Paula Ann (O'Malley) Leiker, age 63, passed away October 24, 2017 at Overland Park Regional Medical Center in Overland Park, Kan. She was born August 14, 1954 in Columbus, Kan., the daughter of Robert J O'Malley and Betty Joan (O'Malley) Gardner.

Paula was raised in Columbus, Kan. She went to St. Rose Elementary School and Columbus Unified High School. Paula was a popular teen, voted Homecoming Queen, active on the varsity cheerleading squad and many other school organizations. Upon graduation she attended Pittsburg State University and Fort Hays State University, obtaining a Bachelor of Science Degree majoring in Education. She continued her education and earned her Master’s Degree from Wichita State University. Paula used her degrees to fulfill a 30+ year career as a teacher. Paula remains dearly loved by the many co-workers from the Circle School District, where she spent the majority of her teaching years as a junior high level history and government teacher at Benton Elementary and Circle Middle School.

Paula was passionate about her career and helping her students. If you spent very much time with "Mrs. Leiker" you would likely get into a discussion about such historical events as William Quantrill's raid on Lawrence, Kan. in August 1863, or the network of secret routes of the Underground Railroad to assist the liberation of slaves in the 1800's. Paula frequently utilized a “hands on” method of teaching to help students understand and remember key events in history. One of her former students fondly remembers acting out the Bill of Rights, throwing quarters at toy soldiers lined up on the blackboard.

Paula retired in 2009 and moved to Kansas City to be near her children and grandchildren. Paula was also passionate about her family. She married Joe Palmer in 1975 and had three children, Mike Palmer, Megan (Palmer) Scheiderer, and Katie (Palmer) Neff. These children were the light of her life. She raised them, along with second husband Randy Leiker, to be just like her, with strong core values and a healthy blend of toughness and independence. Mike is married to Kirsten Samson and has two children, twins Majkin and Carson. Megan is married to Jason Scheiderer and has five children, George, Henry, Patrick, Olivia, and Teddy. Katie is married to Billy Neff and has two children, Hudson and Hadley. Paula was blessed to have a beautiful family of which she was very proud.

Paula also loved to travel. She went on frequent trips with Randy, but also liked to get away with the girls. Highlight vacations include a trip to Europe with Megan, her mother, and sister, Sally and Hawaii with Randy. She loved traveling with her siblings’ families, and enjoyed several fun weekends with Sally in particular. Paula was a lifelong friend to many, and cherished time spent with them. Paula made you feel her love for you.

Paula is survived by her three children and nine grandchildren, her sister Sally Robison and husband Mark, and her brother Mike O'Malley and wife Kathy. She is also survived by five beloved nieces and nephews, as well as their spouses and children--all very dear to Paula.

Paula’s life will be celebrated on November 3rd, 2017, 10 a.m., at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, 701 E Meyer Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64131 under the direction of Porter Funeral Home, Lenexa, Kan. The service will be immediately followed by a lunch at the church. A rosary and visitation will precede the service on Thursday evening at 6 p.m. in the Legacy Center chapel on the St. Peter’s campus, 815 E. Meyer. Interment will be in the Columbus Cemetery, Columbus, Kan. in a private graveside ceremony.

Memorial Contributions can be made to The American Cancer Society in Paula’s name.

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