Memorial Service
Sunset Church of Christ
3723 34th Street
Lubbock, TX  79410
Saturday, August 15, 2020
2:00 p.m.
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Sunset International Bible Institute, c/o Gerald and Bobbie Paden World Mission Fund
3723 34th Street
Lubbock, TX  79410

Bobbie Rhea Paden

of Sun Lakes, AZ

February 22, 1929 - April 30, 2020

  • Obituary
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  • Video Memorial
Bobbie Rhea (Johnson) Paden, age 91, long-time Lubbock resident passed away from this world on April 30, 2020. Born on February 22, 1929 in Rotan, TX to Joe E. Johnson and Dovie Archer Johnson, she was the middle of five children. The family moved to Lubbock in 1944 and she graduated from Lubbock High School in 1946. In December of that year, she married Gerald Paden, also of Lubbock. After his graduation from Abilene Christian University, he preached in Meadow and in 1953 they moved with their children Joe Michael and Cynthia to Rome, Italy.

The Padens spent a total of 14 years in Italy where they served as missionaries under the sponsorship of the churches of Christ, ten years in Rome (where their youngest son, Ted, was born) and four in Pisa. While on hiatus, the family also spent 3 years in New Home where Gerald served as minister. In 1971 Bobbie and Gerald returned to Lubbock where Gerald joined the faculty of Sunset International Bible Institute (formerly Sunset School of Preaching). Based on her missionary experiences, Bobbie became an instructor in Women’s classes helping wives of future preachers and missionaries prepare for their ministries. Her passion for people and missions led her to accept the position of the first Dean of Women for the School. Once retired from that role, Bobbie continued to serve the School as librarian, historian and archivist.

Hospitality is a Christian virtue and Bobbie and Gerald were consummate hosts. Thousands of people gathered around her table both in Italy and in Lubbock. She learned the art of Italian cuisine from her Italian friends and church family and brought those recipes to Lubbock. She always felt that her legacy was bringing Spaghetti alla Carbonara to West Texas. One of her favorite sayings is ”people wait on pasta, pasta does not wait on people” - this is especially true for Carbonara.

Bobbie is survived by her youngest sister, Norma Sue (Bebe) Johnson of Arlington Texas; sister-in-law Patsy (Paden) Whitson of Friendswood, Texas; her children, Joe Michael Paden and wife Lynn of Westerville, OH; Cynthia (Paden) Jennings and husband Mack of Sun Lakes, AZ; and Ted Paden and wife Lura of Rio Rancho, NM; seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

A private, family only memorial will be held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, August 15, 2020 at Sunset Church of Christ. The service will be live streamed at In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Sunset International Bible Institute, 3723 34th St, Lubbock, TX 79410 in the name of “Gerald and Bobbie Paden World Mission Fund.” Use PayPal online or call Sunset’s Finance Office, 806-788-3336, for credit card donations.

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14 Condolence(s)
Sandy Holcomb
Fort Worth, TX
Tuesday, August 25, 2020

I don't know where to begin - I had the privilege to get to know Bobbie while I worked for Sunset from 74-81. In '82 when I enrolled in SIBI, I was blessed by her teaching. And Doug enjoyed her afternoon coffee breaks during his time at SIBI. Both of us were blessed to sit at her table , enjoy amazing food and wonderful conversation. What we learned from her, both in the classroom and out, is invaluable. I cannot count the times on the mission field (and still) that we have relied on her practical teaching and advice; the countless meals we have prepared using her delicious recipes. She was our good friend, mentor and teacher. We love her and have both been changed forever by her influence.

Ted Paden
Rio Rancho, NM
Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Here are some thoughts about Bobbie from her grandkids and their spouses, they called her Nonnina.

I would say she had a cultured wisdom with a small town sensibility usually served with always delicious food!

I'll always remember Nonnina's warmth and kindness to everyone. I remember specifically a time in Rome outside the Vatican. We were standing
around looking like tourists and a vendor came up to her to try to sell her some trinket.
She took the opportunity to talk to that man about Jesus. At the time I thought it was strange, but it has always stuck with me that she saw the vendor not as an annoyance but as a soul who deserved compassion and kindness.

You entered through the garage into the heart of the home, her kitchen. The curated experience that was their home whisked you away from west Texas to Italy. Cultural and spiritual lessons taught by the stove and around the table always prompted stimulating conversations which Babbo inevitably sullied, much to Nonnina’s chagrin.

Now that my tears have stopped there are so many things to say about her, it’s hard to narrow it down to one thing. She was more than a teacher or the hostess with the most-ess. She was a trailblazer, she was pragmatic and creative, practical but made the best baked Alaska – the most impractical dessert I’ve ever known. She was pint sized and powerful. She weebled and she wobbled and occasionally fell down. All were welcome around her table. She was no more woman, she reflected the image of God.

Every once in a while, we get a recipe just right and our house smells like hers!

"Look up." While the streets in Rome are anything but monotonous, your eyes may have thoroughly explored the texture of the cobblestones beneath your feet, the peeling paint on the massive doors, cured meats hanging in shop windows and the faces of the people you pass. Her advice to me for these moments, "look up." Drying laundry strung between buildings, cats lounging on ledges and the unique shape of an umbrella pine are simple and beautiful pieces to the Roman lifescape only to be seen if you look up.

"Look up." Neither dealing with minor inconveniences nor overcoming stressful adversities were solved by her with an earthly focus. Her missions to love, serve and teach were driven and directed with her eyes firmly fixed on God. Whether she was prostrate in prayer or preparing pasta, her position was always to look up.

"Look up." Loss can make us look down in grief, look back for happy memories and look laterally for embraces. As we remember her, let us look up to see the beauty in this world, look up for drive and direction and look up in anticipation of being with her again. Look up.

Her hands: There was just something about her hands. They’d made ice cream. They’d waved flags. They’d carried plane tickets and held smaller hands as they boarded ocean-liners. They helped point visitors in the right direction. They helped a weary teacher take his jacket off at the end of a long day. They waived goodbye as they launched her children to live their adventures. They held 7 grandchildren. Those were the hands I knew. The hands I knew had already lived a life.
Those hands that made thousands of noodles, kneaded scores of pie crusts and served countless meals. They served as a salt shaker, a dipper, a spoon, a pincher, a dolloper, and a spatula. The hands that wrote history books, handed me butter rums in church.
The hands that shooed men out of the kitchen, handed me mixing beaters to enjoy. The hands that comforted so many, were the ones I held as I grew up. Near the end, it was so meaningful to hold those hands. Rumor has it she never liked her hands; we loved them.
They were frail then but they had done so much good work. They were unassuming, but they carried the personality of Gerald Paden. They were delicate, but they forged history. They were so small, but they held a family together.

Nonnina was smart, resourceful, and creative.

Tom Beyer
Farmington, CT
Sunday, August 16, 2020

A wonderful tribute and celebration of unfading glory!
Miss Bobbie lives in my heart like so many others.
Her legacy for me is the joy of hospitality...
May our Lord comfort and uplift her family in love.

Skip & D'Aune Rodgers
Denver City, TX
Saturday, August 15, 2020

Ted, I have such wonderful memories of you, your mom and dad, along with Cindy and Mike, from all the way back to our junior high days at Lubbock Christian and at your apartment across 19th Street, where your mom filled me with pasta and taught me how to make spaghetti sauce, which I still do. Your folks have made a tremendous impact on my life, and I am thankful that they made me feel like one of you. Gerald and Bobbie, Bobbie and Gerald, together again, with all the redeemed and blessed, at home with the Lord. What glory!

Patti Pruitt
Lubbock, TX
Saturday, August 15, 2020

What a beautiful memorial for Miss Bobbie. She was one of the most talented people I knew. I had the honor and privilege of working with Miss Bobbie for almost 20 years. She taught me so much. I love her and miss her so much. She was dearly loved by all that knew her.

Virgil Cox Jr
Chandler, AZ
Saturday, August 15, 2020

Virgil and Zona Cox watched the memorial service online. We are glad that we got to know Bobbie. Most of the time when we took communion to her in the nursing home we could not understand her as she attempted to talk with us. Even so, with her smile and attitude we could easily see Christ in her. Even though we usually could not understand her, as we would leave she always said very clearly, "Thank you for coming."

Shirley Downey
Marysville, CA
Saturday, August 15, 2020

I’ll always remember the lessons and encouragement that Bobbie gave us in our missions class. As she said “we change our skies but not our minds as we sail across the seas”. Her shared experiences helped me in my mission work 😇💞

Kathy and Don Knight
Dallas, TX
Saturday, August 15, 2020

We are so sorry to hear of my sweet aunt Bobbie’s passing, but we rejoice in knowing that she is home. What a devoted follower of God’s Word she was! She took care of me by feeding me so many times during my years of college and law school in Lubbock, especially carbonara which I flopped trying to make it for my family. Allison and Alex will always remember her handmade pasta from the times she made it at Mother and Daddy’s “ranch” in Toler. What fun family times! I wish I could have attended the memorial in person instead of online so I could give all of you a real hug and shed a tear. Love to you all. Thank you, Jesus!

Kristi and Ken Murrell
Saturday, August 15, 2020

Greetings and love to Miss Bobbie's family,
We greatly loved and appreciated both Bobbie and Gerald. They greatly influenced our lives during our time at Sunset School of Preaching (1987-1989), and over the years since then. Thank you for sharing them with all of us!

Lestie Glover
Lubbock, TX
Saturday, August 15, 2020

Ms Bobbie was such an amazing, kind, special lady. She was so generous with her time, talents, hospitality and most importantly, her faith. What an example she was to us! We all miss her, but I can’t wait see her again some day. Thank you for sharing her with so many of us. Prayers for peace and comfort for her family as they say goodbye for now.

Marie & Bill Nunnally
Galveston, TX
Saturday, August 15, 2020

Cindy and Mike, I was so blessed to have met your mother when she spoke at a Pleasant Ridge ladies retreat. Bill and I have sweet memories of both of you. We know the Lord will bless you with wonderful remembrances of your lovely mom.

Love and prayers,
Marie and Bill

Terry and Steve Paden
Buena Park,, CA
Tuesday, August 11, 2020

There was no one like our Aunt Bobbie. When she rescued us in Italy, she overwhelmed us with her love and hospitality and we became her forever-fans. She helped shape who we are and will be forever missed.

Betty Tracy
Lubbock, TX
Sunday, August 2, 2020

Miss Bobbie... what a classy, energetic, hardworking and godly woman. She could have you agreeing to a project before you knew what was going on! Miss Bobbie helped me on many occasions during our church planting years in San Diego and was so valuable in my transition working with the women of SIBI. She lived a full life that honored and glorified God. What a beautiful mentor and friend ... she blessed all who knew her.

Selma (Martinez) Rivas
San Antonio, TX
Friday, May 8, 2020

My family and I were saddened to hear of Ms. Bobbie's passing. She was a such an encouragement to my parents John & Minnie Martinez, when my Dad was an Instructor at Sunset School of Preaching. Grateful for her life and mentoring during my college years at LCU and her influence as a female leader and role model. She made a difference and we are thankful. May you take comfort in knowing there is no safer place for the sheep than with the Shepherd. Celebrating her life with you!

With Love & Prayers,
Selma Rivas for the John Martinez Family

Video Memorial for Bobbie Rhea Paden

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