Donald J. Paulsen

Oct 02, 2018
Donald Paulsen

South Thomaston — Donald James Paulsen, 86, husband of A. Betty Paulsen, died peacefully at his home with his wife and children at his side Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, following an extended period of declining health.

Born at Thomaston Sept.23, 1932, he was the son of John B. and Hilda Nelson Paulsen. While growing up in Thomaston, he was educated in local schools and was a 1950 graduate of Thomaston High School. Don later earned an associate degree in dairy farming from the University of Maine.

From 1952 to 1954 he served in the Army.

Don’s work experience began when, as a young boy, he accompanied his father hauling coal. After quickly wearing out two toy shovels that the elder Paulsen gave his son, a real shovel was provided, which Don used loading coal.

On Nov. 5, 1959, Don purchased his South Thomaston farm with a gentlemen’s agreement transaction, and in his words; “That day I began milking cows.” That farm became Donald’s passion, where he enjoyed working the farm and maintaining that land as a working farm to this day. Don loved driving the mile to the back of his farm, which is bordered by both the Keag Marsh and St. George River, and after illness stole his ability to drive, he would coerce someone to drive him for that ride daily.

For more than 10 years he worked hauling cement from the Thomaston cement plant, owned at that time by Martin Marietta Corp. When that company laid off most of its drivers, they kept Don going. In 1981, with his brother Richard, they began Paulsen Brothers Transportation. The brothers traveled to West Virginia, where they had negotiated a deal and, again on a handshake, drove home with two new tractors with trailers. Returning to Thomaston, they obtained local financing to pay for those rigs. That original deal created a longtime friendship between the Paulsen brothers and their West Virginia friend.

In addition to being a farmer and small businessman, Don was known as a practical joker and a poet, who often wrote and recited poetry. While operating as a dairy farmer, one of Don’s customers and friends, referring to the bag in which customers deposited their milk money, jokingly gave Don the nickname Money Bags. His daughter later affectionately dubbed the farm Money Bags Spread.

A 33rd Degree Mason, Don was coronated in 1991. He was a member of all the Masonic Bodies and was distinguished as a Past Grand Commander of Grand Commandery of Maine; Past Grand Illustrious Master of Grand Council of Maine; Past Eminent Prior of KYCH; Past Sovereign of Red Cross of Constantine, Tamerlane Chapter; Past District Deputy Grand Lodge of Maine; Past Sovereign of Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests; Past High Priest of his local Chapter Royal Arch Masons and Past President of Masonic Temple Corporation, Rockland.

Don further served his community as a selectman for the town of South Thomaston, a supervisor of the Knox-Lincoln Soil & Water Conservation District, a 50-plus-year member and King Lion of the South Thomaston Lions Club and as an active member and Deacon of Littlefield Memorial Baptist Church, Rockland.

Other than his parents, Don was predeceased by the mother of his children, Shirley Ann Wooster, Feb. 19, 2015; a grandson, James M. Ross; two brothers, Harold and Ralph Paulsen; and a sister, Hope Brown.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 31 years, A. Betty Paulsen, of South Thomaston; his stepmother, Doris Paulsen, of Jupiter, Fla.; his children, Donald Paulsen II and his wife, Cathy, of Cushing, Tammy Benner of Thomaston, Lorraine ‘\"Lori" Benner and her husband, Steve, of Warren; his stepchildren, Adelbert Vinal, Jr. and his wife, Marilyn, of St. George, David Vinal and his wife, Patricia, of Warren, Darlene Dudley and her husband, Walter, of Waldoboro; two brothers, Richard Paulsen of St. George, John Paulsen of Florida; a sister, Grace Chapman, of Parkersville, W. Va.; stepsisters Pat Ross and her husband, Don, of Warren, Berniece "Bunny" McLellan and her husband, James, of Jupieter, Fla.; many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, many nephews, nieces and extended family members.

A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, at Littlefield Memorial Baptist Church, 1Waldo Ave., Rockland, Pastor Mark Adolphsen and the Rev. Dr. Linwood Welch will co-officiate. A reception will follow in the fellowship hall downstairs.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Pen Bay Christian School Scholarship Fund, 1 Waldo Ave., Rockland, ME 04841.

To share a memory or story with Don’s family, visit their online Book of Memories at Arrangements are with Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, Rockland.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Oct 02, 2018 11:40

One fine Christian gentleman who always left you with a smile; no matter how he was feeling. RIP, Sir, thanks for setting the example of what faith is all about.

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