Paula Kay Spence, a longtime resident of Pullman and Colton, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Lewiston. She was 63. No services are planned at this time, but a celebration of life will be arranged at a later date.

Paula was born Jan. 11, 1958, in Platteville, Wis., to Dr. Palmer and Phyllis “Pat” Saner Anderson. She was the youngest in her family of six and grew up with her three older brothers. The Anderson family moved to Pullman when Paula was 4 years old. Her father, Dr. Anderson, was a teaching veterinarian in the Washington State University Animal Sciences Department. Paula graduated from Pullman High School with the Class of 1976. She attended beauty school and was a hair dresser around Pullman for a time.

She met James “Jim” Spence and after a couple years of dating they married Oct. 3, 1987, in Pullman. They made their home in the country near Albion and it wasn’t long before they started a family of their own. While Jim worked in commercial construction, together they chose for Paula to stay home so that she could raise their three children. They moved to their current home in Colton in 1993 and all three of their children grew up there. In their early years, they enjoyed trips into Pullman when their mom would take them swimming with friends, and going on vacations in the summer. In 2003 she bought herself a boat so they could spend family time boating on Lake Coeur d’Alene and Dworshak Reservoir.

In the fall of 2002, she began working at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories in Pullman. At the time of her death she had been with the company for 19 years as a senior assembler in manufacturing with the Recloser Controls group. Paula was known for her strong work ethic, and she thoroughly enjoyed her job and the people she worked with. She was known as a straight-shooter and was very opinionated and it didn’t take much to know exactly where you stood with her.

Paula was an active participant in her children’s lives. She followed their sports activities faithfully and drove all around the county attending basketball, football, baseball and softball games. She helped them raise their pigs for 12 years and the whole family attended not only the Colton and Colfax Fairs, but the Spokane Junior Livestock Show as well. She loved to barbecue and cook for all her friends and family and was always trying to perfect a new recipe. For the last 10 years, she and Jim enjoyed their annual winter trips to Akumal, Mexico, where she enjoyed spending time bartering in the markets, eating local cuisine and just relaxing on the beach and working on her tan. She was someone who loved to give, and would spoil her kids and grandkids with random gifts and had great fun shopping for them. She was taken far too soon and will be missed by many in the community.

Paula is survived by her husband, Jim, at their Colton home; her three children of whom she was so proud, Kimberley (Levi) Hunt, of Troy, Afton (Jake) Maasdam, of Lewiston, and Taylor Spence, of Colton; her two beautiful granddaughters, Ali James and Kennedy Elise; and by her brother Mike Anderson, of Boise; as well as her nieces, nephew and extended family. She was preceded in death by her parents and by two brothers, Wayne and Bob Anderson. The family suggests memorials be made to a charity of the donor’s choice. Online guest book is at

Kimball Funeral Home of Pullman is in charge of the arrangements.

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