Paula Pascoe doesn’t look old enough to be near retirement age, but with a second grandchild on the way and twenty years as the Director of the Senior Center, she’s ready to retire. She will leave the position in August.
Paula leaves the Senior Center in good hands. Mary Lou Brewster is in charge of the kitchen, so the tasty meals will continue. Marzena Heimowski remains the transportation scheduler and there is a loyal staff of minibus drivers. An outreach coordinator will start soon. Parks and Recreation, headed by Peter Leclerc, will be the umbrella organization.
Paula’s path to the Senior Center was a little convoluted, but it was a lucky one. Early on, Paula wanted to work in a bank. Hazel Phillips, a Bay Path graduate, as is Paula, recommended Paula for the position of Executive Assistant to the newly-hired president of the First National Bank, Jim Wood. Paula worked there for ten years. While Celia Moffie was on the bank’s Board of Directors, Celia built an assisted senior living facility, now known as Suffield by the River. Working with Suffield’s Senior Center Advisory Group, Celia added a senior center to her facility and signed a lease agreement for the center with the Town in 1999. Celia asked Paula to be the Senior Center Director. The Center flourished until the lease agreement was terminated in early 2002.
Shortly after, the Senior Center became a town department. Paula was hired once again to be the director. Having no building until 2010, when the Senior Center moved to the vacant Calvary Episcopal Church, the Center began its new life, in late 2002, in a room at the newly built high school for a half year. Another six years was spent in the space once occupied by the movie theater in Suffield Village. And then the opportunity arose for a new space, an entire building. The estimated cost for the purchase and renovation of the church was $1,800,000. Except for $89,000 provided by the Town, the funding for the Center came from grants, private donations and fundraisers. On July 1, 2010, the newly revitalized Senior Center opened on time and within budget. The seniors and staff enjoyed the larger space with numerous rooms, outside gardens and a commercial kitchen, close to the center of town and abutting senior housing. Services and programs expanded. The Center thrived under Paula’s direction.
A huge garden near the houses of Paula and her son will be the source of Paula’s adventures in canning this summer after her retirement. Since Paula prepares delicious food from scratch with ingenious shortcuts, her staff has asked her to start a sip and cooking class. She might also help her husband Ken with his business. But she also plans to relax by her pool and play with her grandson and the new baby. And lastly, she will have more time to romp with her two golden retrievers, FASBe (Financial Accounting Standard Board) and IRiS (Internal Revenue Service), appropriate names for dogs owned by Paula and Ken, a Certified Public Accountant.