The death of Naomi Pasemann saddened the Taylor community, but her contributions to the community and her effort to help others will live on through the people she inspired.
“When I think of Naomi, it’s hard to separate the words love and joy,” said Lindy Peterson, former counselor at Taylor Middle School. “She loved life, she loved what she did, and she loved people.”
Peterson worked with Pasemann for many years and said Pasemann taught her a lot about being a counselor, not by telling her how, but living it.
“If we counselors were ever disappointed by the number of people who came to an event, she would say something like, ‘If we helped only that many people, it’s worth it,’” Peterson said. “I believe her unconditional love and joy were driving forces that made her one of a kind.”
Peterson said Pasemann was not only a colleague, but a friend.
“She also had genuine joy that was often shared with us by her unforgettable laugh that just automatically seemed to bubble out from deep within her and was very contagious,” Peterson said. “She shared her joy with others in so many ways by serving and encouraging.”
Communications and Community Liaison for Taylor ISD, Tim Crow, said the highlight of his career was getting to open Pasemann Elementary School with Pasemann.
“It was an incredible experience to have my former middle school and high school counselor continue as a mentor and role model for me, the staff and the students,” he said. “She was involved from the very beginning, including when we toured the building as a faculty while it was still under construction. She was a part of those early meetings as we planned for the successful opening of Taylor's newest campus, and later she was on stage with us for every academic pep rally, she went on field trips with us and she attended all our special events.”
Crow said because of Pasemann’s compassion for others, many thought of her as a second mother.
“Mrs. Pasemann was the perfect example of a truly dedicated educator, citizen and friend,” Crow said. “She was always the encourager, the one who builds others up, the one who tells you what you need to hear and the one to celebrate your successes.”
One of the most important lessons Pasemann taught Crow was to remember to have a sense of humor.
“While I have learned so much from Mrs. Pasemann about so many things, including the importance of building relationships and a strong work ethic, I have also learned the importance of laughter,” he said. “Naomi used to say that if you don't learn to laugh, you won't survive in this world, and she had a great sense of humor. We sure shared some great laughs together.”
Taylor ISD Board President Marco Ortiz said Pasemann was important to the district and community because no matter what your background was or where you came from she always made you feel welcomed.
“I learned how important being available not only to the community but more importantly to the district is,” he said. I try to attend as many programs and events throughout the district that I can.”
In 2015, when Ortiz was elected, Pasemann welcomed him and let him, although he is not originally from Taylor, the motto, “Once a Duck, Always a Duck,” also pertained to him.
“Mrs. Pasemann’s love of all things Taylor and her commitment to this community and Taylor ISD really left an imprint on me,” said Mayor Brant Rydell. “Mrs. Pasemann was always giving me advice, some of which I followed. I always appreciated her straightforward, no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is approach.”
Rydell said he will miss Pasemann’s humor, attitude, guidance and her abiding love for the community, school district and the Taylor Ducks.