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Paula O’Quinn Raley, 75

On Thursday, February 1, 2024, Paula O’Quinn Raley, loving wife, mother, grandmother and friend in Christ passed away at home at the age of 75 following an extended illness.

Paula was born on September 27, 1948 in Adel, Georgia to Paul McCullough O’Quinn and Delilah Mae Griffin O’Quinn.  Paula was a near life-long resident of Cook County growing up and living most of her life on the O’Quinn Farm, part of which is well-known as the “Peanut City” area.  She was devoted to her family, always proud of and honoring of her parents and siblings Derry and Mary Beth.  Paula was a 1966 graduate of Cook County High School, an excellent student, popular among her peers, and known as “Philos” by many of her friends for her excellence in advice and wisdom. Paula was the proud mother of two-sons, Blair (1974) and Heath ( 1979) and a wonderful wife to her devoted husband, Jackie.

Paula was very accomplished professionally, involved in community and civic organizations and educational affairs.  Throughout her life she was surrounded and admired by a large circle of friends, church family, and former students.  Paula graduated from VSU with a B.S. in Psychology in 1970 though she soon accepted a position as fifth grade teacher at West Berrien Elementary before becoming a wife and spending two-years at Rhein Main Air Force Base in Germany where she became mother to her first son,  Blair.  In 1976 Paula accepted a position at Cook High School as Counselor, Director of Career Planning and Journalism Teacher.  She received an M.Ed. in Counseling and Guidance, an M.Ed. and an Ed.S. in Administration and Supervision.  She served as Assistant Principal for 3 years and then Principal 8 years.  In 2000, Paula served as Superintendent in Evans County for four years and then returned home where she served as Superintendent of Berrien County for 6 years after which she retired.  Paula has had a vast list of accomplishments in her career in education.  She has been admired for her leadership skills and recognized as among the very best.  A few of her highlights are:

· Undergraduate/Graduate School Instructor at VSU     

· Superintendent of a National America’s Choice School     

· Principal of a Georgia Pay-For Performance School     

· National Exemplary High School Principal of the Year  (National Science Teachers of America)    

· Georgia High School of Excellence (1999), Cook High School    

· Counselor, Teacher, Department Chairperson of Governor’s Honors Program for many years    

· Outstanding Principals Award (1996) (Women Band Directors)     

· Cook County Pilot Club, Member of the Year, 1982,     

· Outstanding Young Women of America, 1980    

What is most significant to Paula, however, has been her life-long faithfulness in serving her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  She has been a devoted servant, raised by Christian parents and grandparents who were founding members of Massee Baptist Church.  She has faithfully served as Sunday School Teacher, the Ladies of Light Women’s Ministry, the Children’s Church Ministry, many committees, and a truly memorable experience as  speaker at the Massee Baptist Church Centennial Celebration in March, 2022.  Paula always set apart a portion of every day for Bible study, prayer, and preparation for her Sunday School classes.  The way she lived her life has been an example for all who knew her well!

Paula was preceded in death by her father, Paul McCullough O’Quinn, her mother, Delilah Griffin O’Quinn, her sister, Mary Beth Crawford and brother, Derry O’Quinn.  She is survived by her husband, Jackson “Jackie” Raley of Adel; her sons: Blair Barker of Sparks, GA and Heath Barker (Angie) of Princeton, WV; granddaughter, Lyndee Barker of Princeton, WV; stepson, Scott Raley of Camilla; step-grandson, Taber Raley (Laken) of Camilla; nephews: Jim Crawford (Layla) of Adel and Trey Crawford of Adel; niece, Jane Crawford of Atlanta; and sister-like cousin, Portia Best of Adel. Paula was greatly loved will be sorely missed.

The funeral service for Mrs. Raley was held at 2:00 PM on Tuesday, February 6, 2024 at Massee Baptist Church with Rev. Phillip Badley and Rev. Tommy Bussey officiating.  Interment followed at Woodlawn City Cemetery in Adel.  The family received friends from 6:00 PM until 8:00 PM Monday evening, February 5, 2024 at Boone Funeral Home.  Lin Parrish, Alan O’Quinn, Don Carnine, Harry Trutt, Mike Gibbs and Travis Smith served as pallbearers.  Ginger Carter played “The Lord’s Prayer” on piano and also provided accompaniment for the congregation in the singing of “Victory in Jesus” and “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” and Parker Raley sang “I Will Rise”.  

Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.boonefunerals.com.  Boone Funeral Home, Inc. is serving the family of Mrs. Raley.

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