Remembering Freddie Papineau

I met Freddie Papineau back in the early ’80s when she opened up the Graphic Emporium in the Downtown Mall. She also owned and operated the Miracle Mile Mercantile, conducted estate sales and was an enthusiastic patron of the arts.

She opened the Graphic Emporium for many Saturday Art Hop events and provided food and wine for visitors.

I sold her a computer in the ’80s and dropped by to troubleshoot problems. I would visit the Miracle Mile Mercantile and check out the computer there. I worked at a computer store in the downtown mall when I first met Freddie and she confided in me that my boss was “just plain kooky.” I had to agree, in a good way. He knew he was not good with the public and fashioned himself an office in the basement of the computer store so he wouldn’t drive customers away.

It’s been a month since Freddie Papineau died. There was no obituary in the Record Searchlight newspaper for this woman who was in business in Redding for 30 years, and there won’t be one. There was no service or “celebration of life”.

I always imagined that birth notices and obituaries were important news in a community as well as primary source historical documents. Researchers glean important genealogical information from reading obituaries.

I imagined that everyone born in a community would have a birth announcement, and that everyone who passed away in a community would have an obituary.

This has changed in the last few years. Many people aren’t aware that obituaries are no longer printed in the Record Searchlight unless someone in the family steps forward to buy column inches of space in the local newspaper. The cost of an obituary in the Record Searchlight starts at $95 and goes up. This cost is prohibitive for many families, but the effort that a family must make during a time of grief to cobble together an obituary can also be a major barrier.

I recently talked to the husband of a local, world-class musician who was in the middle of recording a CD with another musician in Scotland when she died last year. He admitted that he lived in a haze for several months after his wife died, and putting together an obituary was the last thing he was worried about.

Redding lost a wonderful business woman and patron of the arts when Freddie Papineau passed away.

Of anyone, she deserved more that the two lines of text in the death notice that she was granted by the Record Searchlight.

Freddie, you will be missed.

 Joanne Snyder is a north state teacher.

Joanne Snyder
is a north state artist and retired high school math teacher.
Comment Policy: We welcome your comments, with some caveats: Please keep your comments positive and civilized. If your comment is critical, please make it constructive. If your comment is rude, we will delete it. If you are constantly negative or a general pest, troll, or hater, we will ban you from the site forever. The definition of terms is left solely up to us. Comments are disabled on articles older than 90 days. Thank you. Carry on.

11 Responses

  1. Avatar Chris Nagy says:

    Thank you Joanne for remembering Freddie. She was indeed a unique individual. I always enjoyed talking with her. She would give you her opinion straight, whether you liked it or not. She had no love for the local paper, even in the 80's and would always let me know about it. However, she also knew the importance of advertising and would continue to purchase ad space to help her businesses grow. I and several others on the R/S staff worked with her and her brother Shorty to help grow their businesses in the community. Coupled with her "can-do" spirit, she succeeded.

    I believe Redding is poorer for the loss of both the Miracle Mile Mercantile (gone more than several years now due to 'block restoration') and now most likely Graphic Emporium. Since I'm no longer in Redding, I'm not sure it still exists.

    Only one other comment about obituaries. Yes, I miss them as they once were also. However, paying for obits is not unique to Redding or the R/S. This is happening all over the country, and I agree that due to the economic duress most families may feel trying to put together an obit and paying for it, we are missing the continuity of family history. It is probably the only piece about an individual that will contain the facts and the unvarnished truth.

    I do challenge everyone to write their own obituary and set aside the money to pay for it. It's the only time you know your family will get it right!

  2. Avatar Magnola Neighborhood says:

    Yes, Freddie will be missed! Those bright, alive eyes. Her sense of humor. And her unfailing enthusiasm and support for the arts and all artists! Her spirit was a generous one! Graphic Emporium was a one-of-a-kind business that sadly closed awhile back. I still have photos from local photographers professionally framed there. Freddie's newest business was located at the Antique Mall on Cascade Blvd. I remember Freddie's story of her race car driving against Steve McQueen back in the 1960's. Her local and historical knowledge of the people of Redding was terrific. Rest in peace, Freddie. You will be fondly remembered. Sincere sympathy to Shorty and to the rest of the family.

  3. Avatar Joanne Snyder says:

    Freddie's phone was disconnected shortly after she passed away. When I called the funeral home I was told that a cousin handled everything. I wanted to express my condolences to both her brother and her sister. I so enjoyed that whole family. They won't be seeing this post so they will have no idea about how important we feel that their sister was in this community.

  4. Avatar Irene Kelley says:

    She had a story about everyone in town, she would say "I know just enough about a lot of people to make me dangerous"
    The storytelling about her racing days and sneeking into the Cascade Theater when she was 8 are the best. History of Shasta County, fires, train wrecks, the Desitlhorst family, and many many more.
    Her heart was giving and loving.
    I will miss her for the rest of my life.

  5. Avatar Joanne Snyder says:

    Chris, I know now that the "pay for an obit" is common everywhere now. Not long ago I imagined that people were asking that an obituary not be run for some reason. I know better now. When I called the RS about this new practice I said "So, you're telling me that if I die next week, I won't get an obituary in the paper." She said "Not unless you called us and requested one." And then I said……

    And Chris, I'm going to plan an "obituary writing" party for my long time friends. I'll bet that together we could do a great job of creating interesting, and factual accounts of our short lives on earth.

  6. Avatar Budd Hodges says:

    Freddie will be remembered for some time to come in Redding as a friendly, astute and personable businesswoman who made Graffic Emporium a success for many years.

    We'll miss you Freddie.

  7. Avatar rmv says:

    God Bless You Freddie. 🙂

  8. Avatar Ann Myers says:

    I knew that you have to pay for an obituary. However, I don't even read the paper so even if a death notice was in the paper, I wouldn't know it. I don't care if there is an obituary on me. After you are gone, you are gone.

  9. Avatar `AJacoby says:

    I have mixed feelings about obits, somewhat related to what Annie said above. However, for historical reasons, I agree with you, Joanne, about birth and death notices. So far as my obit is concerned, I think it would be a kick to write.

    Freddie and the Graphic emporium will be sorely missed. She was a vibrant participant in Art Hop.

  10. Avatar Stephanie Navo Griff says:

    Obituaries are important! My mother's Bible contains many family obituaries neatly taped onto the pages. These scraps of brownish paper tell so much. They tell a bit about a person's roots, their family members, careers and the importance of one's values. I think I'll have to get serious about writing my own obituary because even in death, I would want people to read about my life, my family and my accomplishments, humble though they may be.

    I find the current practice of the Record Searchlight and other papers to be abhorrent. I recently paid more than $300. for an obituary for my darling husband. There was so much to say about him in such a small space! Copies of his obituary were sent on to his siblings in North Carolina as well as other family and friends.

    I read the obituaries daily and am relieved to find that my name has not yet been added to the rolls!

  11. Avatar Sheri Eby says:

    What a nice tribute. Thank you for writing this.