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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.

Paula was an powerful, dedicated and tireless leader. She changed the lives of countless young people for the better. We are lucky to have had her in our lives.

Barbara Gage - Minnesota

I met Paula about 9 years ago when I was seeking out resources for my son. She immediately welcomed me with open arms and brought me into the Pacer family. Paula’s  life work and dedication to others has impacted countless families and she inspired those around her, wherever she went. Paula was always eager to take on big goals for Pacer and faced life with such optimism. She was a true force for good and will be so missed by all those who knew and loved her. 

Sara Sagedahl - Edina, MN

From a seed of an idea to a expansive agency, Paula Goldberg believed in the power of parents.  She believed in equality of experience for children with disabilities.  She believed every single child was a valuable member of our community. For these things I personally am grateful for the time Paula was given to support her visions becoming reality. Thank you Paula Goldberg. 

Suzanne Downs - St Paul

I had the pleasure of being employed at PACER Center for many years after graduating from college. As I embarked on being a "working woman", Paula's office was only a few steps away from mine. I was able to view this amazing leader in action every day. She inspired those around her and had a true passion for the work she was doing. She was a wonderful example for me and those around her. She will be missed by so many.

Now, I work at ACET Inc in Bloomington (not far from the PACER building) and I support an initiative to provide a community of practice for care coordinators for children and youth with disabilities across the state of MN. Many PACER folks attend our events. I want to extend ACET's heartfelt sorrow and grief at Paula's passing. She was certainly one of a kind!

Lisa Perkins Smith - Carver, MN

Paula never met a person she could not consider a friend. She made parents of children with disabilities feel welcomed and supported at the PACER Center. Her warm smile, sincere concern for others, and ability to make you feel as though you were the most important person she could speak to, all worked to build PACER into the success it is today. I was immensely grateful for her support as I navigated educational support for my sons, and honored to give back my time and support so her work would assist others. She was immensely proud of her own family and her love for them was always an apparent in everything she did. I pray each member of her family knows how immensely loved they are by her.

Suzanne Woods - Chanhassen, MN

When my wife Suzanne and I first received our son’s diagnosis, we were beyond overwhelmed. More than that, we felt alone . Paula and the PACER a family gave us so much more than tangible resources and effective advocacy - they helped us replace those feelings with ones of normalcy, connection, hope and empowerment.  I know that so many others who benefitted from Paula’s friendship tell similar stories. We are forever grateful that Paula chose to give so much of herself on this focussed mission and are so privileged to have known and worked with her - her warmth, her humor, her demand for excellence and her ability to challenge you to give more of yourself to the community around you.  Our sense of loss is profound and we wish peace and healing to the Goldbergs, the Sandbergs and all of Paula’s family. Thank you, Paula, for ALL you did, and the legacy you have given us all. 

Matt Woods - Chanhassen, MN

I have such wonderful memories of Paula upon my indoctrination into the world of Parent Centers. She was a true and natural leader and she supported and inspired me by her tenacity and gracious attitude. Thank you Paula for all that you have accomplished and the wonderful work you've done! You will be always remembered. 

Kat Lowrance - Redding, CA

When I first met Paula as a new parent center director over 22 years ago I was in awe. I had never met anyone like her. That remains true to this day. My heart goes out to all who knew & loved Paula and may her legacy help fill the hole that’s been left in so many hearts.

Bev McCarty - Charleston, SC

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