In Memory of Harriett Paine

Harriett Paine passed away peacefully at the age of 93 on February 21. She lived in Downey since 1952. She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, aunt and friend. She lived her life with a strong Christian faith that was exemplified through her kindness and caring nature. Harriett was a successful Home Economist, Adult Education Instructor and Author.

She moved to California from Lime Springs, Iowa after marrying Eugene Smith during World War II. After the war, they moved to Los Angeles where she began her career as a Senior Home Economist with the Southern California Gas Company.

When it was time to raise a family, she decided to teach Adult Education Cooking classes which allowed her a more flexible schedule. Sadly, in 1958 she became a widow at the young age of 37. Years later she met and married Bill Paine and they raised their blended family together.

As an adult education teacher she taught hundreds of students in cooking classes that included Home Style Cooking, Barbecue Cooking for Couples, Mother Daughter cooking and many others.

In 1975 she began teaching an older adult program called OASIS through Downey Adult School. This was a program for learning, entertainment and socializing. She provided a different speaker or performer every week for hundreds of seniors. During this time she was instrumental in starting the Downey Adult School Tour Program. She along with countless number of students traveled on Day Trips, Cruises, Train Trips and Bus excursions. After 58 years and at the age of 89 she retired but was still active in Downey. In 2005 she was honored for holding the state record for the longest number of years teaching Adult Education. One of her proudest moments was when the Downey School Board named and dedicated a building in her name, The Harriett Paine Event Center. That was a real highlight in her career!!

She also wrote a food column for The South East News for many years. People would come up to her and say that they still use recipes from that column.

In the 1970’s following the San Fernando earthquake, Harriett along with two other Home Economists were pioneers in developing and teaching “Home and Family Disaster Preparation”. They saw the need for education on emergency preparedness and co-authored a comprehensive book and companion video titled “How to Survive an Earthquake: Home and Family Preparedness”. In 1978 this program was adopted by the United States Civil Defense Department in Washington D.C. She trained the directors at the Civil Defense Staff College on teaching families in their states. Harriett brought this acclaimed program to our community. Working with the City Manager and Fire Chief, she taught the City of Downey preparedness through churches, clubs, PTA and city employees.

She has enthusiastically served the community of Downey with her dedicated emphasis on helping people develop skills to improve and enrich their personal, home, and family life for over 60 years. She was always willing to accept a new teaching challenge or volunteer commitment. Some of these include numerous projects with The Downey United Methodist Church, overseeing the publication of Downey’s Rotary Club Cookbook, participating with Chamber of Commerce Street Fair and Career Expo, Member of the Downey Coordinating Council, The AAUW, The Downey Symphony Guild, and was an active member of Whittier Home Economists (WHEHC).

She was preceded in death by her husband Eugene Smith, her husband Bill Paine and son in law Tom Pennell.

Harriett is survived by her daughter Susan Paine Jamison, son in law Cary Jamison, daughter Darlene Paine Pennell, grand children Ellen (Dominic) Filippis, Tom (Laura) Pennell and great grandchildren Mathew Filippis, Samantha Filippis, Madison Pennell and many nieces, nephews and dear friends.

A memorial service and burial will be at a later date in her home town of Lime Springs, Iowa.

In honor of the years she spent on special projects in the kitchen at the church and knowing that upgrades are needed, in lieu of flowers memorials can be made in her name to the Downey United Methodist Church kitchen fund.



Published: Feb. 26, 2015 - Volume 13 - Issue 46