Paula Charlene Rowlett Berry passed from this life into her eternal one on October 19, 2021 surrounded by her husband and her two children.
As one friend said, "She was a perfect wife, mother, teacher, and friend…She loved God first, and she loved all of us with every fiber of her being."
Paula was born the 3rd of 4 children to Charles and Bonnie Rowlett on November 14, 1942 in Anadarko, Oklahoma. After moving to Fort Worth, she graduated from Birdville High School. She chose to continue her education at Howard Payne University, pursuing a degree in education where she would begin a career as a beloved 2nd grade teacher.
During her college days, she met one of the basketball players for Howard Payne named Russell Berry and they fell in love and were married for over 58 years.
She was a loving mom and Gigi, a faithful friend, but perhaps Paula's greatest attribute was her role as a supportive wife. After graduation from Howard Payne, Russell became a basketball coach and Paula became a teacher. They spent their early careers in several small cities where her husband was the high school basketball coach and she taught school before moving back to Brownwood. Paula moved to Abilene in 1970 when her husband became one of the basketball coaches at Hardin-Simmons, and she began a career with the Abilene Independent School District.
She taught for 37 years and became the favorite teacher for many former students. It was a great source of joy for her to hear, "Mrs. Berry, you were my favorite teacher."
She and her husband were faithful members of Pioneer Drive Baptist Church and faithfully led several Sunday school classes, including the high school seniors, and most recently the Timothy class.
Paula avoided the spotlight, allowing her husband and children to shine. Yet it was her quiet, selfless encouragement that supported any and every success that happened in her family. She loved her annual weekends with her college girlfriends, "The Magnificent 7," gatherings and laughing with "The Gang" and playing bridge. And she loved traveling the world with her husband, who she still held hands with wherever she walked.
She retired from education, but continued a life of service caring for her grandchildren, and sharing one of her greatest giftings, her cooking! A Paula Berry meal was known to be an experience and her prized culinary treat was her famous chocolate-chip cookies!
She is survived by her husband Russell Berry of Abilene, TX; her son Jeff; her daughter Kristin and husband Tony Stevens, and her most prized blessings – her 5 grandchildren: Berry and Charleigh Stevens, Parker and Elliston Berry, and Jake Heaps. She is also survived by her sister, Jody Buckman, sister Sharon Driggers and husband Ed, sister-in-law Kay Berry and numerous nieces and nephews. And countless friends who she considered family.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Charles & Bonnie Rowlett, and her brother, Roy Rowlett.
A celebration service will be held Friday, October 22, at Pioneer Drive Baptist Church at 11 am with visitation on Thursday, October 21 from 5:00 - 7:00 pm, also at Pioneer Drive. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Howard Payne University or Pioneer Drive Baptist Church. Services are under the direction of The Hamil Family Funeral Home, 6449 Buffalo Gap Road.
Livestreaming of the funeral service can be found at: https://livestream.com/pioneerdrive/events/9904251