Obituary for Pamela Pedersen
Pamela Anne Pedersen, age 69, of Webster Groves, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in her home on August 13th, 2017.
Pam was born November 20th, 1947, in St. Louis, Missouri, the oldest child and only daughter of Sylvia Frank Haffner and Alfred Edward Haffner. She attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School. She earned her undergraduate degree in 1969 from Webster College (now University) and her Masters degree from Washington University in 1972.
She married Marty Pedersen, whom she considered to be the most incredible man in the world, in 1968. Their marriage lasted until his sudden and unexpected death in 2000. Together they had one daughter, Christy, who lives in Chicago. Pam’s primary pride and joy in life was Christy. She adored and admired Christy’s partner, Jon Friedman, and doted on his daughters, Jamie and Danielle. Her trips to visit them in Chicago were frequent and relished.
Pam loved mathematics and spent the last 25 years of her career teaching Calculus and Geometry at St. Joseph’s Academy. She was proud to be a grader of the Calculus AP exams for several years. She was a consummate professional with the highest standards in everything she did. Never has a teacher cared more about putting together her materials and lessons. She ran a world-class Mu Alpha Theta chapter and put enormous thought and effort into interesting meeting materials, as well as putting on a top-notch annual induction ceremony with an outside expert speaker and pretzels made in the shape of the Greek letters of the club. The longer she taught the more nurturing she became and she loved watching her students grow, mature and learn. She was absolutely delighted to be recognized and remembered by them long after they graduated. She loved being part of the SJA community and the wonderful supportive friends she made with her colleagues there.
Prior to teaching at SJA, she was proud to have been a contributing author and editor for the CEMREL math program books – another part of her life she treasured.
In 2005, Pam’s beloved goldendoodle, Noelle, became her roommate and best friend. Noelle was the source of many stories and some serious mishaps – but also became Pam’s daily companion and a great source of joy in her life.
She was blessed to live amongst the best neighbors in the world who truly cared for and supported her. She took great interest in their children and loved seeing them play, going trick or treating and watching them grow up.
Pam loved all of her doctors, her hair professionals, her friends at Canine Center and Straub’s and the friends she made in their offices and the community at large. She enjoyed hearing their stories and seeing them regularly brought her happiness.
When Pam decided to care about people, her love was fierce and protective. She was strong in her opinions and beliefs about how things should be done. Her letters of recommendation involved formal interviews, days of thought and many drafts over days. Her thank you notes were so detailed and personal that they often prompted a thank you note in response. Whatever she did for others, she took seriously and put her heart and soul into it.
She loved traveling, going to small communities with quaint shops and restaurants, movies, math conferences (yes – she loved math conferences) and celebrating important events in the lives of friends and family.
Being Catholic was a big part of Pam’s self-identity, along with being a mathematician, teacher, wife, and mother. Since 2005, being Noelle’s “person” meant the world to her. She placed tremendous value on education and independence. She kept high standards for herself and others. As her health declined, she worked hard to downplay the difficulties – both with others and in her own mind. She worked hard to remain positive and optimistic.
Pam is survived by her daughter Christy Pedersen, her brother Robert (Mary Fran) Haffner and brother Bruce Haffner, many cousins, along with beloved nieces and nephews.
Memorial Mass Saturday September 9th, 10am at St. Joseph’s Academy Chapel, 2307 S Lindbergh Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63131. Interment private. Please submit your stories or memories of Pam on Bopp’s website at www.boppchapel.com. Alternately, donations to The Pets for the Elderly Foundation (or similar) are appreciated. Visitation Friday September 8th, 4-8pm at Bopp Chapel. www.boppchapel.com.