Oct. 6, 2006

Kind, loving, caring – good and decent to the core of her being – Paula Chmilar was taken, inexplicably, unfathomably and unmercifully, by lung cancer on Friday, October 6, 27 days from diagnosis to death. 10 weeks from apparent health to her last breath. She was brave and beautiful until the end. Paula was a loving wife and mother and held a special place in the hearts of her family and of hundreds of friends and colleagues. She will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved her. Paula loved reading and ­travel, running and talking, music, theatre and opera, fine food and wine, and giving of herself to others. But most of all, she loved teaching children to read and write, to think critically and creatively, to be delighted in themselves and confident in their abilities, and to care for one another. She grew in her 30 years as a teacher to be an extraordinarily gifted educator who touched the lives of hundreds upon hundreds of students and their parents and whose practice, example and passionate advocacy of child-centered learning have inspired many of her fellow teachers, in Mission  and beyond. Paula taught all the primary grades from Kindergarten to Grade 7 and for the last year served as Mission School District’s Literacy Helping Teacher, a mentoring position that she was perfectly suited for and that gave official recognition to what she had been quietly doing for her 20-year teaching career in Mission.

Paula is survived by her husband, Tom Grieve, and her children, Jack Grieve and Meg Grieve; her sisters, Lynda Derkach, Kelli Vogstad and Kim Karras; and by extended families on both her and her husband’s side. She was predeceased by her mother, Mary, but three months ago and her father, Paul, six years ago.

A memorial gathering celebrating Paula’s life will be held at Heritage Park in Mission on Saturday, October 14, from 2 – 4 pm. Donations in lieu of flowers to the following charities would be greatly appreciated: The Mission Foundation – Paula Chmilar Memorial Fund; the Christine Morrison Hospice at Mission Memorial Hospital; St. Paul’s Hospital; and the B.C. Cancer Society.