In Remembrance: Paula Marie Enyeart ’89MSN Died on November 29 2019

Paula Marie Enyeart passed away on November 29, 2019. 

In Paula's own words, she was a writer, gardener, and storyteller. Hopelessly optimistic, she was all of these things and so much more. Before we could comprehend that this beautiful soul was ill, she was taken from us, succumbing to a previously undiagnosed, aggressive form of cancer.

Paula Marie Enyeart was the second of four daughters born to Marian and George Enyeart in Bismarck, North Dakota, on August 13, 1959. She spent most of her childhood on the shores of Lake Audubon in rural Garrison, North Dakota. Paula loved the outdoors and appreciated all four seasons of recreation on the lake. Family camping and backpacking trips in Montana also left lasting impressions that she shared with so many others later in life. 

As a teenager, Paula was fortunate to belong to the Congo Teens youth group at the First Congregational UCC church in Garrison. Many values instilled there remained with Paula as she grew into her life of service. Paula began working as a nurse’s aide in the Garrison hospital while still in high school, graduating from GHS in 1977. She went on to earn her nursing degree from the University of North Dakota in 1982, spending time on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota along the way. From there, she joined the Peace Corps and spent three years serving the Indigenous people high in the Andes Mountains above Quito, Ecuador. We were all so proud to see her photo included in a feature story in the Smithsonian magazine! Many years later, she published her Peace Corps experiences in a book titled Squished Potatoes. Upon returning stateside, Paula went back to school and earned her nurse practitioner degree from Yale University in 1989. After graduation, she spent several years on the East Coast working with immigrants residing on the Delmarva Peninsula. From there, Paula moved to Cuba, New Mexico, where she quickly felt at home among the Navajo people. She worked for the local clinic and served as the school nurse prior to branching out on her own as “Paula's Practice.” In this endeavor, she broadly served the rural population in several locations, practicing both traditional and homeopathic medicine. 

Paula was active in 4H as a youth and credited the program for many of her life skills. She couldn't wait to become involved with the Sandoval County 4H program in NM—and involved she became! Paula served 20 years as a 4H club leader, spent 12 years on the Fair Board (most recently serving as president), and was inducted into the 4H Hall of Fame in 2007. Paula’s creative means for transporting kids to 4H meetings, camp, and the county fair are legendary, no one was ever left behind! She was in the process of writing a book about recent 4H experiences and plans are under way to complete this project on her behalf. 

We would like to thank the University of New Mexico Hospital, the UNM Department of Anthropology/Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, and Casa Esperanza for their loving care of Paula and her family. Continuing to serve until the very end, Paula donated her earthly body to science. 

The family also cannot thank enough the people of the Village of Cuba, New Mexico, and the surrounding communities. You embraced Paula as family from the beginning and gave her a beautiful memorial service to celebrate her inspirational life. Special thanks goes to the Torreon Wolfpack 4H Club; Paula was so proud of each and every one of you and loved all of you as her own.

Preceding Paula in death were her grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brother-in-law (Dan Gilbertson), close friends, and dear pets. We can only imagine their Heavenly reunion. Left to grieve her absence on earth are parents George and Marian Enyeart; sisters Mary Gilbertson, Laurel Enyeart, and Carrie Enyeart (Patrick); nephews Matt (Nakita) and Steve Gilbertson; niece Rivers Perry; numerous cousins, two aunts and an uncle; dogs "Molly" and "Angel"; and countless friends and neighbors.

In remembrance of Paula, take time each day to enjoy the simple pleasures in life, have faith, and spend less time worrying—and always find compassion for others. Paula was a strong advocate for free and accessible health care for all. Please learn about the candidates and vote. 

—Submitted by the family.

1 remembrance

  • Janet Goering Patin '88
    Janet Goering Patin '88, 5:48pm May 02 2020 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    I met Paula Christmas 1985 in Quito while visiting the parents of Eric Harris-Braun (ES '88); his mother Helen was an nurse for the Peace Corps volunteers. Five of us went hiking in the Amazon and got a bit off-trail, having to camp under a large tree in the warm but constant rain until we could find our way. I ate the dirt that showered down from the roots of our makeshift shelter every time I moved, but Paula got the damp end, rolling repeatedly out from under the tarp that was just not quite long enough. She was a good sport and a great traveling companion. Paula's energy and generosity will not be forgotten by any who knew her.

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