Paula M. Polk
Paula M. Polk SOUTHBOROUGH Paula M. Polk, 59, retired director of Morse Institute Library in Natick, died at her home in Southborough on Oct. 26, 2008. She was the wife of Richard J. Wallace. Born in Memphis, daughter of Rosemary (Mahoney) Morrow of Springfield, Mo., and the late John W. Polk, Paula earned her B.A. degree in history from Beloit College in Beloit, Wis., her M.L.S. degree in library and information science from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo., and her Juris Doctorate from Western New England School of Law in Springfield. From 1978 to 1980, Paula was branch coordinator and assistant director of Waltham Public Library. She served as director of Leominster Public Library from 1980 to 1984, director of Wilbraham Public Library from 1985 to 1993, where she revitalized public library services resulting in a 118 percent increase in library circulation, an increase in library staff, an expansion of programs and services and a 100 percent increase in financial support, and as the director of Morse Institute Library in Natick since 1993. In her capacity as director in Natick, Paula oversaw all administration and fiscal management, personnel management, grant development, public relations and community outreach and served as the direct liaison between the library and the town manager and board of selectmen. Under Paulas leadership, Natick embarked on a major library renovation project, led the development of numerous alternate funding sources for library services which included grants, friends groups, fundraising and endowment fund, and active participation in all types of library resource sharing, and initiated grant programs that have raised more than $800,000 for innovative library services. She participated in the original feasibility study and fundraising program to establish the CW MARS automated library network connecting 40 academic, public and special libraries. She was a member of the executive board of the Minuteman Library Network, the steering committee of the Total Quality Management Team for the Town of Natick, the editor of the newsletter for the Natick Rotary Club, the Mass. Library Association, board of directors and clerk for Kids Connect Inc., member and past president of MetroWest Regional Library Systems, member and former chair of the budget committee of the Mass. Library System, treasurer and board member of the Natick Community Coalition, former member of the board of electors of the Center for Arts in Natick and was active with the Friends of the Morse Institute Library, Children First Natick, Natick Family Network and Autism Alliance of MetroWest. She was a former member and president of the Rotary Club of Natick, where she received the Paul Harris Award, which is the highest award given to Rotarians. In 2007, she was honored as one of the unsung heroines of Massachusetts by the Mass. Commission on the Status of Women, and in 2006, she received one of the Arc of Mass. Distinguished Citizen Award for commitment to providing education, outreach and support to the autism community. Although not a Natick resident, Paula had entrenched herself into the Natick community. Her vision for the library is a major reason for its success. Her strength over the past year, dealing with serious illness, has been an inspiration to all who knew and loved her. In addition to her husband, she is survived her daughter, Blake A. Poggi and her husband, Jeffrey, of Shrewsbury; her son, James V. Wallace of Southborough; two brothers, Michael and John Polk, both of Springfield, Mo.; her sister, Diane Ramsay of Westfield; and two grandchildren, Jason and Matthew Poggi of Shrewsbury. Relatives and friends are invited to attend visiting hours at John Everett & Sons Funeral Home, 4 Park St. ( at Natick Common, Tuesday, Oct. 28, from 4 to 8 p.m. Funeral service will be held at the funeral home Wednesday, Oct. 29, at noon. Burial will be private. Expressions of sympathy in Paulas memory may be made to the Natick Relay for Life, c/o American Cancer Society, 30 Speen St., Framingham, MA 01701.
Published by MetroWest Daily News on Oct. 28, 2008.
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12 Entries
Paula is one of the finest people I have ever known: wise, witty, warm and very alive to the world. More than her memory, the effect of Paula in your life will never fade, never diminish, never grow cold.

Will Sanderlin,
Beloit College ‘72
Will Sanderlin
March 27, 2009
i love and miss you so much mom.
James Walalce
February 5, 2009
Deares Family Members of Paula:
What beautiful memories I have of Paula in her special role of leader,professional, friend and colleague in Natick. My condolences go out to each of you at this time of loss.

I had the great privelege to serve with Paula in Natick from her appointment in 93 to my departure to Newton in 1998. Five very exciting and inspirational years for Natick when the Library became the sparkling jewel of downtown and the community as a whole. Her steady hand, loving care of the people, and dedication to the community at large were an inspiration to all who knew her!!

I hope you all can take some solace in her life of giving to others and I pray you will be strenthened by the memory of her place in your lives and those from afar whocommemorate her contributions-her friendhip to all of us and her life of good works!!

In Loving Memory
Michael J Rourke
Former Deputy Town Administrator
mike Rourke
October 28, 2008
The Veterans Oral History Project would not have happened without leadereship from Paula, Veterans are grateful.
Tom Carr, Post Adjutant Natick Post 1274 VFW
Thomas Carr
October 28, 2008
Paula combined vision, wisdom, drive, courage, and great kindness and creativity. It has been a privilege to know her, and she will be greatly missed. Deepest sympathies to all who love her.
Marguerite Krupp
October 28, 2008
My thoughts and prayers are with you at this sad time. Paula was an amazing woman, and her absence will leave a huge hole here at the library. She has been our mentor, our leader, our friend. She will be truly missed, but her legacy will surely live on at the Morse Institute Library.
Paula Plachy Welch
October 28, 2008
I worked with Paula very intensely during the design and construction of the Natick Public Library in the mid-nineties and grew to like and respect both her vision and her steady nerves in a complex undertaking. I know she will be missed in many worlds.
Patience Jackson
October 28, 2008
Paula was such a champion for all those who worked with her. She offered each of us opportunities and the encouragement to make the possible - a reality. I will miss her very much, especially the noise the keys around her neck made as she walked with purpose throughout the library.
Karol Bartlett, Morse Institute LIbrary staff
Karol Bartlett
October 28, 2008
You were a great public servant and extraordinary person. Your dedication to people and the advancement of the human mind and spirit will live on with those who knew you. Rest is Peace and God Bless.

Phil Lemnios
Phil Lemnios
October 28, 2008
Paula you are irreplaceable, the library will not be the same without you.
Jennifer McGillis
October 28, 2008
We are so sorry for your loss. Paula was a wonderful person. She did so much for the Morse Istitute Library. It is treasure for the people of Natick, thanks to her leadership.
May her memories be a source of strength for her family members and friends.
Sue & Ed Salamoff
October 28, 2008
You will be missed by all those you touched. Your employees at the Morse and a whole community is experiencing a great loss.
Tara McDonald
October 28, 2008
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