Tuesday, April 14, 2015
4:00 PM to 6:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food and refreshments will be served.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
10:00 AM EDT
Genessee Prairie Cemetery
Corner of 11th Street & Parkview
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
With a life that spanned times of great change in the world around him, Paul Newhall was a strong and hardworking man with a sweet spirit and a tender heart. He was determined and honorable with the ability to bring his vision to life, and he was a firm believer in doing things right. It was easy to see that Paul shared much of his life’s journey with his true love, and together they saw so many of the most amazing things that life has to offer. Never one to worry about building wealth, he was content in whatever life brought, drawing strength from the love of his family when he suffered the lose of his beloved wife. Life will never be the same without Paul here, but he leaves behind a brilliantly colored mosaic of memories that his loved ones will forever cherish.
Life during the 1930s was anything but easy as the entire decade was cloaked in the hardship of the Great Depression. Jobs were scarce, the unemployment rate soared, and things only became worse with a drought that covered our nation’s heartland for nearly two years. It was as this decade was dawning that a young couple from Northampton, Massachusetts, discovered that they were expecting a baby. With great anticipation, Harold and Esther (Melroy) Newhall, awaited the birth of their baby as summer unfolded in June of 1931. The big day finally arrived when the baby boy they named Paul Eugene drew his first breath on June 24th. He was the third of four children in his family and was raised alongside his brothers, Harold and Alec, and his sister, Joan. His father made a career as a manufacturing representative for dairy equipment while his mother was a Sunday school teacher, who at one time, ran Lathrup Nursing home, and in her 70’s wrote a children’s book called “Sandy the Talking Cat”. Sadly, Paul’s father died at a young age, and from that point on his mother ran a boarding house to support her family.
As a young boy Paul was a bustle of activity. He was a fantastic piano player beginning at the young age of four. He was excellent at both jazz and boogie blues, and he played in several bands while growing up, often performing for sandwiches in high school and business school. Paul attended local schools for a time and later attended Stanstead, a private boarding school, St. Johns, in Quebec, Canada, the only one of his siblings to go there. While in high school he was a fast sprinter who even set a school record. Like most kids in the area, Paul’s first job in high school was working in a tobacco field. This led to a lifetime of smoking for Paul. He was amazing at math and could have easily made a career as an engineer as he could also build anything.
Not to be forgotten during Paul’s years at St. Johns was his introduction to the young woman who would forever hold the key to his heart. Her name was Nancy Burgner, and the first time they met Paul was so smitten that he told a buddy that he was going to marry her. They found they had things in common right off the bat as she was a talented pianist too and was a vocalist who had an operatic singing style. Sparks flew right from the start, and the rest is history as they say.
After grade thirteen (in Canada), Paul enlisted in the United States Air Force. He ended up serving two four-year terms and was discharged as a seargent. Paul served for eight years altogether, from June 1, 1951, through February 26, 1959.
With a desire to establish a life together, Paul and Nancy were married by the justice of the peace in Topeka, Kansas, on May 2, 1953. It was a special day with just the two of them, and then Paul went back to active duty. The newlyweds lived at Biggs AFB in Texas and later in El Paso, Texas. Together Paul and Nancy welcomed two children including Dana in 1954 and Sandy in 1956 into their hearts and home. They did move around a bit initially, but they eventually settled in Solon, Ohio, located just outside of Cleveland. This is where their girls spent the bulk of their formative years. It was a tradition that Paul told his girls the most amazing bedtime stories with made up names that mimic his daughters’ names. Just like his own mother’s stories, they were always very detailed and animated, and it was hard to tell who loved this tradition more, him or his girls! Sandy has continued this tradition with her own girls. When Sandy was in high school, both she and Paul shared a love for photography and even had a dark room in their basement. At times they traveled a bit taking photographs.
Once he was discharged, Paul began working for RCA, but after a short time he took a job with Brunswick where he worked as a service manager for many years. Eventually, Paul took a sales job with Wolverine Tube, which left him traveling much of the time, but he was able to retire at the age of 55. Nancy worked as an executive assistant for Texaco.
During their retirement years, Paul and Nancy were ready for some fun. They took their dream vacation to New Zealand for three weeks. They saw and did everything their hearts desired there, and this trip always came up when they were reminiscing. Paul and his wife also traveled to Nova Scotia, took other driving adventures, and made trips to California to visit Dana. With a desire to be closer to Sandy and her family, Paul and Nancy moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan. Sadly, it was only a few years later that he was devastated with the loss of his wife after a battle with cancer in 2001. She was only 70 when she died, and Paul was never quite the same. He looked forward to Sunday dinners with Sandy and her family, and he still called every week to make sure that he was invited.
Paul continued to keep busy. He and a tool for everything and could fix or build anything including wood silhouettes for his friends and neighbors. Paul could just envision whatever needed to be done, and then he brought it to fruition. He built a very detailed train set in the garage “project” room, and he read everything he could get his hands on. Paul loved music and the theater as well as relaxing with a Popov vodka martini on the rocks with a splash of orange juice. It has been said that he was set in his ways, which is perhaps why he had breakfast every morning at 9 a.m. at LaRues’ Restaurant.
A man with old fashioned values and a heart as big as they come, Paul Newhall was such a blessing. He was the best dad his girls could ask for, and things only got better when he became a grandpa. Although cautious and safe, Paul did know how to have a good time, and despite his health issues he never let life get the best of him. He will be forever missed.
Paul Eugene Newhall died on April 9, 2015. Paul’s family includes his daughters: Dana Newhall and Sandy (John) Klein; 2 granddaughters: Kait and Alex Klein; and brother, Alec Newhall. Paul was preceded in death by his wife, Nancy, and 2 siblings: Harold and Joan Newhall. Visit with family and friends while sharing some food and refreshments on Tuesday from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. at Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler-Kalamazoo. Graveside services with military honors will be Wednesday, 10:00 a.m. at Genessee Prairie Cemetery. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a favorite memory. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society.