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 of Byron, James Joseph “Jim” Knowles of Macon, and William Mannheim “Bill” Knowles of Gray; brother-in-law, James Allen “Jimmy” Stokes, Jr. of Lizella; sisters-in-law, Barbara McBride (Mrs. James J.) Knowles of Macon and Betty “Ann” (Mrs. William E.) Gwathney of Buckhead; nephew, Andrew Maurice Stokes of Macon; niece, April Irene Gwathney of Huntsville, Alabama, and grandnephew Joseph Tilden Stokes, of Macon, along with her cousins: Sara Nell Buchanan (Mrs. Robert D. “Andy”) Andrews of Norfolk, Virginia; Alice Buchanan (Mrs. Thomas W.) Ryan of Evans; and Joseph Bernhardt “Barney” Mannheim of Warner Robins.
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, of Elk Grove, California, and Jeffrey Graham Gwathney of Warner Robins; three grandchildren: Mary Pauline “Maple” Gwathney, Gwyneth Jane Gwathney, and Walter Gareth Gwathney, all of Elk Grove, California; two sisters, Sarah Eleanor “Sallie” (Mrs. James A.) Stokes of Lizella, and Mary Josephine “Mary Jo” (Mrs. Harold J.) Dodson of Blythewood, South Carolina; three brothers-in-law, Harold J. Dodson, William Edward “Bill” Gwathney of Buckhead, and Clark Coe Gwathney II of Huntsville, Alabama; three sisters-in-law, Margaret Joarlyn “Jo” Brown (Mrs. John Wesley, Sr.) Knowles of Byron, Wynell Deloris “Nell” Watson (Mrs. William M.) Knowles of Gray, and Judy Sarah Gwathney (Mrs. Bobby) Hastings of Albertville, Alabama; five cousins, Doris Jean Buchanan (Mrs. John) Henderson of Nashville, Tennessee, James H. Sherwood and his wife Linda of Pensacola, Florida, Joseph C. Sherwood and his wife Janet of Houschton, Jackie Dale Mannheim and her husband Bill White of Canton, and Aaron B. Mannheim and his wife Joan of Blairsville; twelve nephews and nieces: Christopher D. Stokes of Lizella, Paul A. Stokes and is wife Laura of Cochran, John W. Knowles, Jr. and his wife Susie of Byron, Kenneth E. Knowles of Byron, Mrs. [Ginger] Knowles Nelms of Macon, Katherine Stokes (Mrs. David R.) Cott of Covington, Joseph M. Dodson and his wife Lori of Lake Wylie, South Carolina, James J. Knowles, Jr. and his wife Sherry of Gray, Carlos M. Stokes of Byron, Bryan W. Dodson and his wife Michelle of Brooklyn, New York, Reginald Edward Gwathney and his wife Amy of Daphne, Alabama, Deianira Marie Padgett of Huntsville, Alabama, Andrea Hastings (Mrs. Ty) Curren of Houston, Texas, Amy Sue Gwathney-Gorham of Pisgah, Alabama, Heather Hastings of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Sarah Hastings (Mrs. Brock) Lang of Albertville, Alabama, Clark Coe Gwathney, III, and his wife Jessica of Hartselle, Alabama, Kai Chestley Good and Charlie C. Gwathney, both of Huntsville, Alabama; twenty-six grandnephews and grandnieces; and six great-grandnieces and a great-grandnephew.
For friends unable to attend at this time, the service will be streamed live via the McCullough Funeral Home Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/mcculloughfuneralhome/live/.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Paula Gwathney, please visit our flower store.
Saturday, September 30, 2023
10:00 - 11:00am (Eastern time)
McCullough Funeral Home
Saturday, September 30, 2023
Starts at 11:00am (Eastern time)
Chapel of McCullough Funeral Home