Cover photo for Paige Marie Pagnotta's Obituary

Paige Marie Pagnotta

June 14, 1993 — January 5, 2024

Wheat Ridge

In the quiet whisper of a gentle January morning, as the world paused to gather its breath from a hectic holiday season, Paige Marie Pagnotta surrendered her earthly life and passed away on Friday, January 5, 2024 while at her home in Wheat Ridge, Co. 

Paige's life, a colorful tapestry woven from threads of resilience and love, continues to be cherished by those she leaves behind. In the tender embrace of memory, she is missed by her parents, Debra, Stephen, and bonus mom, Cathie. Siblings - Vinny (Lacey), Tommy (Isabella), Emily (Tycen), Jacinta, Johnny, Teresa, Marguerite, Gianna, and Maxwell. She is also survived by nephews Finn and Riggins, along with niece Carmella. Aunts - Maria (Tom), Racquel (Tim), Rebecca (Bob), Amanda (Ronee), Kim (John), Erin, Amy, and Shari. Uncles - Vince (Dana) and Jason G. Grandparents - Richard and Sue. 

Yet, written amidst the pages of her life's story, Paige's journey is not solitary as she reunites with loved ones who preceded her including her beloved rescue terrier, Emmi; stepdad Donald Richardson; cousin Jordan; grandparents - Domenico and Anne, and Diane and Scott. 

Please join us: Friday, June 14, 2024 - Gathering from 5 - 8pm, Butterfly release at 7pm, Thompson County Park, 360 Butler Avenue East, West St. Paul, Minnesota.  In homage to her love of reading, books from Paige's vast library will be open to all, inviting each visitor present to choose a cherished book, taking it with you as a poignant reminder of her enduring spirit. 

Here is a snapshot of Paige's life, which includes some of her own words : 

Paige's life began on Monday evening, June 14, 1993, at St John's Hospital in Maplewood, MN as the firstborn to Stephen John Pagnotta and Debra Diane Gonsioroski. 

The oldest of 10 children, Paige considered her role a great responsibility, blessing, and occasionally a challenge. A journal entry dated from July 3, 2023 details her endless love for them all - "My siblings inspire me so much. I want to be a better person for them, a better sister and friend. Watching them grow up and build their own lives is amazing and inspiring. I love each of them to pieces and they have unknowingly kept me alive during some incredibly dark times." 

Throughout her early years, Paige attended schools in Inver Grove Heights and Mendota Heights, MN. When she was not in school, she spent her time between her two families in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Despite facing the challenges of scoliosis at a tender age, Paige's inquisitive spirit led her to explore many activities - from soccer to dance, playing the melodious oboe, to the quiet refuge found in books. She participated in gymnastics, ice skating, dance (Juliannes), theater (ACT Company), swimming, youth group, rock climbing, running, and upward bound. Paige enjoyed bike riding and participating in events such as the Saint Paul Bike Classic with her grandparents Richard and Sue. She also loved playing soccer and did so for 12 years, only stopping when diagnosed with scoliosis at age 14. Scoliosis eventually led to a spinal fusion of her thoracic spine during the summer after her 9th grade. 

An introvert at heart, of all the activities she explored...words were her biggest passion - both reading and writing. Paige was a gifted writer and often turned to her journaling to share her innermost thoughts and feelings as a healthy coping mechanism. As a sensitive soul in a loud world, when spoken words overwhelmed her, Paige was able to confide in her journals...filling over 40+ during her short life. Once she discovered reading and journaling, Paige rarely turned on her television, preferring to choose the immersive experience found in the comfort of stories. If she had an empty space in her room, be it a shelf or a wall, it was soon filled with books - sorted by the color of their jacket. Books were her steady companions for they never judged her, provided comfort, and allowed her to escape the pressure of her world. In many ways, books were her most reliable companions.

While books and journaling allowed her to dream and escape, it was the many friendships she held during her life that sustained her and made her feel loved. From her school friends Bria, Allison, Alex, Hannah and Mariah (of which their high school dream of living together became a reality after college), to her roommates at Crown College - Amy, Morgan, and Jackie, to her cherished friendship with Rachel...she was loved by all. Perhaps one of Paige's earliest relationships was the one she had with her cousin Whitney. The relationship between Paige and Whitney may have been 'built in' being cousins, however, that never stopped them from being a calming force for one another. As anyone that met Paige knew, she made sure to befriend anyone she felt may need a friendly smile or extra encouragement to tackle life.

While all the friendships and relationships in Paige's life filled her heart with love, it is in the gentle ebb and flow of sisterhood where Paige's heart found the most tender bonds of friendship to sustain her soul. Always present with her on her journey, Paige’s sister Emily stood as her closest confidante and loudest cheerleader. Always so proud of her little sister, Paige went with Emily to express their relationship by sharing 'sister' tattoos of the big dipper (representing Paige) and the little dipper (representing Emily). This past year they went together, once again, and received their last tattoos together which read, "LYLAS," which represented an inside joke. 

Paige faced many challenges in life, from graduating from Henry Sibley high school days after the death of her stepdad to undergoing a spinal revision surgery on her 18th birthday, she always met obstacles with a quiet strength. 

After attending Crown College for 2 years, she transferred to Southern New Hampshire University, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Child and Adolescent Psychology in 2015. While completing college, a favorite memory was created between Paige and her little brother, Max. During this time was when she worked as a Reading Corps Tutor at his elementary school, Pilot Knob. Seeing your sister during his school day had Max looking up to her as a celebrity of sorts...which always brought a smile to her face. 

Paige's work adventures included working at Stepping Out assisting individuals with Prader-Willi Syndrome and from there, Paige was hired at the Emily Program as an Eating Disorder Technician. Paige took her role at the Emily program very seriously and strived to provide support and guidance to those under her supervision. She continued at the Emily Program as her life story began to reveal itself and a new chapter surfaced... 

During her early 20's, Paige grappled with severe depression and sought help. Shortly after, her health challenges multiplied and she found herself in the relentless grip of eating disorders. She received diagnosis of OSFED (other specified feeding/eating disorder), AN (anorexia nervosa), BN (bulimia Nervosa), ARFID (avoidant/restrictive food intake), binge eating and orthorexia. These illnesses brought heart palpitations, low blood pressure and episodes of syncope (fainting). During these battles, Paige was an absolute SUPER STAR as she met the vicious and relentless cycles of her disorder with unwavering courage, confronting the darkness within. She named her disorder, appropriately, "The Asshole." 

Guided by the compassionate hands of caregivers at Melrose Center (St. Louis Park) and Sanford Eating Disorders and Weight Management Center (North Dakota), she was supported and provided medical and mental health care where she met goals and experienced setbacks. The professionals who provided encouragement, also instilled hope within her as she consistently worked to heal and reclaim her health. Without the dedicated and caring staff, Paige would have lost her battle against her disease much earlier. We wish to thank each and every staff member for the love and care you provided to Paige during her most vulnerable moments. And I, Paige's mom, would like to express a special thank you to Chaplain Amy and therapist Melissa, both of whom showed Paige compassion, always offering hope and encouragement for recovery. Your support allowed her to experience many sunrises and we are forever grateful. 

During a period of respite from the cycles of her disorder, Paige found employment at Trader Joe's in Eagan, MN, becoming a member of their art department. Her supervisor (captain) and coworkers (mates) offered grace and support beyond that of any workplace and fully embraced her as she worked hard on her journey towards recovery. She felt at home with her Trader Joe's Minnesota family and was conflicted when finally deciding to move on, literally, to follow the beckoning call of the mountains of Colorado. Leaving her workplace and coworkers was one of the hardest decisions she faced, yet, you offered encouragement and cheered her on, helping her secure employment at a sister store in Colorado. Thank you! 

In October 2023, her dream came true as she relocated to Wheat Ridge, Colorado. Her new residence placed her just a 40 minute car ride from her sister, Emily and Tycen. The mountains that had forever and a day called out to her, had brought her home. Her soul was full and finally experiencing peace as she hiked, relaxed in her hammock, and read in the shadow of the peaceful mountains. 

If you are still with me after my, perhaps, long winded writing, thank you. Narrowing down the pages of a life full of stories is difficult for any mother to do...but even more so when the life you are sharing ends so very soon. Thank you for being with us, for offering support, and for loving our girl. 

YOU were a valuable and vital part of Paige's story and it could not be written without you. 

I leave you with Paige's brief, heartfelt journal entry... 

“I am unbelievably, horribly sorry. I hope someday you can forgive me. Be honest about my death: my eating disorder & depression have finally killed me. There is power in the truth & I’m okay with people knowing. I love you and I’m sorry."

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

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