xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Paula Deadwyler, Baltimore Housing Authority manager and owner of William Donald Schaefer’s former West Baltimore home, dies

Paula Lynette Deadwyler worked for Bon Secours Hospital and Goodwill Industries as a jobs counselor.
Paula Lynette Deadwyler worked for Bon Secours Hospital and Goodwill Industries as a jobs counselor. (Gene Sweeney Jr. / Baltimore Sun)

Paula Lynette Deadwyler, a former Housing Authority of Baltimore City manager who later purchased former Gov. William Donald Schaefer’s home in West Baltimore, died of early onset Alzheimer’s disease complications May 30 at New Life Assisted Living in Elkridge. She was 61.

Born in Cleveland, she was the daughter of Mildred Reid, a department store worker, and Claude J. Reid, who served in the Merchant Marine.

Advertisement

Her family later settled in Baltimore. She attended Belmont Elementary School and William H. Lemmel Middle School.

She was a 1977 graduate of Western High School, was a member of the school’s drill team and was a Fashionette — a member of a fashion club.

Advertisement
Advertisement

“She was full of humor,” said her sister, Wendy Simpkins of Ellicott City. “She was the kind of person who [could] get everyone laughing.”

Her niece, Laura Johnson, said, “She had a generous spirit and was honest. She once found money on the floor of a store and insisted on turning it in. It was not her money and there was no ‘losers/keepers’ with her.”

She attended the University of Maryland, College Park and was named an Alpha Phi Alpha queen. She later transferred and completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Baltimore, earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

She joined the Housing Authority of Baltimore City and rose to become an assistant manager.

Advertisement

“Helping people was second nature to Paula, and all the residents and kids loved her there,” her niece said. “But make no mistake, she’d issue an eviction in a heartbeat if you didn’t pay the rent.”

She later was a property manager at the Cherry Hill apartments in Cherry Hill and then opened a day care business on Belmont Avenue.

“She absolutely loved children and claimed the title of God mommy to so many,” said her niece, Laura. “She was regarded as a top-notch babysitter in our family and she could ensure that everything was fun and games. She loved treks to Kings Dominion with her nieces, nephew and cousins.”

She later worked for Bon Secours Hospital and Goodwill Industries as a jobs counselor.

“She had a gentle and angelic spirit,” said her daughter, Marisa Gardner. “She was always busy and had plenty of energy. She liked the company of her friends. She loved to decorate and had something new for every holiday.”

Ms. Deadwyler was featured in The Baltimore Times when she hosted a backyard tea party for her daughter and friends. The children dressed in white gloves and frilly dresses and she served fancy sandwiches and sweet treats.

“She gained celebrity status when Governor William Donald Schaefer passed away and the funeral procession stopped at his former residence on Edgewood Street, where Paula lived for many years,” said her niece, Laura.

Mr. Schaefer, who remained in the home during his terms as city councilman and mayor, sold it to her after completing his second term as governor.

In a 2011 Sun story, Ms. Deadwyler said the home had “hardwood floors inlaid with darker bands of wood, the abacus-like vent over the kitchen door and the white banister leading to the second floor.”

She noted that she collected stacks of letters to addressed to “the Hon. William Donald Schaefer” over the years, invitations to symphonies and balls on cream-colored stationery.

“Believe me, we were tempted many times to go to these events ourselves, but we never did,” she said in the 2011 Sun article.

She said that after buying the home she found some of the former governor’s tools and hardware supplies in its basement.

When Mr. Schaefer died that year, his coffin was conveyed to his former Edgewood Street home and Ms. Deadwyler handed a bouquet of flowers to the Schaefer mourning party.

Her family said she was a fan of the British royal family and enjoyed hearing about the life of Princess Diana.

“Paula was a trustworthy and giving person,” said her husband, Reginald Deadwyler. “Before I met her, I’d been engaged three times and I thought I’d never marry. She was always trying to help someone.

“She was creative. She coordinated our wedding and made it a beautiful thing,” Mr. Deadwyler said. “She was really a Renaissance person. She loved the arts and theater. We attended the Arena Players in Baltimore. She liked jazz and one of the last performers we saw together was Chris Botti.”

She also coordinated baby showers, tea and dinner parties, as well as weddings.

“She could bring a basketful of tulle, butter mints and silk flowers for any occasion that called for it,” her niece said. “She also had an eclectic music playlist that likely included her favorite artists, like Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand, Dionne Warwick and Elvis Presley.”

She formerly belonged to Ames Memorial United Methodist Church. She later joined First United Church of Jesus Christ and most recently belonged to Transformation Church of Jesus Christ.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Vaughn Greene Randallstown Chapel at 8728 Liberty Road.

In addition to her daughter, niece and sister, survivors include her husband of 20 years, Reginald Deadwyler, a process server in the Baltimore City Sheriff’s Department; a brother, Anthony Reid of Baltimore; and two grandsons. She was formerly married to Michael Gardner.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement