Mel Melchiorre, the communications director of Groundwork New York, wrote his last blog for The New York Times in September: “When we think of Paulene, she wasn’t necessarily the sunniest person. She was, instead, brave, energetic, unafraid to speak her mind and make uncomfortable things seem good,” Melchiorre wrote.
As Melchiorre noted, Paulene was not afraid to speak her mind and make uncomfortable things seem good: “As a man, I always thought she was ‘there’ for me. She would often say that there wasn’t one man like me in the world, only one woman like me.”
In an essay last week on The Times website, Melchiorre recalled the early and difficult days of starting his own Groundwork program, when Paulene made time to volunteer on his behalf, despite objections from some at Newsday.
“She was the first to offer me support, tell me what she was doing at Groundwork, and, of course, to see what all the fuss was about in helping another person,” Melchiorre recalled.
Even as one of the founding couples of The New York Times, Paulene supported Groundwork, writing posts on her blog, Paulene Harvey Inc., even as she was writing her Times columns, according to Melchiorre.
“When she found out she had been diagnosed with cancer, she immediately began writing her last column for The Times,” Melchiorre recalled. “She never divulged her cancer and did not ask for well wishes.”
After her battle with cancer, Melchiorre wrote, “Paulene showed us how we can maintain and amplify our courage, learning the ins and outs of how to do so, and how not to take fear personally.”