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Paula Gwathney

February 22, 1943 — September 22, 2023

Paula Knowles (Mrs. Walter Graham) Gwathney, aged 80 years, died Friday, 22 September 2023 at her home in Warner Robins, Georgia. Third child and second daughter of Paul Wesley Knowles and his wife, the former Miss Josephine “Jack” Mannheim, Paula was born and reared in Macon. She was the granddaughter of William M. “Jim” Knowles and his wife, Ella Rigby, and Joseph Mannheim and his wife, Sarah “Sallie” Durden.

The family will greet friends, Saturday morning, September 30, 2023, between 10:00 and 11:00 at McCullough Funeral Home at 417 South Houston Lake Road, Warner Robins. Funeral services will be in the Chapel at McCullough Funeral Home, at 11:00 following visitation, with Pastor Marty Watson officiating. The family will also greet friends on Sunday afternoon, October 1, 2023, between Noon and 1:00 at Scottsboro Funeral Home at 1502 County Park Road, Scottsboro, Alabama, followed immediately by a graveside service and interment at Paint Rock Community Cemetery in Paint Rock, Alabama.

Paula was educated in Bibb County Public Schools and was graduated from McEvoy High School in 1961. Following high school, Paula married Walter Graham Gwathney, then an airman, from Scottsboro, Alabama, whose military service carried them to several places in the United States. After W.G.’s stint in the U.S. Air Force, the couple and their two boys settled in Warner Robins, where W.G. worked at Robins Air Force Base.

Before her marriage, Paula had begun her post-secondary education at the Georgia-Alabama Business College in Macon. She was graduated Bachelor of Arts with a major in English from Florence State College, now North Alabama University. She subsequently obtained a Master of Education degree in Library Media from Georgia College (now Georgia College & State University) and a Specialist of Education degree in Library Media from the University of Georgia. For thirty years, Paula worked in Houston County, Georgia, public schools, beginning as an English teacher at Warner Robins High School, where she introduced countless students to writers such as William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, and J. R. R. Tolkien. She later was the librarian and media specialist at Elberta Elementary School and subsequently at Northside Elementary School.

In addition to her parents and grandparents, Paula was preceded in death by her brothers, John Wesley “Johnny” Knowles, James Joseph “Jim” Knowles, and William Mannheim “Bill” Knowles; brother-in-law, James Allen “Jimmy” Stokes, Jr.; sisters-in-law, Barbara McBride (Mrs. James J.) Knowles and Betty “Ann” (Mrs. William E.) Gwathney; nephew, Andrew Maurice Stokes; niece, April Irene Gwathney, and grandnephew Joseph Tilden Stokes, along with her cousins: Sara Nell Buchanan (Mrs. Robert D. “Andy”) Andrews; Alice Buchanan (Mrs. Thomas W.) Ryan; and Joseph Bernhardt “Barney” Mannheim.

Paula is survived by W.G., her husband of sixty-one years, her two sons, Walter James Gwathney, II and his wife, the former Miss Jane Langit and Jeffrey Graham Gwathney; three grandchildren: Mary Pauline “Maple” Gwathney, Gwyneth Jane Gwathney, and Walter Gareth Gwathney, two sisters, Sarah Eleanor “Sallie” (Mrs. James A.) Stokes and Mary Josephine “Mary Jo” (Mrs. Harold J.) Dodson; three brothers-in-law, Harold J. Dodson, William Edward “Bill” Gwathney, and Clark Coe Gwathney II; three sisters-in-law, Margaret Joarlyn “Jo” Brown (Mrs. John Wesley, Sr.) Knowles, Wynell Deloris “Nell” Watson (Mrs. William M.) Knowles, and Judy Sarah Gwathney (Mrs. Bobby) Hastings; five cousins, Doris Jean Buchanan (Mrs. John) Henderson, James H. Sherwood and his wife Linda, Joseph C. Sherwood and his wife Janet of Houschton, Jackie Dale Mannheim and her husband Bill White, and Aaron B. Mannheim and his wife Joan of Blairsville; twelve nephews and nieces: Christopher D. Stokes, Paul A. Stokes and is wife Laura of Cochran, John W. Knowles, Jr. and his wife Susie, Kenneth E. Knowles, Mrs. [Ginger] Knowles Nelms, Katherine Stokes (Mrs. David R.) Cott , Joseph M. Dodson and his wife Lori, James J. Knowles, Jr. and his wife Sherry, Carlos M. Stokes, Bryan W. Dodson and his wife Michelle, Reginald Edward Gwathney and his wife Amy, Deianira Marie Padgett, Andrea Hastings (Mrs. Ty) Curren, Amy Sue Gwathney-Gorham, Heather Hastings, Sarah Hastings (Mrs. Brock) Lang, Clark Coe Gwathney, III, and his wife Jessica, Kai Chestley Good and Charlie C. Gwathney,; twenty-six grandnephews and grandnieces; and six great-grandnieces and a great-grandnephew.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

For friends unable to attend at this time, the service will be streamed live via the McCullough Funeral Home Facebook page at

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Saturday, September 30, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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