June 10th, 1938 - January 30th, 2024
Purita was born in the Philippines on June 10, 1938 to Purificacion Isip Pagkalinawan and Severino Pagkalinawan, Sr.
She graduated from college in the Philippines and became a respected elementary school teacher and Boy Scout troop leader in her hometown of Mandaluyong, Rizal, a suburb of Manila.
In 1971, she received a US government Fulbright grant which enabled her to pursue a master’s degree in education of deaf children at Central Institute for the Deaf (CID), an affiliate of Washington University in St. Louis. It was there that Purita met Norman Pava, her future husband. Both were at CID learning how to teach deaf children to speak, read and understand English.
In 1973, Purita and Norman, with their newborn son, David, moved from St. Louis to Berrien Springs, where Purita immediately started friendships with Andrews University’s local Filipino community. Purita was also hired into the recently organized Berrien County School for Hearing Impaired Children as an elementary school teacher.
Mrs. Pava’s soft voice and patience belied the passion that she brought to her classroom. Her carefully crafted lesson plans stimulated language and speech development, academics, and social interaction for generations of students. She received Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Educator of the Year Honors in 1985 and 1999. She was revered and loved by students, parents and fellow teachers throughout her career.
Purita’s passion for teaching extended far beyond the classroom. During visits to the Philippines, she taught multiplication to her nieces and nephews by using macaroni and papaya seeds. At home in Berrien Springs, she introduced next door neighbors to afternoon tea drinking. Throughout her life, she inspired generations of friends and family members to pursue education and service-based careers for themselves.
Purita was a master entertainer in her home. Her Thanksgiving dinners were legendary for their warmth and abundance. Her son’s friends growing into their teens knew it was impossible to leave her kitchen hungry. Her recipes for chicken adobo, walnut fried rice, and handmade rolls were just a few of her unique specialties.
Purita is survived by her husband Norman Pava, her son David Pava and his wife Lynn Goh, and by her sister Rebecca Tuanqui.
A celebration of Life Gathering will be held from 2.00 P.M. until 4.00 P.M., Sunday, February 18, 2024 at Starks’ Heritage Chapel, 8747 US 31, Berrien Springs, MI, 49103.
A private burial will be at Rose Hill Cemetery in Berrien Springs.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Moog Center for Deaf Education at gofundme.com/purita
Those wishing to share a memory of Purita online may do so at www.heritage-chapel.com
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