Paula Jene Hopkins Kelly, who rarely revealed her true age and according to most accounts “turned 16 every year,” passed away on October 11th, 2022. Born on November 21st, 1952 in Colfax, WA to Wayne and Eunice Hopkins, she graduated Pullman High School in 1971, and then embarked upon a lifetime of adventures.
Best remembered for her incandescent love, Paula was the truest friend and confidante one could wish for, and she would go out of her way to lend a hand to any soul in need. According to her, there were no strangers, and she quickly endeared herself to anyone who crossed her path.
To call her an energetic spirit would be an understatement. In Paula’s words, she was “a big little kid,” and forever the life of the party. She was joy, laughter, and pure heart, wrapped up in one little package that packed quite the punch.
The volume of her life held a multitude of chapters, and even more that she did not yet have the opportunity to live out. Her curiosity, coupled with her desire to connect with others, inspired a taste for travel and adventure. Featured among her fondest memories were stories she told of volunteering with civil rights groups in Jackson, MS, starting a wine export business while living in Paris, living in the hillside caves of a Spanish gypsy community, marrying in Mexico, and living in Chile, Los Angeles, and Boston. But if you were to ask her, she would say that the most cherished chapter of her life began the day that she became a mother.
She recently retired from a career at St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond, VA, where she worked primarily with orthopedic patients. She has also maintained an active role in the operations of Amber Grove, a wedding and special events venue in Moseley, VA, since 2003.
A woman of unwavering faith, Paula relied upon this faith to guide her through all challenges. She is preceded in death and welcomed with loving arms into His kingdom by her parents Wayne and Eunice Hopkins, sister Donna Chatman, and brother Ron Hopkins.
She is survived by her daughter Kristina Kelly, sister Lonna Heaton, and brothers Jack, Tony, Jimmy, and Bronco Hopkins, as well as her dear friends John McBride and Austin Auandee, and innumerable other friends and family members.
Paula’s love leaves an immeasurable void, but her light is one that will carry on in the hearts of all who adored her.