Paulus takes top tiara in Pioneer Queen contest

To the hoots, claps and wild cheers of friends and supporters, 84-year-old Gladys Paulus was crowned Pioneer Queen of Auburn Good Ol’ Days during the 19th annual contest at the Auburn Senior Activity Center.

“It is an honor, and I’m glad I had all these friends in there rooting for me. I am looking forward to meeting a whole lot of new people and making new friends,” Paulus said.

Paulus’ court will consist of runner-ups Marie Manson, 85, Phyllis L. Migota, 80, and Nelva E. Whitt, 81.

The four women answered a series of questions posed by emcee Jim Kleinbeck, designed to sound them out on their feelings about the city and Good Ol’ Days.

Paulus, a South Dakota native, moved to Auburn 20 years ago from Prosser, with her late husband, Ray. The couple had eight children, four boys and four girls.

Every Monday Paulus pitches in at the food bank at the North Auburn Baptist Church. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays she helps out close friends dealing with various infirmities.

For 50 years Paulus has been involved with Job’s Daughters, a girls organization associated with the Masonic Lodge. She also served for 15 years on the King County Elections Board.

Recently Paulus completed the city’s Certified Emergency Response Team (CERT) training course. Friends she made in that class suggested she contend for the honor and were to hoot and holler for her Thursday.

“They e-mailed me, and I said, ‘Yeah, sure go ahead.’ Then I thought about it and asked them how much is was going to cost me, and what do I have to do,” Paulus said. “They told me I would ride in parades.”

“We just love her,” said Sarah Miller, emergency preparedness manager for the City of Auburn and coordinator of the CERT classes. “She’s such a hard worker. You don’t even have to ask her to do something, she’s just right there.

“She volunteered for everything,” said classmate Jeanie McDermott.

“… She’s very sweet, but she’s also really tough, you’d be surprised,” Miller added.

The festival runs Aug. 8-10 in downtown Auburn.