Cover photo for Paula Kaye Backwater's Obituary
Paula Kaye Backwater Profile Photo
1950 Paula 2023

Paula Kaye Backwater

May 2, 1950 — June 27, 2023


Paula Kaye Backwater, 73, of Salina, passed away on Tuesday, June 27, 2023, in Salina, Oklahoma. Born on May 2, 1950, in Henryetta, Oklahoma, she was the daughter of Robert and Mildred Middleton. Paula dedicated her life to education and left a profound impact on the lives of countless children.

Paula's teaching career spanned an impressive 38 years, with 30 of those years spent as a first-grade teacher. She poured her heart and soul into her profession and was cherished by her students and colleagues alike. Paula's commitment to education was recognized by the Salina Public School where she retired from after decades of service.

Her passion for teaching went beyond regular academics. Paula had a unique love for teaching children how to speak and write in Cherokee. She believed in preserving cultural heritage and instilling a sense of pride in her students. Her dedication to promoting diversity and inclusivity will be remembered by all who benefited from her wisdom.

When Paula wasn't molding young minds, she enjoyed indulging in some of her favorite pastimes. She was an avid OU football fan and found joy in watching the games with friends and family. Crocheting was another one of her cherished hobbies; she found solace in creating beautiful pieces. 

Television held a special place in Paula's heart, particularly when it came to her favorite shows like NCIS and Young & the Restless. These programs provided comfort and entertainment during leisurely evenings at home. And let us not forget about Goliath – Paula's loyal companion and beloved dog. Goliath held a special place in her heart; they were inseparable, providing each other with endless love and companionship.

Paula Kaye Backwater's influence extended far beyond the classroom walls. She impacted not only her students' lives but also left an indelible mark on her family and friends. She will be deeply missed by her son, Ben Backwater, and his wife Autumn of Salina, OK; her daughters, Holly Backwater and her wife Jessica of Hunt, AR, Amy Harding of Oklahoma City, OK, and Paula Waldroop and her husband Heath of Watts, OK. Paula is also survived by her brother Bob Middleton and his wife Becky of Sunrise, FL. Her numerous grandchildren treasure the memories they shared with their grandmother. She was preceded in death by her parents, Robert and Mildred Middleton; husband, Leroy Backwater; three brothers; and stepson, Kevin Backwater.

Paula Kaye Backwater leaves behind cherished memories that will forever be held close to the hearts of those who knew and loved her. She will be remembered not only as an exceptional educator but as a kind-hearted individual who touched many lives. Her legacy will continue to inspire generations to come.

A viewing in remembrance of Paula will be held on Monday, July 3, 2023, from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at Shipman's Funeral Home. Friends and family are invited to pay their respects and share in celebrating the life of Paula. To leave her family a message, please visit her guestbook at Arrangements are under the direction of Shipman's Funeral & Cremation Service of Pryor. 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Paula Kaye Backwater, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, July 3, 2023

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

Shipman's Funeral & Cremation Center

1204 N. E. 1st St., Pryor, OK 74362

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