Monday, February 3, 2014

St. Pete mourns the loss of community organizer Paula Witthaus

Posted By on Mon, Feb 3, 2014 at 7:36 AM

Candle Light Vigil for Witthaus & Rapp, Jan 29
  • Lorraine Margeson
  • Candle Light Vigil for Witthaus & Rapp, Jan 29
In the driving rain just after sunset on Friday, Jan. 31, more than 100 friends and acquaintances of Paula Witthaus and James Rapp gathered on the lawn of her modest home at 2840 17th Ave. N, in St. Petersburg to comfort each other and to try to make sense of the brutal murder that had taken both their lives.

The candlelight vigil was organized by Chuck Terzian and Timothy Martin. Terzian, a longtime friend of Paula’s, had found the two slain several days earlier. He had gone to the house to check on them when he could not reach them by phone.

State Representative Dwight Dudley, a friend of Witthaus, spoke at the event.

The rain slowed and stopped for a moment as candles were lit for the much-beloved community organizer.

“I'd say it's a sure bet her inspiration will be felt for a long time to come, “said Lorraine Margeson.

Another friend, Carol Smith, left this message on Witthaus’ Facebook page: “Paula Witthaus will be truly missed and not forgotten. The voice for many, big hearted and a wonderful lady.”

If you were unable to attend the vigil, two services have been organized to honor their passing.

There will be a Memorial Service for both Witthaus and Rapp on Saturday, Feb. 8, at 10:00 am at St Augustine's Episcopal Church, located at 2920 26th Ave. S.

After the service a covered dish meal will be shared. All are welcome and everyone is encouraged to a covered dish.

According to the church’s notice regarding the service, Witthaus had been a member at St. Augustine’s since May of last year. It went on to say, “[Paula] had a significant impact on the members there both in her cheerful company and in her comments in our adult formation class.”

There will also be a Celebration of Life service held Sunday, February 9th at 4:00pm at the Maximo Presbyterian Church which is located at 3200 58th Avenue South, St Petersburg, FL 33712.

Please note corrections above: That information was obtained through an interview and reported in error.

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