James E. Paul: Educator, musician, bon vivant

James E Paul
Oct 29, 1930 – June 26, 2022
James E. Paul, musician, educator, and renaissance man of the human spirit, passed away peacefully on the morning of June 26th. He lived fully each of his 91 years: with curiosity, discernment, and his own uniquely exuberant approach to enjoying good things.

Jim loved music: he explored early European singing in the cathedrals of England, he eagerly insisted on learning the piano at the age of 9 in Depression-era Cleveland, he worked at creating detailed vocal compositions and periodically sold them to small publishers, he lead John Marshall Junior High School with a select crew of local Seattle professionals to a big choral project in 1952 that was covered in the newspapers and recorded onto LP records.

Jim loved musicians: he collected sheet music and recordings, he went not to one but to four colleges filled with exceptional professors in the pursuit of his eventual PhD from the University of Washington, he founded swingle-singing jazz quartets and scholarly ensembles for ancient music, he co-founded both the Seattle Conservatory of Music and the Academy of Music Northwest which have graduated over a thousand young music students, ready for college and careers in the performing arts, he invited world-class artists to perform in the high-ceilinged “music room” at the center of his bespoke designed house.

Jim loved his wife Dee most of all: the way she changed his life in San Diego when they met at the marina, for Dee’s exquisite eye for art and design, he loved her for putting up with his stubborn independent nature, he loved her for talking him down from high almighty perches of certainty, he loved her for her own exuberant joy in traveling, fun, and adventure, he loved her for quiet times at home as the Black Forest clock chimed down the hall and they each, amazingly, found that marriage could be a perfectly suitable way to continue living together.

Jim greatly loved people and the world-at-large: being in the middle of conversations, holding forth on his favorite topics, going to concerts and restaurants, eating succulent and flavorful meals at any time, traveling to foreign destinations, and discovering new seas to sail with his mariner buddies.

He was preceded in death by good friends Dorothy Klotzman and Willard Schultz, and by his wife Dolores V. Wells. Jim is survived by former wife Cindy Paul, nieces Nancy, Joy, and Toby around Portland, Oregon, his sister-in-law Ros Paul of West Linn, and by his dear friends and neighbors.

Toward infinite horizons, carried on the breath of a consoling God–Jim Paul, may your memory be eternal!

  1. Jim was a well loved family friend and a colleague of my late father Daniel Leavitt who was also an educator in the arts at San Diego City College. As a child my brother and I loved visits to Jim Paul’s house because there were always many bowls of sweets awaiting us. Mom would would say take only a few, Jim insisted there were no limits! After dad died in 1996 there were many questions and gaps left unanswered. Last Thanksgiving Jim was able to join us at my mother’s home and we talked much of those times when he worked with Dad. I learned many things and gained a better insight into the awkward situation the art department had with the administration. Dad kept much to himself and Jim helped shine a light on times which would have otherwise been lost to history. Ever the raconteur and musician Jim treated us to a performance on one of his grand pianos later that week. He took great delight in demonstrating a bespoke pipe organ he had commissioned, showing how the notes would hiss gently for a unique sound. We also got to hear his lovely harpsichord, he complained it was out if tune but we could not tell! He was all smiles and cheer despite failing health and a joy to be with.

  2. I met Jim and Dee when they hired me to tune their pianos. I so enjoyed going to their house and was honored that they would invite my wife and I to musical events at their house. Jim and Dee were consummate educators. Ever committed to serving students and helping them reach the highest levels of knowledge. But most of all they loved living and they wanted everyone else to as well. Cynicism was low and optimism high in their countenances. One simply felt better after spending time with them. And they both had exquisite taste. Farewell my friends!

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