RAMONA PAUL

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October 17, 1936 - June 30, 2013 OKLAHOMA CITY Dr. Ramona Frances Ware (Emmons) Paul passed away on June 30, 2013, in Idaho Falls, Idaho, with her beloved husband, brother and sister-in-law by her side. Ramona was born to Henry Grady and Girdie Hutchison Ware on October 17, 1936, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She and her brother, Bob, grew up in Stillwater, where their parents were professors at Oklahoma State University. Ramona grew up in a family that valued education and high standards, and her life reflected these values. After graduating from Stillwater High School, Ramona received her Bachelor's degree in Family Relations and Child Development, Elementary Education and her Master's degree in Child and Family Development from OSU. In 1959, Ramona married Jerry Emmons, and together, they had three sons, Steve, Stuart and Jerry, Jr. They lived in a number of places where Jerry, Sr. was assigned as an FBI agent, including Lafayette and later Carmel, Indiana. While living in Indiana and raising three young children, Ramona received her Ph.D in Child Development and Family Science from Purdue University. In 1975, the family moved to Edmond, Oklahoma. Although their marriage subsequently ended, Ramona and Jerry, Sr. continued to share in the pride and joy they had for their sons and, later, their grandsons. In 1984, Ramona married the love of her life, Homer Paul. For the next 29 years, they lived a wonderful life together. She and Homer celebrated the graduations and weddings of their combined family of seven children (including two sets of twins) and the arrival of their grandchildren (including a third set of twins). And their home was the center of family gatherings, which were filled with laughter and lively conversation. Whether at one of Ramona's beautiful dinner tables, sitting around the pool, or around the fireplace on one of the annual ski trips that Ramona and Homer hosted for their family, Ramona loved having her family with her. She leaves us with many warm memories of those times. Ramona was passionate about early childhood education and dedicated to improving the lives of children. During her 50-plus years as an educator, Ramona also worked at Iowa State University, Oklahoma State University, Texas Woman's University, University of Alabama Medical Center, The Merrill Palmer Institute of Human Development and Family Life, Purdue University, Sequoyah Middle School and Oklahoma City Public Schools. Ramona also held Adjunct University Assignments at the University of Oklahoma and East Central University. In 1991, Ramona returned to the Oklahoma State Department of Education, where she joined her dear friend and colleague, former State Superintendent Sandy Garrett. From 1991 to her retirement in 2011, Ramona worked at OSDE as Assistant State Superintendent, Professional Services Division. Her proudest achievement at OSDE, and as an educator, was the role she played in the implementation and development of an early childhood education program for children aged 4. Ramona collaborated with the numerous groups in Oklahoma involved with the care and education of 4-year olds, lent her expertise to the drafting of statutory language that would be enacted by the Legislature, and worked to ensure that implementation of the program would be successful. Oklahoma's Early Childhood/Family Education program has been recognized nationally and identified by the National Institute for Early Education Research as the premier program in the nation. Throughout their life together, Ramona and Homer supported each other's professional and community endeavors and took pride in each other's achievements and honors. Ramona was named "Oklahoman of the Year" for 2009 by Oklahoma Today magazine. She also received numerous honors, including Kappa Woman of the Year, 2013, Greater Oklahoma City Panhellenic Alumnae; induction into the Oklahoma State University Hall of Fame, College of Human and Environmental Sciences, 2006; Outstanding Alumni Award in 2002 from Oklahoma State University, College of Human Environmental Sciences; Doctoral Student Recognition, David Ross Scholar Fellowship, Purdue University, 1972; Phi Upsilon Omicron Founders Fellowship, Purdue University, 1972; Outstanding Young Woman of America, nominated by Oklahoma State University, 1967; Oklahoma Representative to the White House - International Year of the Child, 1979; and selected to attend the United States Air Force Air War College, National Security Forum, 1982. At the time of her death, Ramona served on the boards of Executive Service Corps of Oklahoma; The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools; Oklahoma State University College of Human Sciences Partners; Educators' Leadership Academy; Schools for Healthy Lifestyles-Chair 2011; Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness Foundation; Potts Family Foundation; DaVinci Institute; Oklahoma State University Women's Philanthropic Foundation; Oklahoma WONDERtorium Children's Museum Advisory Council (the museum has a play area, "Ramona Paul's Block Party," with wooden blocks like the ones that Ramona's mother had given to Ramona when her children were young); and Friends of Oklahoma State University Library. Ramona also served on the Board of Directors for Citizens Security Bank & Trust Company, Bixby, Oklahoma, where Homer Paul was CEO and Chairman of the Board. Ramona was a member of Leadership Oklahoma (Class VI), Life Member of the Oklahoma State University Alumni Association, Charter Member of Mother of Twins Club and member of the Purdue University Alumni Association, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Daughters of the American Revolution, Annie Oakley Society and Westminster Presbyterian Church. She was also a member of PEO, which held a special place in her heart because her mother-in-law, Helen Paul Sutton, had been a member as well. Ramona was a published author of a series of books titled Your World. The series included 35 books for children depicting a trip to the zoo, a trip to doctor's office, etc. She also authored numerous articles on early childhood development that were published in educational and professional journals. Ramona was preceded in death by her parents, Henry Grady Ware and Girdie Hutchison Ware; mother-in-law, Helen Paul Sutton; and father-in-law, Homer Paul, Sr. She is survived by her husband, Homer Paul; sons, Steve (Jonna) Emmons, Stuart (Shannon) Emmons and Jerry (Carla) Emmons, Jr.; stepchildren, Chip Paul, Lela (Sonny) Brown, Jamie (Kelly) Cope and Jenna (Chuck Higgins) Paul; grandchildren, Will Emmons, Cole Emmons and Grady Emmons; step-grandchildren, Zach Massey, Sean (Fiorella) Massey, Hunter Paul, Casey Paul, Emery Brown, Heidi Brown, Christian Brown, Piper Simpson, Keeley Cope, Colton Cope and Luke Vendig; brother and sister-in-law, Robert and Carol Ware; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, William and Barbara Paul; and a host of extended family, friends and colleagues whom Ramona held dear to her heart. We will all miss her charm, intelligence, beauty, elegance, support, understanding and love. Services in celebration of Ramona's life will be held Tuesday, July 9, 2013, at 10 a.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be sent to the Oklahoma WONDERtorium (c/o Ruth Cavins, P.O. 1299, Stillwater, OK 74076) or Oklahoma State University Foundation (P.O. Box 1749, Stillwater, OK 74076-1749).

Published in The Oklahoman from July 7 to July 9, 2013
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