December 24, 1917 - December 16, 2011
Salem - Our father was born in Trip, South Dakota in 1917 to immigrant parents, who came to help settle the Louisiana Purchase. He was a good student, but went only through the 8th grade. Then he and a brother stayed home to help take care of his mother who was ill. He never had a chance to finish high school. When he was nine or ten years old, he went to live with an uncle to help on his farm and work. When Paul was about fifteen, his father owned a car dealership in Kaylor, SD. Then one night, the cars were all parked in the dealership's huge garage, where it caught fire and burned to the ground. The family lost everything. This was hard on a family of fourteen children. Paul's father had no insurance. During this time all the boys who could work were farmed out to family and friends who needed help. During this time, Paul went back to his uncle and found work. He was to drive his cousins to and from school and help with plowing. He was using a team of four work horses. One day his uncle said, "You plow this field, I'm going to town." While he was gone, Paul got off the plow to check something. The horses spooked and ran off, jumped a stream, turning the plow over in the process. It took Paul all day to untangle the horses, straitening the harnesses and turning over the plow. Fortunately, he was able to get the horses back up and into the barn just as his uncle returned. To this day, Paul just laughs and said his uncle never knew about this accident. During the depression Paul and his uncle Jay rode the rails looking for work. Paul eventually found work on a dairy farm, but was let go because his huge hands would cramp and he couldn't keep up with the rest of the workers. It was soon after that, that he and Uncle Jay landed a job working for Great Northwestern Railway in Wells, Nevada laying train track. He soon became a Gandy Dancer. The men got this name because as they laid the tracks, they would take turns, hitting the spikes that held the tracks in place. As they did this, they would sing and hit the spikes in synchronized rhythm. As they came down hard with the huge sledge hammers, their whole body would leave the ground, thus the name Gandy Dancer. They saved a lot of money because there was no place to spend it. They each made about $180.00. That was real money back then, because you could buy a loaf of bread for 2 cents and a nickel. From time to time Paul and Uncle Jay would go home to visit their family. During one of these visits, Paul found his future wife picking corn. He thought she was one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen and she was feisty which he liked. They were married in 1940 and one year later Carol was born to them. They were living in Coeur D' Alene, ID. Paul worked for a newspaper delivering newspapers. His salary was only $89.00 a month. They could not afford a car, so Paul rode a motorcycle. His mother and father came to visit. They were getting ready to move from South Dakota to Missoula, MT. Just after leaving, Paul's parents were in a terrible accident resulting in the loss his mother. The older married children took the younger ones in and raised them. Eventually the family moved to Salem. They each built homes in south Salem. Paul sold his home and moved, where he built six small 2 bedroom rentals. After he finished those, he sold them and moved to Four Corners. During this time he worked for Sears and Roebucks in their building dept. He did roofing, but he left there because he did not like their unethical work habits. He then started his own business, "The Blue Pannel Form Company." He built foundations, basements and retaining walls. When he was a little boy about 9 years old he used to dig absolutely square holes in the ground, 6 inches deep his Mom told him some day you will build basements and that is what he did. He also built small damns for holding ponds and sewage systems for dairy farms. They would spray the barns and milk houses down with power hoses into a huge holding tank. Then they would pump the water and liquid back out onto the fields. He is known all over Salem and surrounding towns for his honesty and good work. He had a wonderful sense of humor. He continually played pranks on his men who worked with him. Once he followed his two nephews on a double date. They borrowed his car with a warning- "Don't let anything happen to my car!" They said "we won't!" However, Paul followed them to an eatery and waited until they left the car. Once they were inside, he quickly jacked up the car an inch off the ground and put shims under it. He waited to see what would happen. When the nephews got in the car and started it up, the motor ran just fine, but the car could not go anywhere. They looked under the hood and under the car many times before they discovered the problem. They went and borrowed a jack, but as they were returning the jack to the owner, Paul quickly went out and jacked the car up again replacing the shims laughing all the way home. Paul had a back hoe. Many times his wife and siblings would come out and watch him give all the little kids in the neighborhood rides home sitting in the bucket of his backhoe. There was no one that can remember not loving him after they met him. He worked hard all his life. You could depend on him. If he shook your hand and made a deal, you did not need a contract. His word was his bond. He loved the Lord and raised his family in the church. Paul retired after a bout of shingles blinded him in one eye. Until then, he was a young man for his age. Paul moved into Salem Green Mobile Home Park in 1996. He lived there until 2007 when his wife passed away. Then he moved to the Springs. Paul lived through many tragedies in his life, but with his faith, God pulled him through it all! We love you daddy and will miss you! You will always live in our hearts. Survivors include daughter, Carol and Errol Claire of John Day, Oregon; their two daughters, in Colorado and one son of southern Oregon; another daughter, Janice and Ron Lee of Cambridge Idaho; their five girls of North Carolina, Idaho and Nevada. A funeral service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 22 at Restlawn Funeral Home. Interment will follow at Restlawn Memory Gardens. Arrangements by Restlawn Funeral Home.
Salem - Our father was born in Trip, South Dakota in 1917 to immigrant parents, who came to help settle the Louisiana Purchase. He was a good student, but went only through the 8th grade. Then he and a brother stayed home to help take care of... View Obituary & Service Information
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