With his life-long love, Audrey, at his side, loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, friend, and mentor, David Lamont Paulsen, 84, went into the arms of his savior, November 30th, 2020.
David was born November 13th, 1936, in the little town of Ephraim, Utah, the second of five children born to Helga Mae (Peterson) and George Ray Paulsen. He spent his childhood small-town style—working in the garden, taking water turns, herding sheep, and gathering with cousins and neighbors under the street lamp during the summer to play night games.
His parents were both educators and their influence rubbed off. His father, the principal of the school, often told the stories about David being pulled out of his fifth grade classroom by the 9th grade math teacher so he could impress his students by how quickly David could do complex problems in his head. He also loved participating in theater and debate, playing tennis, tracking the stats of his favorite Major League Baseball stars, and following the popular music charts.
A man of letters and intellect, when he graduated from Snow High School, Snow College (class of 57), and Brigham Young University (class of 61), he did so as valedictorian. He went on to complete a Juris Doctorate at The University of Chicago Law School (class of 64) and, after practicing law for several years, he returned to school for a PhD and was awarded a Doctorate in Philosophy and theology from The University of Michigan in 1972. While lawyering in Salt Lake City, David met his sweetheart Audrey Lucille. It might not have been love at first sight, but it was pretty close. After a whirlwind romance and motivated by the appearance of another suitor, David made his case persuasively—they were engaged—and on September 1, 1967 in the Salt Lake City Temple, David and Audrey were married, sealed together for this life and all eternity.
They started their family promptly, and by the time David finished his PhD and landed a job as a professor back in Utah, at another of his life long loves, Brigham Young University, they had grown from two to five. Three more children were born in Utah, making six—David Erik, Trinyan (Thomas J. Mariano), Kjrsten (Jason Oler), Ntanya (William Morell), Leif (Cindy Harris), and Patrick (Maren Memmott). Today, his family, in whose eyes he is and has always been a hero, includes 15 grandchildren and a great granddaughter. He was also a dependable and loving brother, son, uncle, and friend, the first in line to offer whatever he had to give. He is preceded in death by his parents, his brother Dick, his son Patrick, and his grandson Landon.
David paid attention to people, genuinely cared about their wellbeing, and could be counted on in tough times. He touched the lives of many with the generosity of his spirit, with his honest and unassuming manner of interacting, and with his good natured sense of humor and fun. To the students with whom he worked in his 40 year career at BYU, he was not only a professor, he was a mentor and an interlocutor. He treated every student as a scholar in their own right; he did more asking than telling and saw his role as more co-learner than expert, more facilitator than performer. He was recognized repeatedly by the university for his exemplary work as a teacher and as a scholar. He served as president of The Society of Christian Philosophers, was instrumental in bringing scholars and theologians of all religions into closer conversation, and he researched, wrote and published many scholarly books and articles, his work as a whole aimed at offering rational and historical defenses of Mormon theology.
David was a man of true faith. He served two missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; the first in the Northern (United) States and the second in Reykjavík, Iceland with Audrey, thus fulfilling their longtime dream of being missionaries together. He exemplified humility and grace. He chose every day to serve loved ones, students, and strangers. He was giving and sincere, kind and insightful. His laughter, light, and gentle soul will be sorely missed.
A viewing for family and friends will be held on Friday, December 4th from 9:30-10:30 at the LDS Church located at 731 East Center Street in Lindon. A funeral will immediately follow at 11:00am at the Church. Interment will be in the Orem City Cemetery.
For those unable to attend, you may join us via a live link at http://mywebcast.churchofjesuschrist.org/lindonutahcentralstake
1) Clink the second link
2) Select VIEW under the 4th Ward CENTER STREET broadcast
3) Enter your name
4) Touch the play button on the video
Condolences may be left on this page.