Jessie Edith Creamer Paap
1872 - 1961
Jessie Paap was a pioneer music and art teacher at three Seventh-day Adventist colleges and an academy. Born in St. Helena, California, she was the daughter of two of the first converts to the Seventh-day Adventist church in California. Her parents helped establish the St. Helena Sanitarium, and her father was on its first board of directors. Ellen White was a frequent guest in their home
Jessie started her teaching career in 1891 while still a music student at Healdsburg College, later relocated and renamed Pacific Union College. Four years later, she married John Paap, a science student and recent convert to the church who had been born in New Zealand. Following their marriage and his graduation two years later, he taught at the college until 1899, when they accepted positions at Avondale School for Christian Workers, now Avondale College, in Australia.
For the next eleven years, the Paaps played important roles in stabilizing this relatively new school. Jessie established a respected program in keyboard and voice instruction and taught some art classes. She also launched the beginning of a choral tradition at the school by starting and directing a Choral Society that presented a concert at the end of each year. Her husband taught science classes, managed the farm, served as a preceptor (dean) of men, and appears to have started the first brass band at the college.
In 1910 they were invited back to California to help in the development of Pacific Union College, successor to HC, now struggling to survive in its second year at its new location in Angwin, California. It is probable that she taught music and assisted in church service music during this time since a formal music program had not yet been established. She started the first art program at the school, beginning in 1911.
In 1914 they relocated to Lodi Academy, where she taught art and music. John would serve as principal until his death in the middle of the 1918-1919 school year, when he died from the Spanish influenza, a pandemic that had swept the world in the previous year.
Jessie returned to PUC, where she taught art until her retirement in 1933. She was residing in Loma Linda, California, at the time of her death on her 89th birthday.
Sources: Avondale: Experiment on the Dora, Milton Hook; Pacific Union Recorder obituary, 6 November 1961; Pacific Union College Faculty Listings, 1957 PUC Diogenes Lantern.