Karl Edward Paulig, born April 28, 1929 in Urbana, died peacefully at home on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. He was 87.
He is survived by his wife, Georgia Martin Paulig of Urbana, as well as oldest daughter Kristin Paulig and granddaughter Georgia Rui Paulig of Durham, NC, middle daughter Gretchen Paulig and granddaughters Julia Kate and Emi Cunningham Paulig of Austin, TX, and youngest daughter Heidi Paulig Singer of Urbana and grandsons Karl and Tristan Singer, of Columbus, OH, as well as many beloved nieces and nephews who flocked to the Paulig homestead from all over the country to share Thanksgiving with Karl and Georgia in Urbana. He also loved and enjoyed the company of his son-in-law, Brad Singer of Urbana, and daughter-in-law, Joy Cunningham, of Austin.
Karl and Georgia were high school sweethearts and were married for sixty-six years at the time of his death. Karl played football at Urbana High School, and was named Most Valuable Player in 1945. He graduated from the Ohio State University with a BA in 1951, followed by a law degree from Ohio State in 1952. At the age of twenty-three, he was admitted to practice law in the State of Ohio and first began practicing with Judge Donald Gibbs. At the age of twenty-nine, he was appointed Urbana Municipal Court Judge by the governor and was at that time, the youngest municipal court judge in the state. Karl placed great faith in our system of laws that gives all of us the right to a trial by a jury of our peers. He practiced law for sixty-two years, reluctantly retiring at age eighty-five.
Although publicly recognized for his sharp and creative legal mind and ardent advocacy for his clients, Karl was at heart an artist and a philosopher with a great curiosity about, and interest in, the meaning of life and the lessons and arc of history. He thought often about how and why as a species, and as individuals, human beings are capable of the most sacred and heroic acts of kindness and transcendence but also of unimaginable acts of cruelty. As Georgia says, Karl married a realist, but he was a philosopher who was curious about everything. Karl had a finely honed aesthetic as anyone knew who saw him in his sharply tailored suits and notable hats. He also loved clever wordplay and animals of all kinds. He was a champion writer of absurd, laugh-out-loud cheers for all manner of lesser known creatures, with one cheer beginning “We are the dogs of Tecumseh dog school, Every Wednesday, We learn a new rule,” and another ending, “Paw, jaw, fang, and claw, We are underdogs, Rah, Rah, Rah.” Karl felt a special connection to China, and he and Georgia traveled there twice to meet and bring home their granddaughters. In 2008 he dedicated himself to assisting the families of three Chinese Urbana University students killed in a local car accident. His service to them earned him a letter from the Chinese Consulate, which said, in part, “the sympathy and love you’ve shown towards those ordinary Chinese parents are so strong that they not only gradually recover from desperation, but also cherish new hopes for future. In particular, your expertise and experience as an attorney have offered them the most-needed help in their endeavor to get economic compensation legally”.
Karl served as a lay reader in the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, where he led services for over a year, declining a request to serve permanently. He also wrote powerfully moving Thanksgiving commentary prayers each year which were a cherished tradition for four generations of family. Children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and their children and grandchildren would gather together and listen raptly, recording his wisdom to savor later and share with those unable to make the sojourn to Urbana that year. Karl thought deeply about how it could be that in God’s house, there are many mansions.
In one prayer, he beseeched God to “help us understand the words you speak in many languages,” and to also “go with those who cry “Inshallah” and “to hear each one who calls you Allah.” He asked God to help us put aside our differences and to hear God speak “through our ancestors, Abraham, Confucius, Buddha, Lao-Tzu” in a world where one child of the Mideast“becomes a carpenter” and master teacher, while another child becomes“a camelherder” and master teacher. As God extends love to all, so should we extend love to others without discrimination as to country, creed, race, religious expression, or any other attribute people use to divide us by hatred rather than to unite us in love.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Myeloproliferative Neoplasm (MPN) Research Foundation, 180 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1870, Chicago, IL 60601, 312-683-7247, www.mpnresearchfoundation.org, or to the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, 230 Scioto Street, Urbana, OH 43078, 937-653-3497. All are invited to pay their respects at an open house honoring his life on Saturday, April 8, 2017 from 5 until 8 pm at Willowwood, 655 N. Dugan Rd. in Urbana.
Arrangements are in the care of Walter & Lewis Funeral Home, Urbana. Condolences may be expressed to the family at www.walterfunerals.com.