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Paula Marie (Derr) GRENELL

GRENELL, Paula Marie (Derr) Born December 24, 1943 and died February 13, 2014. Beloved wife of Richard Grenell of Las Vegas, NV, she is survived by her husband and three children: Laurel Sholberg (Eric) of Phoenix, AZ; Ryan (Marisa) of Kennewick, WA; and Eric Grenell of Las Vegas, NV and grandchildren Kristin and Callen Sholberg, Austin and Blake Grenell. Paula grew up in Spokane, WA with her parents, Paul and Antoinette Derr, and her five siblings: Stephen (dec.), Judy (Derr) Makus of LaFeria, TX, Sara Derr, Laura (Derr) Padden and Larry Derr all of Spokane, WA. She attended Holy Names Academy and completed undergraduate studies at Gonzaga University. She earned her Master's Degree in Library Science at the University of Washington. Paula began her career at the State Library in Olympia, WA where she worked for several years before moving back to Spokane. While here, she worked in both the Spokane County and City Library Systems. She opened and managed the North Spokane Library and also served as a reference librarian at several locations. She was excellent at her job, partly because she loved learning, and partly because she took pleasure in serving others. She was skilled at discovering minutiae needed for research papers and at satisfying the varied curiosities of library patrons. She often shared such knowledge with her relatives, much to their amazement and awe. She was better than a walking encyclopedia and was indeed, a font of fascinating factoids about subjects great and small. Paula later worked at the Foley Library of Gonzaga University as a tenured faculty. She was an Assistant Professor, Chair of Public Services, and also managed the Student Publications Department for the University. She was masterful at gathering necessary collections for the library, assisting students at the reference desk and providing services to the public and the University. When her husband decided to take a job in Nevada, Paula worked as a librarian at the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository and later at the College of Southern Nevada. There she created the needed collections for certification of that library. Recently she retired from this employment. She always did the best work she could and remained a valued employee wherever she worked. Paula was adventuresome and perceptive. While still in college, she and a friend took six months off and hitch-hiked throughout Europe. She wrote observant, interesting letters home about their travels. We all enjoyed them. She considered it a life-changing experience. Paula was a very talented pianist and artist. She had an eye and ear for beauty and an appreciation of detail. She took time to consider how to arrange her surroundings to create a sense of calm and warmth. Her grasp of design and excellent use of color are reflected in her beautiful home. A strand that wove itself through her whole life was her love of words. Her descriptions of people, place and events could be piquant, whimsical, incisive, delightful and dozens of other adjectives. Whether she was in the workplace, with her family, or socializing, it was a pleasure listening to her. Paula was always generous with her time and affection. She was a gentle soul, not speaking ill of others, and trying to help her family and friends as best she could. In later years especially, simplicity and cheerfulness marked her life. Her life was filled with love of family, and joy in her family, friends and accomplishments. Memorial Mass will be held on Saturday, March 1st, 2014 at 11:00a.m., in the University Chapel at Gonzaga University (502 E. Boone Ave, on 3rd floor College Hall - formerly Administration Building) Refreshments following at the Foley Center Library Rare Books room on the GU campus. Paula will be greatly missed!


Published in Spokesman-Review on Feb. 26, 2014
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