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Home Obituaries Paula McGuire

Paula McGuire

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Paula McGuire

Paula McGuire died on May 6th of this year 2024, in Princeton, New Jersey. She was born Paula Van Doren, in Chicago, IL, on May 23rd, 1931. She was daughter to Paul and Jesse Van Doren, and younger sister to Peter Van Doren. Her father Paul was a brother of the distinguished literary Van Doren family. Paula spent her formative years in Glen Ridge, NJ.

She was an Oberlin alumna, and subsequently studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and in Germany, where she learned both countries’ languages. Paula was married to William (Bill) McGuire in May of 1965 in New York City, becoming part of his family including Bill’s two early-teenaged sons Jack and Eddie. In 1967, the family moved to Princeton. Both were writers and editors; Paula had worked as an editor with Pantheon Books, and later, Random House. She was editor for Alan Watts, Mary Renault, and worked with Dr. R. Burack on his important ‘The Handbook of Prescription Drugs,’ raising awareness of generic alternatives. Bill worked at the Bollingen Series, editing the collected works of CG Jung, and other scholars, and other projects, as well as writing several related books.

In 1972, Paula joined Vis Ed, in Princeton, as freelancer, editing, notably, Nobel Prize Winners: Supplement 1987-1991, and writing a series of books for teens: Putting It Together (about divorce), Must Try Harder (about anxiety), Alcohol, It Won’t Happen To Me (about teen pregnancy), a series of books about immigrant groups, Coming to North America: From Mexico, Cuba, & Puerto Rico, and others. Colleagues praised her organization, helpfulness, and generosity to staff. She was cited as a role model.

All along, she maintained her piano playing.

Mary McGuire was born in 1972, the great pride and happiness of her parents. Tragically, within months of completing her studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Mary was killed by a drunk driver in 1994, in San Antonio TX, while working at Habitat for Humanity. Though she had only been there a month, the overflow crowd at her memorial in San Antonio was a testament to the kind of person she had become. Paula maintained, over the years, relationships with several of Mary’s friends and classmates, and other new friends from the community in San Antonio.

Paula retired from Vis Ed at that time, and she and Bill spent the next seven years rebuilding their lives. Paula generously and devotedly donated her time and skills for several local causes. She was a major force on a state-sanctioned committee of New Jersey citizens that worked on alternative plans for the Penns Neck bypass. As part of that, she was a forceful leader in preserving the Washington Road Elms.

Paula’s beloved husband Bill died in September of 2009.

Paula is survived by sons Jack and Eddie, her grandchildren and their families, her Van Doren family—and her dear friends, the Fiori family.