Paula Maria Wyche Tookes


Paula Maria Wyche Tookes died on Feb. 8, 2017.

Paula was born on Oct. 10, 1948, in Miami, Fla. She was the second child of Gracie Thompson Wyche and Paul Howard Wyche. Raised as a Roman Catholic, she attended Holy Redeemer School and graduated from Notre Dame Academy, both in Miami. She attended Spelman College and received her B.S. and M.S. degrees from Southern University in Baton Rouge, La. She married Hansel Emory Tookes II on Dec. 29, 1971. They had two children, Heather Elise Tookes of New Haven and Hansel Emory Tookes III of Miami.

Paula built her life around spending time with her family, and she brought great joy to them all. She cherished the times with Hansel II, Hansel III and his partner Peter Ortega, Heather and husband Chris Alexopoulos, and their son Ryan.

Paula found joy in serving others — at work, at home, and in her community. She spent her career in human resources. She became director of human resources at Otis Elevator Co. in Farmington, Conn., and then worked at Florida Power and Light in Juno Beach, Fla., before retiring in 2000. Her life of service included serving on the boards of the Urban League of Palm Beach County and the Artist Collective of Hartford. She was also a member of the Links.

During retirement, Paula split her time between her homes in Palm Beach Gardens, Branford, Conn., and Martha’s Vineyard. She continued serving others wherever she was. She served on the vestry of Grace Episcopal Church in West Palm Beach, where she was a successful program leader and fundraiser. Paula was also an active member of the Obama Finance Committee, and hosted President Barack Obama at her home in Palm Beach Gardens, where she helped to raise critical funds for his 2008 re-election. In Martha’s Vineyard, she was a dedicated member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Oak Bluffs and an active member of the Cottagers. Paula also enjoyed travel both for business and pleasure, from the U.S. to the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia, always helping others.

Paula spent her life giving to family, friends, and the community. She helped many family members, especially nieces and nephews. She gave to Habitat for Humanity, built a house for a family in Haiti after the earthquake, gave to the United Way and to her churches.

Paula is also survived by her two brothers, Paul Wyche Jr. and Spaulding Wyche; brother-in-law Darryl Tookes; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

A celebration of life took place Tuesday, Feb, 14, 2017 at Trinity on the Green in New Haven, Conn. Interment was at Grove Street Cemetery, New Haven.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Paula’s memory to Smilow Cancer Hospital at You may designate funds to the Paula Wyche Tookes Memorial Fund by noting that your contribution go to the Yale School of Medicine, and adding the following information in the comments section: “Attribute this gift to the Paula Wyche Tookes Memorial Fund, c/o Julie Parr, YCC Development.”