63, of Harbor Island, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, July 9, 2019 at her home surrounded by family and friends. She was the beloved wife of Joseph Metz Rollins, III for ten years.
Born in Rye, NY, she attended public schools in Rye, and graduated from Rye High School in 1974, where music was an integral part of her life. She was the daughter of Orial Redd (Banks) and the late M. Paul Redd.
Paula received a Bachelor of Music (B.M.) from Indiana University School of Music in 1978. Paula enjoyed a successful career in opera as a Mezzo-Soprano and toured the United States and Europe. Paula had a love of traveling and languages and spoke several including Russian. One of her most memorable performances was with the St. Louis Philharmonic Orchestra.
Paula utilized her musical training to accept an administrative position with the Institute of Audio Research in New York City where she served as Personnel Director and eventually becoming the Institute’s Dean.
Paula, a lifelong Democrat became involved in politics and soon heard the call to public service. Paula was appointed Deputy County Clerk of Westchester County by then County Clerk Andrew J. Spano and served through the end of his term. She next served as Deputy Commissioner of the Board of Elections for Westchester County and then as Westchester County Commissioner of Human Resources. She was the Commissioner of Human Resources for the City of Yonkers, NY before retiring.
Paula was a member of the NAACP, Vice-Chair of the Black Democrats of Westchester, First Vice-Chair of the Westchester County Democratic Party. Paula was honored to be elected as a Delegate to the Democratic National Convention. She was a member of the Electoral College which elected both President Bill Clinton in 1996 and President Barack Obama in 2008.
Paula sat on many Boards of various organizations, including the Westchester Conservatory of Music, Westchester Community College’s Professional Development Center, The Westchester American Red Cross, Yonkers YWCA, and the Black Women’s Political Caucus.
Paula was a strong and powerful advocate for the LGBTQ Community and Women’s Rights. Paula was generous with her philanthropy and was a staunch supporter of the non -profit Stages of Freedom, and their Swim Empowerment program.
During her retirement, she enjoyed being a member of the Harbor Island Garden Club and she enjoyed attending live concerts and music festivals.
In addition to her husband and mother, she leaves behind her brother, M. Paul Redd Jr., of Tuckahoe, NY; two step-children, Bailey Leighann Rollins of New York City NY; Andrew Pierce Rollins of White Plains, NY; cousins Ethlouise Banks, Howard Banks, Wayne Banks, and her beloved dog Diesel. A Memorial Service will be held on Wednesday July 17 at 11 am at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 168 W. Boston Post Rd, Mamaroneck, NY. Burial will follow in Greenwood Union Cemetery, Rye, NY. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Stages of Freedom, 10 Westminster Street, Providence, RI, 02903 (www.stagesoffreedom.org), Maury Loontjens Memorial Library, 35 Kingstown Road, Narragansett, RI 02882 or to the South Kingstown Animal Rescue League, 132 Asa Pond Road, Wakefield, RI 02879.
To plant a tree in memory of Paula Redd Rollins, please visit our tribute store.
Stages of Freedom
10 Westminster Street, Providence RI 02903
South Kingstown Animal Rescue League
132 Asa Pond Road, Wakefield RI 02879
Maury Loontjens Memorial Library
35 Kingstown Road, Narragansett RI 02882