The world lost a wonderful man when Don Paul of Calgary passed away in hospital on Sunday, May 23, 2021. Yes, ‘the man with two first names’ was often called, “Paul” by mistake, but he was always forgiving.
Don was everything you could ask for in a son, brother, husband, father, grandfather and also as a friend to many. There will not be a funeral, so we hope you will read this as a eulogy to him. This is a tribute to a true “gentle" man.
Don was the loving soulmate and husband to Jo Ann and the dearest father to Jennifer McCarron and her husband, Jim, and Tim Paul and his wife, Kelly. His six grandchildren were the lights of his life and he enjoyed them from newborns to watching their own individual personalities develop. Keegan and Molly were his grandchildren from Jen and Jim. Brittney, Samantha, Alexandra and Isabella were his granddaughters from Tim and Kelly. Don will be sadly missed by his sister Shirley Kreutzer and her husband Bob in Regina, brother Murray Paul and his wife Bev in Penticton, and also Jo Ann's sisters, Wendy Wood in Ottawa and Cathy Lyon (Bob) in Kanata.
Don was born and raised in rural Saskatchewan near Govan, the son of the late Kay and Raymond Paul. Although he loved family life there, Don knew early on he was not going to be a farmer. So, after graduating high school, he headed to Regina with his sights set on an office job. Not an easy task for a farm boy with zero skills. But his determination drove him. He taught himself to type from sister Shirley’s typing textbook and thankfully, landed his first position. His remarkable boss was a mentor and quickly saw Don’s potential, encouraging him to take the credit management course from the Canadian Credit Institute through the University of Toronto which he did through correspondence for three years. His new credentials opened a whole new world of opportunity for Don. His work ethic was impeccable and adhered to his Grandpa Johnson’s motto, “If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well.”
Don was transferred to Calgary and moved up to a job in the Hudson’s Bay Company as Assistant Credit Manager. It was in Calgary when he met the love of his life, Jo Ann, and their journey together began and continued for the next 50 years. Shortly after they were married, Don was transferred to Regina with a promotion to Credit Manager. It was here where his darling daughter, Jennifer Dawn, was born. It was a short two years there, but Don thoroughly enjoyed his Saskatchewan Roughriders’ home games. A bigger promotion led to Edmonton’s Hudson’s Bay store and setting roots in a home in Sherwood Park where his loving son, Timothy Raymond, became the last perfect addition to the family. Further promotions within Hudson’s Bay took the family to Winnipeg, Toronto at the head office and finally, full circle back to Calgary where they were delighted to remain.
After 18 years with the Hudson’s Bay Company, Don moved on to become Credit Manager with United Farmers of Alberta at the head office in Calgary. Having been a Saskatchewan farm boy, he could relate to rural operations and the challenging life farmers endured, good times and bad. Don retired after 17 years with UFA. He had many good friendships from those years working with some wonderful staff and co-workers whom he admired greatly. No matter where he and Jo Ann landed all those working years, they made lifelong friends that have endured forever.
Retirement proved to be a busy time and with a move from their house in Parkland, including his enormous garden and raspberry patch (where he did most of the picking we admit), Don and Jo Ann settled into a lovely condo and never looked back. A whole new life of wonderful gatherings and friendships were now right down the hall.
Don and Jo Ann wasted no time diving into retirement by hitting the road in a little Ford Pleasureway RV van. Don called it “The Ford Hotel'' and it took them across Canada from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland and through parts of the United States. Then came the cruises with friends including the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and, his favourite, a river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. The bus tours came last, venturing through Great Britain, Ireland and France. Their adventures took them to sites this farm boy never expected to see in his wildest dreams. Don’s father used to say, “Make hay while the sun shines” and that’s just what he did.
Snowbirding in Palm Springs brought the comfort of warmth in the winter and great friends who returned year after year. This is where Don discovered his newfound passion for pickleball at which he excelled. He was proud to have found “his” sport. He played in Palm Springs all winter and then continued throughout the summer with the West Hillhurst pickleball gang in Calgary.
This past winter, Don dictated his life’s stories and pored through albums selecting photos to accompany them. He was determined to share his stories in the form of a book. It was a beautiful way for Don to re-live a life well-lived. He had the delight to see the printed books and distribute them to his family as his lasting gift.
He battled an autoimmune disease as a true fighter until the end when he silently realized it was his time to go and to unselfishly give himself and his family the peace that was needed.
Don was blessed with a good heart, a kind soul and a truly fulfilling life. He touched many lives throughout his years with his thoughtfulness, generosity and support. He will be remembered as someone who loved a great conversation especially the ones that involved laughter! He was a gift to us all.
Thank you for reading this and sharing in our tribute to our dear Don Paul. We invite you view the slideshow of his life and, if you knew Don, share a memory of him by clicking on the "Tribute" tab (see above under main heading).
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