When Paul was 12, his family moved to Canada, from his birthplace in the province of Limburg, the Netherlands. He was put into the regular seat of a Grade 2 classroom, as he spoke no English. By the end of June, he was in Grade 7.
His BSc [Hon] and PhD were obtained at the University of Toronto, where he wrote a groundbreaking thesis about quantitative analysis of complex shapes, applied to fossil remains. While at university, he met his match. He impressed Michelle with his intelligence, the range of his knowledge over a wide range of topics, and his comment, “I didn’t know that nurses thought”. Folks interested in his career can Google his name, to read the citation for his membership in the Saskatchewan Geological Society’s Honour Roll.
Paul did stratigraphy and paleontology fieldwork in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, the Yukon, the NWT, Ellesmere Island in Nunavut, Wyoming, and Libya. He also taught at the University of Regina as a sabbatical replacement and a sessional lecturer. During one of his many flights, a quivering voice from the seat behind him on an Air Canada flight asked what airline he used, after Paul pointed out to Michelle which lakes he had crashed into from airplanes and helicopters.
A Renaissance-style man, Paul had an unending interest in science, history, art, music, carpentry, hiking, and above all his family, along with the greenest thumbs around, as anyone who walked by his amazing gardens can attest --- and possessed a phenomenal memory [except for names]. Shortly after his wedding, at a university function, he proudly announced, “I’d like you to meet ---- my wife”.
His wife Michelle, son Mark and wife Ruth, and daughters Carey Lehman and husband Colby, Suzanne Kahler and husband Chris, and Elise Parsons and husband Dave, can barely grasp that he is suddenly absent from his rocks, research, garden, and their families’ lives. Opa Paul eagerly anticipated fossil hunts and mountain climbs with cherished grandchildren Brennan, Sara, Gavin, Griffin, and Samuel, when the Covid19 pandemic ends. An aortic dissection abruptly cut short the intense and deep joy he found in his family, and they in him.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Paul’s name can be made to the Heart and Stroke foundation, or The GRIT program, Edmonton
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