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Carolyn Paschal was a collector with a go-getter attitude

Thursday, January 9, 2014 | 10:08 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — It's hard to capture Carolyn Paschal in just a few words.

There was no end to her talents. She was a motivator, an educator, a woman who took the lead wherever she went. She lived by the philosophy, "Getting old isn't for sissies," her daughter Melinda Selleck said.

Mrs. Paschal was a strong woman, an intelligent woman, a woman who made her own path in life. Her mission was simple: Succeed, help others succeed, and have fun doing it.

Carolyn Smith Paschal, formerly of Columbia, died Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013, at Mill Vista Lodge in Highlands Ranch, Colo. She was 84.

She was born April 8, 1929, in Columbia to Roger and Agnes (Thompson) Smith. She married Robert Paschal at the First Baptist Church of Columbia in March 1951.  

Mrs. Paschal met her husband at MU. He was in the School of Engineering, and she was in the Missouri School of Journalism. They formed a close friendship shorty after they were introduced. He died in 1972.

When her husband died, "she carried on," Jan English wrote in a letter to Selleck.

"I was always impressed with how she got through when Dad died," Selleck said.

Mrs. Paschal's brother, Robert C. Smith, described her as courageous. She was the type of person who would pick the prettiest place she could think of and move there, he said.

Mrs. Paschal started her own executive search firm called Carolyn Smith Paschal International during the 1980s, a period when men dominated the business, her brother said.

"She was a go-getter," longtime friend Libby Reed said.

Her energy and professionalism carried her a long way.

Mrs. Paschal graduated from Hickman High School in 1945. She attended Stephens College, where she was very active in several honorary societies. After graduating from Stephens, Mrs. Paschal enrolled in the Missouri School of Journalism.

With three degrees under her belt, Mrs. Paschal began to make a career in the field of journalism and public relations. She was a newspaper reporter in Fort Hays, Kan.; director of the Office of Public Information at Stephens College; and a public relations director at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.. 

Degrees weren't the only thing Mrs. Paschal collected. She had a passion for collecting railroad antiques and vintage lady head vases — ceramic planters made in the shape of a woman's head. They were very popular from the 1940s to the '60s, and Mrs. Paschal had collected more than 250, her daughter said.

When she retired, Mrs. Paschal moved to Wind Crest Retirement Community in Centennial, Colo., but retirement didn't stop her go-getter attitude. She organized "how to" seminars for the residents there and became the co-founder of the Wind Crest Orchid Growers Club.

Mrs. Paschal is survived by her brother, Robert C. Smith of Columbia; a daughter, Melinda (Paschal) Selleck, and her husband, Rob, of Greely, Colo.; a son, Alan Paschal, and his wife, Donna, of Mechanicsville, Va.; five grandchildren, Elsa and Molly, both of Colorado, and Robert, Michael and Amber, all of Virginia.

Services will be held at 2 p.m. Jan. 18 at Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W.

Memorial contributions can be made to Scripps Institution of Oceanography Development Office, 5500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, or to Stephens College, 1200 E. Broadway, Columbia, MO 65201, or a charity of the donor's choice.

Online condolences can be posted at memorialfuneralhomeandcemetery.com.


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