Cover photo for Paula Burris's Obituary
Paula Burris Profile Photo
1940 Paula 2024

Paula Burris

August 4, 1940 — January 5, 2024

In the early hours of January 5th, 2024, our precious mother, Paula Ann Tarkington Burris, had a joyful reunion in heaven with her husband. She held on until she could surprise him for his birthday.


Paula was the only daughter of Oscar Paul Tarkington and Jewel Pebble Thompson Tarkington and was born on August 4, 1940 in Tahlequah Oklahoma. Her parents were life-long educators and in her early years, she lived in Porum and Fairfax while her parents taught in several schools including Gray Horse and Foraker. She attended elementary school in Fort Gibson and then completed the rest of her school years in Tahlequah, graduating in 1958. She then attended Northeastern State University and completed both a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in history and a certificate of school counseling. She was a staunch supporter in the power of education. While at NSU, she met her husband Lynn and was the 1959 Homecoming Queen. After graduation, she and her husband headed to Independence Missouri to start their lives. After a few years living in Independence she moved with her husband to Midwest City and supported him while he attended Law School at OU. After living in Sallisaw for several years, she and Lynn moved back to Tahlequah to raise their family and live out the rest of their lives. She and her husband were fixtures in the small town of Tahlequah for decades and were very involved with their alma mater, NSU. They were named NSU Centurions in 2012 and were proud Redmen and members of the Nifty Fifties to the end.


Paula was the beloved mother of Amber and Melanie and devoted grandmother known as Gee to her granddaughters Nikki, Alli, Milanne and Landrie and was the great-grandmother of Jaxon and Jalyne.


Paula loved spending time with her family and friends, Christmas and making the holidays magical for her whole family, the Nativity, horses, and had a passion for travel and adventure and seeing all things historical. She loved old homes and antiques. She loved volunteering for the Thompson House, Mornings with Jesus and doing her crossword puzzles. She enjoyed all types of music and saying the Lord's Prayer. Paula embodied faith, family, friends and fun. She always told you the truth even if it wasn't what you wanted to hear. She believed in doing the right thing, even if it was difficult. She touched countless lives as the Tahlequah ninth grade school counselor and also all of the friends of her children who spent hours, days and nights in her home. Her motto was always, 'the more the merrier'. She loved fiercely, was a devoted friend and never lost her spunk to the end.


Paula was a dedicated mother first and foremost. She treasured her children and embraced every moment with them. She raised her children with love and instilled in her daughters the strong faith of God and the importance of family. She showed us that friends can be family and family can be friends. She was the one to make the magic happen. She will be dearly missed and forever in our hearts.


She is survived by her daughters Amber George (Buck), Melanie Fields (Lonny); granddaughters Nikki Downs (Collin) and Alli George, Milanne Fields, Landrie Fields; her great-grandchildren Jaxon and Jalyne Downs, relatives and numerous friends. All of these she loved and touched deeply.


Her family grieves her loss, but they take comfort knowing that Paula and Lynn are together again in heaven.


A special thank you to Kim Stacey who took such amazing care of her during her final years and Traditions Hospice and Heritage Grove for their service and love to her.


Family and friends are invited to say a final goodbye to Paula in a Celebration of Life for Paula and Lynn Burris on Saturday, January 13th at 2:00 pm at Hart Funeral Home.


In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Northeastern State University Foundation in their name ( or the Thompson House in Tahlequah OK.



To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Paula Burris, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm

Hart Funeral Home- Tahlequah

1506 N Grand Ave, Tahlequah, OK 74464


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