Obituary: Paula Mark, Retired Reference Librarian

Paula Mark, 92, of South Deerfield, a retired reference librarian, died Aug. 24.

Born Paula Frances Rathbone on June 20, 1926, in Wellington, New Zealand, she completed her secondary education at the Queenstown Girls High School, to which she had won a scholarship. She was lead girl in her senior year and went on to obtain two degrees at the University of Otago in Dunedin, N.Z., a bachelor’s in philosophy (1947) and a master’s in psychology (1949, magna cum laude), the latter supported by a Shirtcliffe Fellowship.

She worked as assistant to Otago University’s vice chancellor until her marriage to Charles Mark in 1952 and emigrated to the U.S. with her husband and daughter Vera in 1954.

She worked as director of the Copiague Memorial Public Library on Long Island while her husband expanded his teaching career. Her academic talents were recognized by the scholarship that she won upon admittance to Columbia University, where she completed a master’s in library service in one year (1965-66) while commuting daily from Copiague into the city on the Long Island Rail Road.

In 1971 the family moved to western Massachusetts when her husband took a position teaching sociology at the then-North Adams State College, and she joined UMass Amherst as a reference librarian. She continued in that role until her retirement in 1995, working the last two years part-time.

She was the first librarian to serve as secretary of the Faculty Senate.

Upon her retirement, she was recognized with a lifetime achievement award by the state Legislature.

In the early part of her retirement she continued service to her local community, volunteering at the South Deerfield Tipton Library and later as a S.H.I.N.E counselor in Greenfield.

She is survived by Charles, 95, her husband of 66 years; and her daughters Vera of Leverett and Judith and her husband Peng of Amherst.

Those who wish to honor her memory may support their local library or any organization with a strong social justice commitment.

Calling hours at Wrisley Funeral Home, South Deerfield, will be Sunday, Sept. 9 from 3-5 p.m. A memorial service will be held at the Campus Center on Sunday, Nov. 11 from 2-4 p.m.