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Nancy Mary Paolini
Jan. 12, 1952-Dec. 6, 2020
Menlo Park, California

Submitted by Carole Thurmond Wills

Resident of Menlo Park

Nancy Mary Paolini passed away as she wished, in her home, surrounded by her beloved four cats, having lived an active life to the end.

Nancy, whose grandparents emigrated from India and Italy, was raised in East Sacramento. While attending Sacramento High School, she was an editor for the school magazine, was elected to student government offices, and was voted homecoming queen.

After graduating in 1974 with honors from California State University, Sacramento, with a Bachelor’s Degree in English, Nancy attended graduate school at the University of Southern California. She earned a Master of Science in Education, specializing in reading. Following several years as a reading instructor in the USC Reading Center, in Jennings, Missouri, at Almond Elementary School in Los Altos, and Terman (Ellen Fletcher) Middle School in Palo Alto, Nancy discovered the joy of teaching English as a Second Language to adults. At Foothill College’s Los Altos Hills and Mountain View campuses, she taught primarily ESL students in both classroom and lab settings. In 1988, Nancy began teaching full-time at College of San Mateo in the Reading Department and helped create the ESL Department, teaching ESL reading until her retirement in 2018.

Nancy had many passions. After first attending the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in college, she was a regular patron for the next 47 years, always watching every play offered. Also, she was devoted to animals and animal care. For more than 35 years she volunteered to assist cats at the Palo Alto Animal Services. After retiring, she also walked dogs for Companions in Waiting and the Menlo Park Veterans Medical Center. Annual international and national travel were important in Nancy’s life. She also enjoyed reading, attending TheatreWorks, writing poetry, and making jewelry. Nancy’s other passion was fashion. She enjoyed shopping and conversing with many of the sales associates in the clothing and jewelry sections of Stanford Shopping Center stores.

Nancy is survived by her brother Larry (Lisa) Paolini, her nephew, Tony Paolini, and her niece Lindsay Yap. Her many friends, colleagues, and former students will deeply miss her.

You may make a donation in Nancy’s memory to (1) Companions in Waiting Rescue and Adoption, (2) Nancy M. Paolini & Carole R. Thurmond Wills Scholarship for ESL Students, c/o San Mateo County Community Colleges Foundation, or (3) Bay Area Cancer Connections.

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