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Saturday, April 8, 2023
11:00am - 12:00pm (Pacific time)
Paula Nunley, 71, of Sacramento, California, died peacefully on March 25, 2023, following an extended illness.
She was born in Redwood City, California, on April 26, 1951, the daughter of Paul and Gwendolyn Dawson. She spent her childhood in the quiet university town of Palo Alto. Paula attended Humboldt State College in Arcata and later completed her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature at Hayward State College.
Paula met David Nunley quite by chance, as one of a group of Humboldt dorm sisters that asked David to drive them to see a movie in Eureka. The two sat next to each other in the theater, and Paula shared her popcorn with David. David was smitten, and Paula was clueless. With a lot of help from friends and some shy persistence by David, the two became a couple and were engaged four months later (David was no fool) and married the following October.
The first years of their marriage allowed Paula to spread her wings further. David was a junior Naval officer serving on a ship off the coast of Vietnam, and Paula was an officer’s wife continuing her college education back home in Concord. Lots of letters and phone calls, a week together in Hong Kong during some downtime, and getting to know the Bay Area and surrounding region when David was Stateside.
On completing active duty, David found work with a forest products company in San Francisco, spending the next several years in his chosen industry. Paula supported him through the joys and trials of his career, and the two strove to grow stronger together in their love as a couple and as a family. They purchased a home in Concord, welcomed the birth of their son Aaron in 1978, and Paula relished her role as homemaker and mother.
Over the years, Paula enjoyed gardening, camping, backpacking, and sightseeing. Yosemite, the High Sierras, and the shoreline of the Mendocino Coast were a particular love of hers, as was touring the shops in the Napa Valley. Yes, she became a Soccer Mom and was Aaron’s most vocal supporter in football and track in High School.
Paula was, first and foremost, a humble Christian, a sinner redeemed by Christ for His glory. She was ever present at church, helping and supporting the Preschool, Altar Guild, and the church office. She was active in the choir, handbells, and the contemporary worship team. Paula was always involved in one or more Bible studies, strengthening her understanding and appreciation of Scripture and learning alongside her friends.
She was an avid, voracious reader, taking in too much classic and contemporary science fiction, drama, and thrillers to sleep without one eye open. She balanced Stephen King with JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis, reading and rereading her favorite childhood books.
In retirement, she and her husband moved to Sacramento to be closer to their son and his family. She joyously served as grandmother to two precious little girls, reading to them, playing with them, and providing them with the care and comfort she was only too willing to give.
Paula is survived by her husband of 51 years, her son, his wife, and two granddaughters. She also leaves behind several close cousins, in-laws, and friends.
A memorial service is scheduled for 11 am April 8, 2023, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1500 27th Street, Sacramento, CA 95816, with a light reception following. Please call the church office at (916) 456-8701 for more information.
Flowers are welcome, as well as donations to your preferred charity. Paula long supported the Alzheimer’s Association, The Lutheran Hour, and animal rescue adoption organizations. Paula’s smile and gentle spirit will be greatly missed by her family and the many friends whose lives she has touched over the years.