Paulina Miaw Jin Zillman
July 5, 1939 – March 20, 2020
Our dear sweet Paulina's final journey is over. On Friday, March 20 while sleeping and with her husband Rick at her bedside, Paulina went to be with her Heavenly Father.
Left to cherish Paulina's memory are her husband of 48 years Rick; sisters Rosalind Chung and Nancy Tsui; brother Raphael (Jennifer) Hwang; sister-in-law Wendy Zillman; nieces Yeefun (Eddy) Yan, Esther (Erik) Wang, Korina (Luke) Hogan, Katheryn Tsui, Florence (Sean) Hwang, and Justine Hwang; and nephews Joseph (Michelle) Chung and Joel (Meghan) Zillman.
Paulina was predeceased by her parents Shaolin and Check Hwang.
Paulina was born in the city of Chengdu in the province of Sichuan China in 1939. During those war years, because her father was serving as a pilot in the air force, the family moved to several different air bases in China, and finally to Taiwan. When she was once asked why she had no baby photos of herself, she simply said, "Oh, I was born in a bomb shelter.” Growing up in Taiwan, because she was the eldest sibling, even as a child she took on the responsibility of caregiver because her mom was bedridden with pneumonia and her dad was often away from home.
Paulina graduated with a BScAg degree from Zhongxing University in Taiwan, with a MScHort degree from University of Saskachewan, and a PhDAg degree from University of Manitoba. After settling in Winnipeg with Rick in 1972, she began an enjoyable and rewarding career as a high school teacher which spanned 37 years. Her career lasted so long because her students and colleagues genuinely liked and respected her. The first half of her teaching career was spent teaching Biology at St. Norbert Collegiate. The second half was spent writing a curriculum and then teaching a pilot Mandarin language program at Vincent Massey Collegiate in Winnipeg. Between postings she spent one year teaching Mathematics at Women's University in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.
For 35 years, Paulina volunteered teaching Saturday morning Mandarin classes to Grade 2 and 3 children at Manitoba Academy of Chinese Studies. During that time, she served on a committee that developed curriculums and published Grade 1-6 textbooks for teaching Mandarin. For 25 years, she served as part of the editorial staff of Manitoba Chinese Post. For several years, she was also involved with the American Field Services teacher exchange program, both hosting visiting teachers from Thailand and being hosted herself in Thailand on two occasions. Paulina spent many years serving as a volunteer at the Spence Street Thrift Store associated with the Pregnancy Distress Centre in Winnipeg.
Paulina loved to travel to see new places and especially to meet new people. During their marriage, Paulina and Rick made countless trips together all over the world. One of the most memorable was a trip to the province of Sabah, East Malaysia on the island of Borneo, where they climbed to the 4100 meter summit of Mount Kinabalu. Paulina's main interest in this bizarre endeavour was to see firsthand the vast variety of orchids growing on Kinabalu's slopes.
For the past 16 years, Paulina and Rick spent their winters at Pine to Palm Resort Park in the city of Weslaco in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. There they made many new friends, and Paulina was able to engage in her lifelong passion for growing subtropical trees, plants and flowers. Paulina's other passions were gardening, cooking, baking, knitting, crocheting and Chinese knotting.
She was always experimenting with new dishes to cook, to the point that we started calling our kitchen "the lab.” She loved to bake cookies and cakes to give to family and friends. Over the years, she donated many of her baby outfits and blankets and knitted slippers to hospitals, both in Winnipeg and Weslaco. One year she outfitted an entire Grade 4 class of poor Mexican children with red knitted vests; they were all so proud to show them off when their photo was taken. The children or grandchildren of all her family members and friends received a baby blanket and/or outfit when the child was born. Many of these children, now as adults, still treasure Paulina's baby gift to them.
Paulina is someone who will be recalled many times with special warmth and affection because she was such a caring, compassionate and generous person who always put other's concerns and needs ahead of her own, and was always looking for ways to make others happy.
It is our intention to have a memorial service to celebrate Paulina's wonderful rich life at a later date when more favorable conditions present. This will take place at Church of the Way in Winnipeg, where Paulina and Rick have been attending for almost 50 years.
In lieu of flowers, those wishing to honor Paulina's legacy may donate to Cancer Care Manitoba at the Victoria General Hospital.
675 McDermot Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3E 0V9
- Online Donations
- A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.
Paulina Miaw Jin Zillman
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Ha and Brenda Nguyen
March 28, 2020
Dear Rick and family at the Church of the Way
We are very touched by the passing of Paulina. In 1984, as a refugee I was sponsored by TCOW, where Paulina and Rick were in refugee committee. I arrived and stayed with Paulina and Rick. I felt so welcomed and cared for. This love and care extended when I left Winnipeg for missionary work and got married to Brenda. I remembered when we visited our church, we stayed with the Zillman and enjoyed hospitality. They make time to visit us in Edmonton too. Paulina was very caring, wise and courageous with faith in the education environment. We thank God for the time He lended Paulina to us and it is sad to say good bye, even it is only temporary. Rick and family, we would like to share our condolence and may the Lord grant you grace when you miss her smiles and tender words.
Wendy & John Botkin
March 27, 2020
So sad to hear of Paulina's passing, yet what a gift to read this brief account of her life - so much I didn't know even after decades of knowing her through Church of the Way. What an accomplished, yet unassuming woman.
I was the recipient of one of her beautiful knitted quilts when our daughter Anna was born...
May she rest in peace in our Lord's presence... Sincere condolences to you Rick, in this difficult time.
Mae and Bill Day
March 27, 2020
Dear Rick: Bill and were so sorry to hear of Paulina's passing. Such a lovely and caring lady. We remember how important it was to her to help the unfortunate people, especially the children in the colonias of Progreso, Mexico. R.I.P. dear soul.
Ray & Ingrid Bodnaruk
March 26, 2020
Our sincere condolences to our golf friend Rick for the loss of your wife and lifelong best friend Paulina.
With deepest sympathies
Ingrid & Ray Bodnaruk
March 24, 2020
I have known Paulina for decades. With a few other members of the Chinese community of Winnipeg, we have worked together for several years to set up a Chinese curriculum for the study of Chinese language. Paulina's vast knowledge and great devotion to the promotion of Chinese culture have largely contributed to the successful completion of the said curriculum.
Paulina was friendly, sincere and cordial, always ready to help and contribute. She selflessly worked for the enhancement of the welfare of the local Chinese community. Her passing is a big loss to the Chinese community of Winnipeg. To her loving husband Rick, we address our deepest sympathy.
Barry and Elsie Biswanger
March 24, 2020
Our deepest condolences and hugs go out to you and all your families. Paulina was a great source of help, understanding, and love to all of us at Church of The Way. Her soft voice and little giggles will long be remembered. We thank God for giving us such a special time to spend and learn from such a special person.
Love and prayers always go out to you now in this difficult time and as we carry on with what God wants us to do now.
March 24, 2020
Our deepest sympathy to you Rick. Don and I have fond memories of visits with you and Paulina: Whitemouth Klepatz Reunions, chance breakfasts at CanadInn, funerals, and more. Paulina was very pleasant and friendly. Please let us know when the service will be held. Our sympathy to Wendy as well. Sincerely, Don and Darlene Reimer, Beausejour.
Ian and Katy Anderson
March 24, 2020
We remember Paulina fondly from our trip to China with Nexus Tours. Paulina was very helpful and we remember the day that she went into a Shanghai shopping area in search of a good quality genuine fake Rolex.
Our thoughts are with you Rick and your family.