Obituaries : * Paula Jean Myers Pope; Olympic Medalist

Paula Jean Myers Pope, a world-class diver who won four Olympic medals, has died in her home in Ojai. She was 60.

Pope, who had lived in Ojai since 1972, died Saturday after a long illness, said Karl Pope, her husband of 37 years.

Born in La Verne, she was a three-time member of the U.S. Olympic team and competed in the three-meter springboard and the 10-meter tower diving events. She won three Olympic silver medals and a bronze during her 12-year diving career.


In 1952, at age 16, she won her first Olympic Silver medal during the games in Helsinki, Finland. Then, in 1956, while a student at Ohio State University, she went to Melbourne, Australia, where she won a bronze.

And in 1960, she garnered two silver Olympic medals during the games in Rome, Italy. On her return, in honor of her athletic accomplishments, she was named a Los Angeles Times Woman of the Year.

Pope won several other awards, including two gold medals during the 1959 Pan American Games.

After her athletic career, Pope earned a degree in dental hygiene at USC and became a dental hygienist. She retired in 1984 to assist her husband in their family-owned business, the Ojai Valley Racquet Club, where she coached youngsters.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by two sons, Thane and Derek Pope of Ojai; three daughters, Stacy and Sydnee Pope of Ojai and Darci Marsh of South Lake City, and three grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Clausen Funeral Home in Ojai. A memorial service is planned for 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Church of Latter-day Saints in Ojai. Burial will be at Ivy Lawn Cemetery in Ventura.