Paula Kathleen Barnes
1960 - 2021
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Paula Kathleen Barnes

Nashville, TN - Born May 26, 1960 in Phoenix AZ

Died January 15, 2021 in Nashville TN

Paula was the third and youngest child of Paul and Barbara Barnes, and grew up surrounded by music and singing. Her mother, who taught piano lessons at home, was Paula's piano teacher.

Paula was a member of and, in her senior year, Choir Mom of the McClintock High School A Capella Choir in Tempe, AZ. She then attended Grand Canyon College (University) and earned a Bachelor's Degree in Education. Paula toured with a Christian ensemble called Didomi for a year before heading off to Baylor University in Waco, TX for her Master's Degree in Vocal Performance.

Nashville loomed as the logical destination for a potential singing career in Christian music, and Paula moved to Music City. Her day job at a law firm paid the bills, and after a while, like so many budding performers before her, Paula decided she liked the stability of the day job. She also became very involved at First Baptist Church in Nashville, teaching preschool Sunday School, enjoying the young singles group, leading a youth choir, and singing in the choir and ensembles.

What had been labeled as Paula's "bossiness" by elementary school teachers became an asset in the workplace, now considered "leadership." Paula migrated naturally into law firm management, and by 2000 was involved in the Association of Legal Administrators. She began serving the Middle Tennessee ALA Chapter, and by 2007 had moved into an international leadership role, culminating in her election as President of ALA in 2014-2015. She loved traveling all over, meeting new people, mentoring, and collaborating with her colleagues. She had found her calling.

Paula was an avid sports fan and it would be difficult to find anyone who loved the Predators hockey team more than she. She also had a deep love and patience for babies and children, and though she had no biological children, was a devoted and doting Auntie to many. In recent years, Paula became President of the board of Safe Haven Family Shelter, and served on the board of Focus Ministries, an international evangelistic ministry headquartered in Pagosa Springs, CO.

Paula was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia on December 31st and died fifteen days later. She is survived by her parents, Paul and Barbara of Sun City, sister Sherbonné (Dale) of San Francisco, brother Stephen (Kathie) of Phoenix, niece Stephanie of Phoenix, nephew Ellis of Spokane WA, and a host of relatives, friends and colleagues in Nashville and all over the world who loved her dearly.

Paula's virtual memorial service will be held on Sunday, April 11, 2021, at 1:00Pacific/ 2:00Mountain/ 3:00Central/ 4:00Eastern at this Vimeo link:

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Safe Haven Family Shelter!/donation/checkout or Focus Ministries

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Arizona Republic from Jan. 29 to Apr. 9, 2021.
Memories & Condolences
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13 entries
February 6, 2021
Paula was such a role model to me when I was a preteen/teen. I wanted to be her; her kindness, love, warmth, and encouragement touched my soul and put me on the path of true servant hood. Her spirit will always be near. See you soon Miss Paula ✝
EJ Jamsgard
February 5, 2021
Our family have been friends with the Barnes family for years. Knowing the family from First Southern Baptist Church in Phoenix, AZ. Praying for your family during this time of Paula's passing. Knowing you will see here again in heaven. May God give you peace and comfort. Love you all. Please let us know when an online service will be. Thank you.
Darlene Secrest Campbell
February 3, 2021
Our hearts are hurting at the loss of our lovely friend, Paula. While our parents were friends years before Paula and I were born, we met when she moved to TN in the 1980s. Paula's smile lit up a room when she entered. She loved us, our kids, and our family. Every memory we have of her, is precious. We shared many moments, some of them just silly . She graced us with song at our wedding, and later at my dad's very special. Her infectious laughter still makes me smile! Our lives are blessed by having Paula as our dear friend. I hope that the love she shared, will bring you peace and much joy. I miss her.
Daphne and Jim McCool
February 2, 2021
While I did not know Paula, her daddy and her brother have been my friends for many years. My sympathies to out to each of them, as well as to the entire Barnes family. Rest in peace.
Tom Rhodes
January 31, 2021
Dear Barnes Family, I am so saddened to hear of your loss. What a talented young woman she was. No doubt she is singing in the Heavenly choir along with my father, Amos Coffey and my brother, Kent. May God wrap you in his loving arms. In Christian Love, Judy Coffey Antrim
Judy Coffey Antrim
January 31, 2021
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Kathleen and Mark Walker
January 30, 2021
So sad to hear this news! I graduated with Paula from McClintock High School in 1978 and sang in the A Capella Choir with her. Paula had a beautiful voice and hit those high notes with ease and confidence! She was a kind person and lived her faith daily! We can be sure that she is in the arms of Jesus right now and that those who believe will see her again!
My condolences to the Barnes family. God bless you and be your comfort in this extremely difficult time.
Cindy Nothum Vander Molen
January 30, 2021
Our heart goes out to all who knew and loved Paula and especially her immediate family. She will be greatly missed.
Alicia and Dolf Schilder
January 29, 2021
Paula certainly packed a lot of living into the years God gave her. What a blessing she was to so many! I know the family that has gone on ahead of her is rejoicing to have her with them, even as we miss her. Holding all of you that grieve close in our hearts.

Peter and Kathy Spiel
January 29, 2021
So many times when really good singers sing, they're showing off. You see that a lot in pop music. With Paula, it was never like that. She had the voice of a choir of angels and it was as if it wasn't done by her, but through her. It was as if it was emptied of any vanity and what remained was simply beautiful--the voice of that which is divine. The world is a less musical place without her in it. My blessings and peace to family.
Tom Stovall
January 29, 2021
Rest in Peace Paula. I will miss you. Godspeed.
Lori Mandell
January 29, 2021
You will be missed my Dear Cousin. Your beautiful voice and personality was 2nd to none. Heaven now has one of their own back. Love you my Dear Cousin.
Thomas, Susan Hale
January 29, 2021
Paula at the 2016 Annual ALA Conference in Los Angeles at the Welcome Reception where all of the Board Members dressed up given we were in Hollywood and all. And, this was Paula....all class and sass! Paula sure left her mark on ALA in so many ways, and our organization is better for her leadership!
Teresa Walker
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