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, September 30, 2018, following an extended period of declining health.
Born at Thomaston, September 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 Associates Degree in Dairy Farming from the University of Maine.
From 1952 to 1954 he served in the United States Army.
Don’s work experience began while 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 November 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 Corporation. When that company laid off most of its drivers, they kept Don going. In 1981, with his brother Richard, they began Paulsen’s 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 farm, one of Don’s customers and friend, 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 as ‘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 Past Selectman for the Town of South Thomaston, Past Supervisor Knox / Lincoln Soil & Water Conservation District, a 50 plus year member and Past King Lion of the South Thomaston Lions Club and as an active member and Past Deacon of Littlefield Memorial Baptist Church, Rockland.
Other than his parents, Don was pre-deceased by the mother of his children, Shirley Ann Wooster, February 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 step-mother Doris Paulsen of Jupiter, FL; 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 step-children, 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, West Virginia; step-sisters, Pat Ross and her husband Don of Warren, Berniece ‘Bunny’ McLellan and her husband James of Jupiter, Florida; many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, many nephews, nieces and extended family members.
A funeral service will be held at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, October 6, 2018, at Littlefield Memorial Baptist Church, One Waldo Avenue, Rockland, Pastor Mark Adolphsen and 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, One Waldo Avenue, Rockland, ME 04841.
To share a memory or story with Don’s family, please visit their online Book of Memories at www.bchfh.com. Arrangements are in the care of Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock Street, Rockland.