Obituary: Harold John Paul

Posted at 11:58 AM, Dec 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-08 13:58:16-05

Harold John Paul was born on July 4, 1924 in Williamstown, PA and died in Bozeman, MT on December 3, 2020. He was a long-time resident of Pensacola, FL from 1956 to 2005. He resided in Bozeman from December of 2005 until his death.

Harold grew up in Lykens, PA. He graduated from Lykens High School and was drafted into military service with the Army in April 1943. He served in the European Theater of WWII as a member of the 100th Infantry Division. He took a shrapnel wound to his right arm on December 2, 1944 in the Vosges Mountains of France. He went into surgery certain he would lose his arm but through the grace of God and the skill of his unknown surgeon, Harold kept his arm and the use of his right hand, enabling him to complete a bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering at Oklahoma State University in 1951. He received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his military service.

Harold met his first wife, Frances Grace Gilmore, while at Oklahoma State University and they married on September 3, 1949. Their first child, Lynn Bryan Paul, was born in September 1950 and upon Harold’s graduation from college the family moved to Brandenburg, KY. In 1952 they moved to Mobile, AL where their second child, Vickie Susan Paul, was born in February of 1953.

In 1955 Harold and two business partners formed Specialty Contractors, Inc., a commercial construction company, in Mobile, AL. In 1956 Harold moved his family to Pensacola, FL to establish a Florida office for Specialty Contractors, where the business continues there to this day, run by Harold’s grandsons. Harold and Fran’s third child, Chris John Paul, was born in Pensacola in June 1960.

Fran and Harold traveled extensively after their children were grown. Their wanderings included all 50 states, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. He enjoyed the art and architecture in every location they visited. Sadly, Fran passed away suddenly just after returning from a trip to the Smokey Mountains on August 26, 2001.

Several months after Fran’s passing, friends introduced Harold to Mary Jo Carr at a dinner party. They were both smitten and married September 21, 2002. In December 2005, with significant influence from Hurricane Ivan, they moved to Bozeman, MT where Mary Jo’s daughter, Caroline Carr, lives.

Harold was an active community member throughout his life. He was a faithful Rotarian, recipient of the Paul Harris Award with 36 years of perfect attendance, attending meetings all over the world. In Pensacola he was a member of McIlwain Presbyterian Church, a member of Rotary Club of Pensacola, volunteered for Meals on Wheels, and volunteered at the Pensacola Public Library. While in Montana he became involved in many community outreach organizations, donating volunteer time and money to HRDC Head Start, The Gallatin Valley Food Bank, Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter, The Bozeman Public Library, and Bozeman Noon Rotary Club. In his 80’s Harold also volunteered weekly to read to various local nursing home residents, an activity which he affectionately referred to as “reading to the ‘old people’”.

Harold had a lifelong love of music starting in childhood when he sang in the church choir in Lykens and was part of the elementary school rhythm band. As an adult he went to many hymn sings and sang in the church choir in Pensacola. He attended many theater events, symphonies, ballets, and musicals all over the world. In all his travels, his favorite place was the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia because of the music, architecture, and acoustics.

Harold is survived by his wife, Mary Jo Paul; daughter, Vickie (Stephen) Smithee; his sons, Lynn (Cathy) Paul and Chris Paul; and his former son-in-law, Kenny Morgan. Additionally, he is survived by his stepsons, George (Lily) Carr and Paul (Monique) Carr, and his stepdaughter, Caroline Carr. Harold has seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

He is predeceased by his first wife, Fran, and both his sisters, Barbara and Marie.

The family would like to thank Highgate Senior Living of Bozeman for their personal and loving care of Harold, where he died peacefully in his sleep.

In lieu of flowers, donations to your local Animal Shelter or Food Bank in Harold’s name would be greatly appreciated. A memorial service will be held in Pensacola, FL at a later date.

Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. []