Paula Darlene Nelson-Guenther

June 2, 2018

Paula Darlene Nelson-Guenther, 78, of Duluth, Minnesota, passed away on June 2, 2018. 

Born in Novinger, Missouri, Paula attended Northeast Missouri State University (Truman State University), and graduated with a master’s degree in music history and piano.  

She met James L. Nelson, in Kirksville, Missouri, and after living in Columbia, Missouri; Springfield, Missouri; and Normal, Illinois; Jim and Paula were both offered teaching positions at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, and the Duluth Public Schools, respectively. Paula was a loving wife, mother, daughter, and sister.  She was married to Jim for forty years, and after his sudden passing at the age of 62, she was fortunate to have a second happy marriage with Joseph B. Guenther.  In retirement, she enjoyed world travel, alpine skiing, ballroom dancing, and also continued her love of music. 

Paula began her 31-year career teaching elementary music as well as high school English and drama in the Duluth Public Schools.  She became the head of music curriculum and was instrumental in creating the Lowell Music Magnet School.  Always strong-willed and determined, she returned to work just three weeks after her first son was born because the timing coincided with the beginning of the school year.  

Paula served on the board of the Duluth Symphony Orchestra as well as on the board of directors for Concordia Lutheran Church.  She was a delegate for the Duluth Sister Cities Program for Ohara Isumi-City, Japan, in 2001 and 2002.  In addition, after retirement, she returned to the Duluth Public Schools to volunteer in reading education with the kindergarten class at Piedmont Elementary. 

Paula was preceded in death by her husband of 40 years, James; her second husband of 14 years, Joseph; parents John and Pauline Hoermann, and brother-in-law Jerry Nelson. Paula is survived and will be lovingly remembered by her sons, Bryan (Janice), and Daryl (Tabitha); stepsons Jeff (Lori), Todd (Janice), Tim, and Kevin (Nancy); grandchildren Claire, Carol, and Virginia; step-grandchildren Joey, Bryan, Jill (Brandon) Graham, Erick, Ashley, Adam, Alyssa, Kaitlyn and Tyler; step great-granddaughter Kinsley Graham; sisters Francetta Trainer-Clark, Sandra (Fred) Young, and Linda (Crystal) Kenyon; and sisters-in-law Colleen (Fritz) Dreger, Gayle Nelson and Charlotte Hospers. 

VISITATION: Friday, June 8, from 6 to 8 p.m., and again on Saturday, from 1:00 until the 2:30 p.m. funeral service, all at Concordia Lutheran Church, 2501 Woodland Ave.  Interment at Forest Hill Cemetery, Duluth.  Memorial donations in memory of Paula may be made to the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, 130 W. Superior St., Duluth, MN 55802.

Arrangements by Dougherty Funeral home, Duluth, 218-727-3555  



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