Paula S. Hokanson

January 4, 1937December 9, 2013

Paula Schnebly Hokanson born January 4, 1937, granddaughter of Sedona Schnebly, her paternal grandmother for whom the town Sedona, Arizona was named, passed away December 9, 2013 in her home in Tucson, Arizona. Born at a Presbyterian Mission Hospital in Rehoboth, New Mexico, as there were no hospitals on the reservation where her father was teaching, she spent her earliest years in northeastern Arizona. During World War II, she moved to Moffet Field, California, where her father served in the Marine Corps and her mother assisted in the war effort. Her four years in California were the only years she resided outside of her beloved Arizona. Paula received her teaching degree at age 21 from Arizona State College (now Northern Arizona University) where she met and married her husband of 57 years, John E. Hokanson. Their first teaching jobs were in Winslow, Arizona where she taught kindergarten. She and John moved to Tucson in 1963 where they continued their careers in education and raised three daughters. In addition to her loving husband John, Paula is survived by her older brother, Larry Schnebly and sister-in-law, Lee Schnebly of Tucson, and her older sister, Patricia Ceballos Schnebly of Winslow. She is preceded in death by her parents, Ellsworth and Lucille Schnebly. Paula is also survived by her three daughters, Mel Richey (Bud) of Memphis, Tennessee, Celeste Lewellen (Tom) of Scottsdale and Lyric Naquin (Gary) also of Scottsdale. Mel and Bud are the parents of John Price, 14, a student at Concord Academy. Celeste and Tom are the parents of McKenna, 21, and Hannah, 19 both students at Rhodes College in Memphis. Lyric and Gary are the parents of Cadiene, 20, a student at Columbia University in New York, and Grayson, 17 a student at Notre Dame Prep, headed to West Point Military Academy. Paula was particularly proud of her grandchildren's education given her longstanding commitment to early childhood education and 30 years of dedicated service to the profession. Paula was grateful and appreciative of the Christian communities to which she belonged including Catalina United Methodist Church, Desert Skies United Methodist Church, and PEO. In lieu of flowers, Paula asked that gifts be shared with the PEO Sisterhood, Desert Skies United Methodist Church or the Sedona Historical Society. A Memorial Service is scheduled for Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. at Desert Skies United Methodist Church, 3255 N. Houghton Road in Tucson. Arrangements by EAST LAWN PALMS MORTUARY.


  • Memorial Service Saturday, December 21, 2013

Paula S. Hokanson

have a memory or condolence to add?


receive updates when new memories are posted

Rio Light

January 20, 2014

A beautiful lady who has collected her wings. The last words we exchanged were "I love you". Beautiful memories.

December 30, 2013

Dear John and family and Friends,
P.S. Our grandkids in Minnesota told us of young man who died of cancer who recently wrote a song that is very popular in Minnesota area and on Facebook, iTunes…. I believe, “It says a lot. You may have heard of it.”
“Clouds” by Zach Sobiech. It went viral on You Tube and #1 on iTunes and Billboard Charts.
Karl M. Demer of Atomic K Records (our relative: a graduate of Catalina High School while living in Tucson, now residing in Minneapolis, MN and received an EMMY AWARD) produced and directed the choir at the singing in the Mall of America where 4000-5000 fans gathered to sing “Clouds” - Up, up, up…. Zach like Paula stayed positive right up to the end. Somewhere up in the clouds---our Paula---is also smiling.


Bill Kellis and Patricia McConnell, Tucson, AZ

December 30, 2013

December 29, 2013

To John, family and friends,

I first met Paula Schnebly in school in Mayer, AZ. In those years schools had Grades 1-12. I attended grades 3rd through 11th. My mother, Gladys E. Kellis, had taught Paula in Elementary School at Mayer as well as my younger brother, James T. Kellis and I. Paula's father taught us English and Algebra and her mother ran the cafeteria and fed us very well. Her sister, Patricia, also was in my same classes in High School. Patricia was a very studious and beautifully lady. However, she was more interested in one of the older boys than me. My younger brother, as well as the rest of my family, thought Paula was a beautiful, studious, polite, courteous young lady. My brother had a crush on her and thought she would be a wonderful girl friend. He or I never knew what Paula thought. My brother transferred to the U of A to finish his electrical engineering degree. On one occasion, my brother, Jim, came up to Flagstaff to visit me. However, the first thing he did was to go over to the girl's dorm to see if Paula would go out with him. There he saw John who came a-calling for a Miss Paula Schnebly. The house mother asked Jim if he needed help and seeing John he responded that he was here to see his brother. She informed my brother the he was in the wrong dorm. That was his end of that idea of a date with Paula. I later finished my B.S. at N.A.U. and Master Degree at U of A. My first job was teaching Science at Catalina High School in Tucson, Arizona where I met three lovely ladies named Hokanson which had many of the same outstanding qualities as a lady I knew by the name of Paula Schnebly. Paula (Schnebly) Hokanson came to “Back to School Night” at CHS and bouncing into my classroom stating “Hokanson girls belong to me”.
What a beautiful wonderful turn of events. If you knew the girls, they had the wonderful qualities of their mother. Their father, John Hokanson, was well known at Catalina High School and highly respected as one of the best band instructors at the completive High School events in Tucson. I did not know Paula's brother, Larry, at Mayer High School. However, his father, Mr. Ellsworth Schnebly, was very proud of him and often talked about his son's experiences. Mr. E. Schnebly was my Boy Scout Leader as well as my teacher. I also had Larry's “kids in class. They also had the fine qualities of the Schnebly family.
What I am trying to say is that Paula has a wonderful beautiful family who she was proud of and contributed to their lives in a very positive way. If there is anyone who deserves to ascent the pearly gates with pride, dedication and discipline it is Paula. Without a doubt, I believe she is up in the clouds looking down with pride in her wonderful life with many wonderful caring people and John, a devoted husband of 57 years.
John, you are the best thing that ever happen to Paula.
Take care of yourself.


Bill Kellis of Tucson, Arizona

December 30, 2013

December 29, 2013

Dear John,

I just heard of Paula passing away on Dec. 9, 2013
I am so sorry that Bill and I were not aware of the current status of Paula.
Paula was an outstanding person. Paula--may you REST IN PEASE

Your loss is our loss. John, please keep in touch.

Patricia (Tricia) McConnell

Pattie Amado

December 19, 2013

Melody, Celeste, Lyric and family,

My sincerest condolences on the passing of your Mother. You all are bright, beautiful, talented ladies and no doubt, made your Mother proud.

May your memories bring you peace, during this difficult time.

December 19, 2013

Melody and family,

Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Venisa and family

December 18, 2013

Our deepest sympathies to John, Melody, Celeste, Lyric and the entire family. Mrs. Hokanson (I never could call her Paula!) gave all of us so many beautiful memories throughout the years. Through Whitmore,Townsend, Catalina, college years, marriage, children and grandchildren her beautiful smile, gentle spirit, loving words and amazingly tasty popcorn made life more beautiful and meaningful. We will miss her, but know that the Angels have welcomed her into paradise. May God be with all of you. Love, Anne Terry Morales and the entire Terry clan

Blanche Berreman

December 15, 2013

Paula was dear to me, a long time friend. We were in the same graduating class in 1958 at NAU. She was a special person, so friendly and caring. It was a great pleasure to reconnect with her at our class reunion in 2008 and be in touch since then. She put up a great fight to live. My sympathy to Jack and all the family.

Jim Di Pirro

December 15, 2013

Please accept my sincere condolences.

Lisa Schnebly Heidinger

December 13, 2013

Loved reading these…Auntie Paula was gracious, generous, gentle and tough as anything underneath it all. She loved, she laughed, she lived deeply. I'm so happy for her I'm only sad for those who miss her…she's a lot to miss.