Paula Polatschek Wiesenfeld: May 11, 1944 - June 5, 1972

Bangkok, Thailand
May 11. 2009

Dearest Family and Friends,

This month and the next was always a difficult time of the year for me and my late parents.

My younger sister Paula Carol was born on May 11, 1944. She passed away on June 5, 1972.

Paula would have been sixty-five today. I am sure that it would have been a joyous birthday for her.

Paula was devoted to our parents, Ruth and Otto who were blessed with a slightly rebellious, yet loving and respectful daughter. Paula was admiring and proud of her older brother.

Paula loved her husband Stephen, and Stephen loved her. Paula never saw her new-born son Jason. Jason never knew his mother. But those of us who knew Paula remember a generous and caring woman.

When Paula was a young girl, she wove potholders that she sold for The March of Dimes. When she was a College student, she lit a menorah in her dormitory and shared the story of Hanukkah with her classmates at Michigan State University.

And was Paula ever smart! In grade school her arithmetic homework was so perfect that my mother was called to school. The teacher suspected that Paula was using a teachers' guide.

Paula earned a Masters Degree in mathematics at the City College of New York and went on to teach at Edison High School in New Jersey. The school closed on the day of her funeral.

Paula always did the right thing. Paula never spoke an unkind word. She would become agitated and angry with me or my father if we spoke critically or cruelly or made fun of someone. Until this very day, Paula is my guide. My memory of Paula is my moral compass. Rest in peace, my dear sister. You are always with me.

Paula's powerful influence went beyond her friends and family. One need only Google her married name, Paula Wiesenfeld, or her maiden name, Paula Polatschek, to discover how her life and death affects every American.

Jason placed a lovely photograph of his mother in a prominent place in his home in Miami. I have two photos here with me. One, when we were very young children. Another when Paula was a College graduate. In all the photos, Paula's warmth and good nature are ever present.

All who knew Paula remember her with love and affection.

Our memory of Paula truly is a blessing.

Paula's Yahrzeit (the anniveresary of her passing away) is the Hebrew calendar date, 23 Sivan.