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James Leroy Paul

July 23, 1940 ~ May 5, 2018 (age 77)

These words aren’t about what he did in his life, but are about the man he was.  Shane’s words encompass the memories and feelings his wife, children, grandchildren and loved ones all have and hold dear.

When I was a young child I thought my father was superman. He could be flat footed and do a back flip. He could jump over the parking meters on Main St. He could fix everything, build anything, drive or run anything. He was bull strong and I am still confident my Dad could beat up your dad in his prime. Even as a child I don’t remember telling each other we loved one another or hugged, but I never doubted his love. He showed his love by actions I can remember sitting in his lap and telling him about my day and having his full attention,

Him taking the time to show me how to shoot somehow knowing when he didn’t need to hold the gun for me any longer. Teaching me to cast spinning real because I thought the push button ones were for babies.

   I work in the same Industry as Dad did and I don’t know how he found the energy, we work long hours, but he always made time for me. I can remember bugging him constantly lets go shoot, fish, camp, ride the motorcycle. Somehow he always did. My earliest memories were of wanting to be just like him. I thought he was perfect—the ideal man. 

As I become a little older he somehow knew when to give you more rope. I remember when he started let to me drive. We would scoot the seat way up and stack coats or something so I could see over the wheel, this started when we were camped out in logging camp I was about 9 then. Later he worked for the Heckman Ranch for a short time and there I drove everything on the ranch and I remember when he started letting me go all on my own without him in the rig I was never more proud.

   When we were fishing we would jump from rock to rock and it started to become a competition who could make the furthest leap, I was scared sometimes but he had unwavering confidence in me which would give me the courage to jump. He could always make things fun this way. Not just shooting the guns but make them dance or shooting them out of the air. I look at some of the parents today and they are so regimented or overly protective not knowing when to loosen the ropes as their children age,  he somehow did and it gave me confidence. He was the ideal father it seemed to a boy there was nothing he couldn’t do or know. He had the answers to my questions. We were lucky to have the same interests from fishing, hunting equipment and cars. There wasn’t a car on road he couldn’t tell you what it was and I had a love of cars from my earliest memories. Hunting was big for me and he didn’t just have the answers he could find the game tell you where they were headed and why. He was the man I wanted to be and still do.

   When I started into my teen years and early adult I discovered he wasn’t perfect, but the imperfections made me love him more. Dad was rarely cross with me, by this age he was letting me make my own decisions, probably not agreeing but letting me make my own way. He always seemed so proud of me and I still don’t know why I wasn’t doing anything special.  By this age we were really becoming friends and I loved hanging out with him. I discovered we had a similar sense of humor most likely a lifetime being shaped by his. He had the greatest sayings and true grasp on having a good time. His good nature and sense of humor I believe this is what his friends and family probably remember the most. Dad was great at sarcasm he could really make you stop and think about the insult or the double meaning.  When I talk about this some people don’t get sarcasm  I say get over it----it is a joke, because dad was never mean about it he would be just as tickled if you got him.  It was this age when I really understood what a superstar he was. I remembered the phone calls from men offering jobs to dad. Mostly to come run Hi-lead or throw tongs when he mostly just wanted to run loader.

   When I started working in the woods I met many an old timer and when I would mention my last name they would always ask if I was related to Jim Paul. Of course I was proud to say he was my father and then I would get a story of how that was the first time they ever saw someone cowboying skidding tongs. They would go on about what an operator he was and you didn’t bet against Jimmy if somebody threw their hard hat on the ground to see it he could hit with the tongs---most to the time they had a smashed hat. I was fortunate to work with my father in the woods by then he was mostly running the loader. I have hauled many loads of logs and loaded under countless operators and I am not bragging because he is my father, but he is the best loader operator I have ever got a load of logs from. He was fast, smooth and made pretty load of logs doing it. He had great depth perception you never really had to watch him to make sure there was a enough log on the bunk or rubbing your bang board. There are still men in woods who knew him or have heard of him and I have had them ask me if they were as good as Dad at loading logs, it always makes me smile and of course I keep telling them to keep working on it.     

   In later years and all the talking we have done I have never really heard Dad say he was proud of anyone, but I sure have heard him brag on them. Kids and grandkids always a conversation starter and he could brag on them for hours. He could talk to me for a couple of hours about nothing and everything and was completely interested. I will miss this the most. I have had plenty of talks with him and didn’t ever realize the advice and knowledge until later—he always had such an easy manner. Dad was kind and funny, in all of my life and can’t remember a hateful or mean word. That’s not to say he never upset me, but it was usually calling me on my BS and nobody likes to face their own bullshit. Usually with Dad if he didn’t like something you were doing you got that arched eye brow and little lilt of  the head, but they were your decisions and he was always there for me. I try to be like him in that way because I can sometimes be prone to get on my soap box.

   When Dad was diagnosed with cancer he met it with bravery and fortitude ----I know he was scared and anxious, but he tried not to show us. It was if he didn’t want to worry us. 

He was in pain, but he gritted his teeth and dealt with it again not to worry us. I would call how you feeling? ----good. He was protecting my feelings. I hope I can face my end so bravely. He was MANLY—He always cared for, supported, took interest and above all was kind to those he loved. To me that is what a real man is. I write this the day after Dad died and I think in some respects it is a letter to him to let him know how much I loved and respected him------but I know he knows. I wish I had the ability to write the countless stories in my head into a creative and cohesive entertaining story to paper, I don’t know if it is still to raw or I just don’t have the skill. I do know that there will be a large hole left in my life from his passing.

James is survived by his wife, Joyce; children, Sandra (Ed) Aiken, Sonya (Bryan) Davis, Tabitha (Mitch) Page, Carmen (Mike) Salyer and Shane (Sandi) Paul; sister, Gloria (Bill) Jacks; brother, Gary (Ruth) Paul and numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

He is preceded in death by his parents; brother, Kenny; daughter, Lisa and sisters, Edith (Laverne) Keeler and Wilma (Dwain) Thompson.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date.

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