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In Memoriam

Paula Goldberg

Paula Goldberg, PACER Center Executive Director
Leading PACER 1977 - 2022

Read Paula's Story

PACER’s board and staff invite you to share a tribute or favorite memory.

I have known Paula since the 1990's, and the early years of PACER in the building on Chicago Avenue. I, too, have been an advocate of children with disabilities as a special education teacher, and most recently as a non-profit leader. Paula was a mentor to me, not only shining a light on the needs of children with disabilities, but also as an entrepreneur and community leader.

I recall sitting with her one time and she said to me, "this job really suits you". I've never felt so proud or so complimented. And then she handed me an autographed copy of Sheryl's book saying, "Here. You deserve this." I was so honored. I treasure that book to this day. Because it was from Paula, and she thought I was worthy.

In recent years, we not only dicussed our professional lives, but also shared about the loss of loved ones way too early, and commiserated about the trials of knee replacement recovery! Paula will be greatly missed as my friend, my mentor, and a woman who could lead with fire and kindness.

May her memory be a blessing.

Jennifer Lewin

Jennifer Lewin - Minneapolis, MN

I just learner of the passing of Paula.  I was a former Director of Parent Training and Information Center in Rhode Island.  For my entire career Paula was a mentor and example of true advocate for children with disabilities.  She will be greatly missed . 

Cheryl Collins - Coventry, Rhode Island

Dear Paula,  
The world has lost a leader, visionary and  relentless advocate. I want to thank you for being my mentor years ago when I oversaw CAUSE in Lansing Michigan.  You were always there to help me learn and navigate the new world of PTP.   As a result of your mentorship I went on to hold leadership positions in the public and private sectors serving persons with developmental disabilities and their families.  I always felt so blessed to not work at a “job” but to have a mission that guided me through life and my career.  I will always remember you calling  yourself  my Jewish mother and acting accordingly..

Many thanks and so much appreciation,

Eileen Richey

Eileen Richey (aka Cassidy) - Sacramento, CA

Oh what a stunner to learn of Paula's passing.  I was planning a work trip to Minneapolis and wanted to get together with her for a visit.  She was such a great advocate for the disability community.  Her leadership will be greatly missed.

Gary Lewis
Federal Project Officer
Department of Labor
Region 5 ETA Chicago

Gary Lewis - Chicago IL

I was so sad to learn of Paula's death.  She dedicated her life to wonderful and needed cause.  She will be missed, but I know that her life will live on in the mission and programs of Pacer.

Marlene S. Gar - Minnetonka, MN

Another first cousin missing Paula!  May her legacy live on in PACER Center and all the parent centers she mentored. It's all about parents helping parents who are helping children with disabilities.

Heidi Gilbert - Medicine Lake, MN

Personally, I have always been a firm believer that the people who enter our lives are put there for a reason. Whether their presence is a permanent fixture or a brief chapter in our individual life stories. I had the privilege of getting to know Paula during 2019. She was nothing short of welcoming and had the most amiable personality. 

Paula's devotion toward her fellow man was evident not only in her charitable works, but in her personal life as well. She had a great deal of familial loyalty and the love she had for her relatives was immense. From her children and their partners, to her grandchildren, and her extended family, Paula’s adoring pride was never veiled. 

Paula was well traveled and educated; this was apparent. She had the opportunity to experience much of what the world had to offer and that was one of the many reasons she was so personable. She took legitimate interest in the lives of those around her and authentically shared about her life as well! I have a distinct memory of speaking to her about my personal goals for my future as well as my career path. Whereas some might dwell on the difficulty it would take to achieve my goals, she spoke ONLY positivity, light, and support. To paraphrase, she advised me to remember that the people who make the biggest impacts often make their own paths and others follow suit. It is now far too belated, but I genuinely wish I had accepted her offer to intern under health at PACER.

Here’s to those who inspire you and don’t even know it. Here’s to those who spread benevolence and charitable empathy. Here’s to those who love them a good Vikings game! :) Here’s to you, Paula. Aleha HaShalom.

Thank you for being a part of my story.

Susie Mhango - Minneapolis, MN

I feel fortunate to have known such an exceptional humanitarian and leader. Paula surely made the world a better place. She will be missed.

Kathie Herel - Newark, Delaware

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