Remembering Paula Conant, Berkeley Lab staffer and pet walker

Paula Anne Conant, 83, was active in the gay and lesbian rights movement, traveled widely and loved dogs.

Paula Conant. Courtesy of her family

Paula Anne Conant, 83, has died in Berkeley after a brief illness. Paula, who was a twin, was predeceased by two years by her sister, Jane Conant Blue. Both sisters died on Oct. 8.

Paula was born in Berkeley. She is a graduate of Oakland’s Holy Names High School and of UC Davis. Paula was the daughter of well-known Bay Area journalist Jane Eshleman Conant and Paul Eugene Conant.

She taught for a time with the Truckee public schools, working with developmentally disabled students. Later, upon returning to Berkeley, she worked as an administrative assistant at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory for about two decades. Paula’s deep love for animals led her to create her business, Paula’s Pet Care.

Paula traveled extensively and independently. Her copy of Europe on Five Dollars a Day was dog-eared. While a young woman, she traveled with her mother and cousin Robbie Eshleman throughout Europe and then on to the Soviet Union via steam locomotive. As recounted by cousin Robbie, one of the memorable moments from the trip to the USSR was attending a production of Boris Godunov where a live horse carried the Polish Prince onto the stage of the Bolshoi.

Trekking the High Sierra was her passion. Her niece Catherine Weaver recalls the thrill of being introduced to the mountains with Paula as her guide. Her niece and nephews remember Paula as a “fun” aunt. Her niece has a vivid memory of Paula taking her to see the brand-new Star Wars movie in 1977.

Paula and her first cousin, John Wahl, were active in the movement for gay and lesbian rights.

She was an active supporter of the Point Isabel Dog Owners group.

In her lifetime, Paula survived both breast and lung cancer and remained active until the very end.

Paula is survived by a niece, nephews, great nieces, great nephews and many cousins. She is also survived by her beloved companion Petey the Dog, who is now being cared for by friends.

A memorial service in pending. Her remains lie next to her sister at the Sunset View Cemetery in El Cerrito. Her relatives suggest contributions in Paula’s name to the Point Isabel Dog Owners Organization.