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Sponsored obituary: Evelyn Foster Paye

Evelyn Foster Paye, a 60-year resident of Grass Valley, passed away peacefully on April 25, 2006 at the age of 97. Born in Petaluma, California on January 20, 1909, Evelyn Foster grew up on Bodega Avenue in Petaluma, loving the home of her grandparents across the street whose families had been early pioneers in the area since the 1850s. Evelyn treasured her memories of her family’s ties to Petaluma, where she graduated from high school in 1927.

Over the years, Evelyn became the Matriarch of the extended family that traced it’s roots to Bodega Avenue – giving love, care and support where needed. The one who could put a name to the face in any photograph of lives that began in the 19th century.

A love for music began early in Evelyn’s life. “We didn’t have much, but Mother and Dad made sure I had a piano.” Her music took her to Mills College where she completed her studies with a Masters in Music in 1932. She worked as a teacher, grade school and music, in San Francisco where she met Paul Paye when he was conducting a Bible Study Group. Paul and Evelyn would often visit her parents who had moved to Grass Valley in 1934. They were eventually married in 1938 and moved to Petaluma, starting a family soon after – sons John and Mark.



In 1946 Paul had an opportunity to transfer to Grass Valley. He had fallen in love with

the forests of the area and Evelyn’s parents were well established. When her sons were ready for school, Evelyn resumed her music teaching career. Hennessy School, Bell Hill, Grant and Washington School – a whole generation of Grass Valley students are able to say, “Of course I know Ms. Paye, she was my music teacher!”




Evelyn retired in the late 60s to begin two new careers, one – accompanying husband, Paul, on trips back and forth over the Western United States with an occasional breakaway to Europe and, two – attending every event and activity of her then five grandchildren. No one could have given more of oneself to the families of her sons than Grandma Paye. She was well-rewarded – lawyers, teachers, coaches, doctors, developers and professional athletes – Grandma was rightfully proud.

During the last ten years of Evelyn’s life she stared anew, blessed with two new grandchildren and now, great-grandchildren. Present at many births, she was ready again to begin what she did best – the gift of herself to others. Along with the new, she worked tirelessly to give to her husband, Paul, care at home in the last nine months of his life. He was able to die at home with Evelyn holding his hand.

Neighbors, friends from the Methodist church, associates of the music community and colleagues of the education fraternity all treasured Evelyn’s friendship. Her interest in their lives and well being was real, never perfunctory. To make Evelyn’s Christmas card list of well over a hundred people meant a personal letter-not a card”that always made you feel good about yourself, your family and the joy of the season.

Evelyn spent a lifetime giving to others – students, neighbors, friends and family. She will be missed but remain with all of us who were touched.

She is survived by her sons, John and Mark and their wives, Kathleen and Wendy,

grandchildren, John, Amy, Kate, Josiah, Grace, Stephanie and Alison, and great grandchildren, Emma, Jack, Hannah, Georgia, Sylvie, Clara and Elsie. Her younger brother, Wilmer Foster and his wife, LaRue, live here in Grass Valley.

Memorial Services will be held on May 20 at 10:30 am at Trinity Episcopal Church in Nevada City where Evelyn played the organ for over 25 years.

A contribution will be made to the new synthetic turf football field at Hooper Stadium

in the names of Paul & Evelyn Paye, continuing their interest in and support.


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