Daniel Henry Paulsen
POWAY, Calif. – Daniel Henry “Dan” Paulsen, Lt. Col. USAF Ret, died at age 95 on June 7, 2013, in Poway, Calif. The son of German immigrants, he was born in San Francisco on May 15, 1918. He lied about his age so he could join the National Guard when he was 16 and served in the Guard for six years. He attended San Jose State College.
After working as a policeman in Palo Alto, Dan entered the Army Air Corps’ pilot training program in 1941. He graduated as a 2nd Lt. on May 21, 1942, and married his sweetheart, Irma, the next day. Two weeks later he left for the South Pacific. During World War II, he served as a bomber pilot in Guadalcanal in 1942-43, flying B17s and other aircraft. Dan loved flying, so he welcomed the opportunity to remain in the Air Force after the war, when he flew B36s and eventually B52s. He served as an intelligence officer in Washington, D.C., Labrador, and Newfoundland; later posts included Operations Officer at Carswell AFB, Texas; Chief of Control at Altus AFB, Okla., and Kincheloe AFB, Mich.; and Deputy Commander of Operations, Kincheloe AFB, Mich.
Upon retirement in 1969, Dan enjoyed a second career at United Services Planning Association, providing financial services to military personnel. He moved to Poway in 2003 to be close to his family there, and enjoyed hunting, fishing and boating with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He also spent time in Escanaba with his daughter, Kristine, and family. He attended the Central United Methodist Church and looked forward to spending time with the warm and caring congregation as well as helping the pasty crew.
Dan also loved boating, fishing and hunting in the Upper Peninsula as well as attending the Bonifas Arts Center events and Players de Noc plays. He was talented at woodworking and built many beautiful objects including three cradles, a child’s rocking boat and a 16-foot cedar and mahogany canoe.
Dan was never happier than when sharing stories from meeting the love of his life after she beckoned to him from a candy store window when he was a cop walking his new beat, to his adventures in the South Pacific and the National Guard, to the saga of his father’s journey to this country as a ship’s carpenter. He charmed family, friends and all who heard his stories. Dan’s best story is the one he lived for most of his 95 years: fully engaged and interested in family, friends, and the world around him.
His daughters will continue posting Dan’s stories on his blog, flights-to-remember.blogspot.com.
He is survived by his daughters, Joanne Woodard of Poway, Kathryn Paulsen of New York City and Kristine Paulsen of Escanaba; son-in-law, John Franzen of Escanaba; grandson, Miles (Kristi) Woodard of Aguanga; granddaughter, Johanna Franzen of Minneapolis; and six great-grandchildren.
He was predeceased by his parents; his wife, Irma, who died in 1995; sister and brother; his son, Daniel, who died in 1979; and grandson, Gordon Woodard, who died in 2012.
Dan was buried with military honors at Riverside National Cemetery on Monday, June 17.
Memorial donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project at: woundedwarriorproject.org.