Cover photo for Pauline Gutierrez's Obituary
Pauline Gutierrez Profile Photo
1936 Pauline 2021

Pauline Gutierrez

June 22, 1936 — December 9, 2021

Pauline Gutierrez lived a life fully expressed. How many people really

do? Anyone who knew her well knew her loyalties and passions –

family, faith, liberal politics and Tom Selleck every Friday night.

After surviving many health battles, including a debilitating stroke,

Pauline died of pneumonia on Dec. 9, 2021, with three of her four

remaining children, two of her grandchildren, and a son-in-law at her

hospital bedside in Johnson County, Kansas. ICU nurses commented

that Pauline must have been well loved. She was.

She was steely as the Flint Hills where she was born during a

record-breaking heat wave on June 22, 1936, in Florence, Kansas, to

Apolonio and Florentina Palacio. She brought the heat for the next 85


She and her brother, Bernard, grew up in a stop on the road named

Bazaar in Chase County, Kansas. Her mother tended a garden and

chickens and her father worked on the Santa Fe railroad and

concocted home brew in the cellar.

She went to grade school in a one-room schoolhouse and graduated

from the high school in Chase County in 1954.

She graduated from Newman Hospital School of Nursing in Emporia,

Kansas, becoming a registered nurse in the days when they wore

starched white caps and uniforms. She worked her entire career in


The girl from the country married a jazz musician from the city. She

raised five children with Antonio Gutierrez, who decided carrying mail

was a better way to support a family.

They married Feb. 27, 1960, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in

Topeka, the parish where they raised their children.

Like her own mother, Pauline was an old-school mom. She insisted

the tinsel be placed on the Christmas tree. One. Strand. At. A. Time.

When her children were young they believed she had eyes in the back

of her head.

Pauline also perfected the side-eye.

Many memories of Pauline revolve around food. She was the master

of the 1960s table, serving salads of iceberg lettuce topped with

cottage cheese and sliced cling peaches from a can. She put Miracle

Whip on her tostados.

To this day, her children swear no one could make a better chocolate

cake, cheeseburger or crispy French fries.

She was a fun mom who introduced her children to music (country),

theater (Starlight) and movies (drive-ins). She loved glamour, from

watching Miss America pageants to reading about Hollywood’s

biggest stars and took her fur stole out of storage for special


The plastic bag industry has been dealt a blow. Pauline would fill bags

with paper products, groceries and coupons and pass them out to her

children – even when they were adults.

The neighbor kids called her mom, which made some of her own kids

jealous. But they later came to understand what a compliment that


She was a helper who modeled service to others. She volunteered

many years at Sacred Heart’s annual Junefest/Germanfest. She

belonged to the women’s auxiliary of the local letter carriers

association, helping with fundraisers.

She wasn’t afraid to share her political views. She was a fierce and

loyal Democrat who volunteered for many campaigns, including

former Congressman Jim Slattery’s.

She was a news junkie who called everyone in the family when big

news broke on CNN or MSNBC - even her first born who works in a


Long before The Weather Channel, she was the family meteorologist.

How many times she called her adult children warning them about bad

weather – snow, ice, tornadoes – coming their way.

Pauline was not given a middle name at birth, but her children know

her middle name was “Family.”

She was preceded in death by her husband of 40 years, daughter Lydia

Schmidt, an infant sister Ysabel, stepson Vincent Gutierrez and son-in-law

Michael Houser.

Missing her are her children Lisa Houser of Overland Park; Lori Wickliffe

and her husband, Kevin, of Lawrence; Anthony Gutierrez and his wife,

Amy, of Salisbury, Md.; son-in-law Kevin Schmidt; Ron Gutierrez and his

wife, Agatha, of Overland Park; stepdaughter Deborah Hunter and her

husband, Jeff, and a daughter from another mother, Lisa Sandmeyer, of


Pauline also is survived by 16 grandchildren and a passel of


Visitation will be held on Tuesday, December 14th at Brennan-Mathena Funeral Home from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. where a Daughters of Isabella rosary will be prayed at 4:30 p.m. which Pauline joined in 1968, and an Altar Society Rosary will be prayed at 5:30 p.m.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday, December 15th at 11:00 a.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church.  Private interment will be at Mount Calvary Cemetery.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Augustinian Recollect

Missionary Sisters in care of Brennan-Mathena Funeral Home, 800 SW 6th Ave., Topeka, Kansas  66603.

Online condolences and fond memories may be left at

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

Service Schedule

Past Services


Tuesday, December 14, 2021

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)


800 SW 6th Ave, Topeka, KS 66603

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Mass of Christian Burial

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Sacred Heart Catholic Church

312 NE Freeman Ave, Topeka, KS 66616

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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