Friends, family remember beloved teacherDEVILS LAKE — Less than a month ago, Paula Hartze bused a group of students from the North Dakota School for the Deaf in Devils Lake to Minot to perform the “Star-Spangled Banner” in sign-language before a state Class B basketball game.
By: Susanne Nadeau , Grand Forks Herald
DEVILS LAKE — Less than a month ago, Paula Hartze bused a group of students from the North Dakota School for the Deaf in Devils Lake to Minot to perform the “Star-Spangled Banner” in sign-language before a state Class B basketball game.
The trip and performance is one of the many ways Hartze brought her talent for acting and enthusiasm for teaching to students at the school. The event was one of many activities and moments in time fondly remembered by staff, students, friends and family during a memo-rial service for Hartze on Thursday in the school gymnasium.
Paula Hartze – who taught English at the school for the past 13 years — was stabbed to death last weekend by an as-yet-unidentified assailant.
No one at the service talked about the way Hartze died; instead, they talked about her love for life, for her cats, and for the school.
“Today is not a day to say goodbye,” said North Dakota School for the Deaf Superintendent Dennis Fogelson. “We gather today to remember Paula. It’s a memorial service to remember a little girl, as you see in the pictures around the room, with golden hair.”
Photos of Hartze with her brother, Jay Skabo, and her parents, Leland and Joan Skabo, filled several tables. The walls were decorated with pink balloons, and the hundreds of mourners wore special pink and black ribbons.
Fogelson spoke of a Secret Santa gift-exchange with Hartze this past Christmas, where he stuffed her school mailbox with Snickers candy bars, her favorite. And, a co-worker remem-bered a Las Vegas trip and a Motley Crue concert with Hartze, signing that even though she didn’t like Motley Crue, she knew Hartze did, and was happy to go with her.
A former colleague remembered Hartze joining a fishing tournament with a Mickey Mouse fishing pole.
“Well, what do you think that girl did? She out-fished us all,” he said.
Sarah Anderson, a former Miss North Dakota delegate who taught students at the school about bullying, tearfully described the surprise and elation of seeing Hartze at the 2005 competition.
“(Hartze) drove all the way from Devils Lake to Williston (N.D.) to be there for me,” she said.
“I will forever be grateful to Paula.”
Fogelson said the healing process will take time.
“I know we are all hurting. Each of us are trying to deal with it in our own way,” he said.
Hartze’s funeral is scheduled for Saturday in Dickinson, where she will be buried.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
The Grand Forks Herald and The Dickinson Press are both owned by Forum Communications Co.