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Harlan Howard Paulsen, 90, of Salem, S.D., passed away on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D. Visitation will be on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 from 2:00-5:00 p.m. at Kinzley Funeral Home. The family will be present from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Salem United Church. Funeral services will be Thursday, January 2, 2014, at 10:30 a.m. at the church with Pastor Mark Dickson officiating.
Harlan was born December 6, 1923 to Walter and Della (Jensen) Paulsen near Anthon, Iowa. He attended country school through the eighth grade and then attended Anthon high school graduating in 1942. The highlight of his senior year was playing in the Iowa state baseball tournament, which was a single class at that time. In the semi-final game, they defeated the Dowling Des Moines team. In the championship game, they were beaten by the Davenport Blue Devils. He spent the next year and a half farming with his father. In 1944 he was drafted into the Army. After 17 weeks of training at Fort Hood Texas, he was then sent on a troop ship to France and was assigned to the 35th Infantry Division. He began active service at the Battle of the Bulge. The 35th moved through France, Belgium, Holland and Germany before meeting the Russian army at the Elbe River. The 35th Division then returned to the United States with expectations of continuing the war in the Pacific Theatre. Japan soon surrendered and they remained stateside. Harlan was discharged in 1946, and then attended the University of South Dakota, Vermilion, S.D. for 2 years playing on the baseball team. He then rented a farm near Holstein, Iowa and began farming. In June of 1948, he married Alice Payton of Salem, S.D. In 1952, they purchased a farm near Spencer, S.D. They retired from farming in 1990 and moved to Salem where they enjoyed retirement and spending time with their 8 grandchildren and 2 great grandsons.
Harlan served 9 years on the Spencer School Board. In 1969 he was appointed Chairman of the Building Committee for the Salem United Church which was successfully completed in 1974. Harlan served on many committees and was an active member of the VFW and American Legion. He hand-picked corn as a youth and forty years later began competing in the state hand corn picking contest. In 1979 he won the South Dakota State title. He participated in the national contest 5 times, placing as high as 7th place twice.
Harlan and Alice spent 17 winters as "snowbirds" in Apache Junction, A.Z. During this time Harlan became an avid softball player and horseshoe pitcher and continued pitching when he returned to Salem in the spring. Harlan remained active, pitching in leagues in Bridgewater, Madison and then starting a league in Salem. He competed in state and national tournaments and was inducted into the South Dakota Horseshoe Hall of Fame in August of 2013. He was an avid harmonica player and learned to play the banjo at the age of 80.
Survivors include children: Dianne (Lynn) Perry, Bancroft, S.D., Mike (Marla) Paulsen, Black Hawk, S.D., and Keith (Tammy) Paulsen, Salem; grandchildren, Heath (Nicole) Perry, Sabrina (Matt) Pribyl, Bridgett Perry, Kyndal (Mace) Luckett, Khristopher Paulsen, Jeremy Paulsen, Jenna Paulsen and Kally Jo Paulsen; two great-grandsons Jonah and Caleb Pribyl.
He is preceded in death by his parents, wife Alice, daughter Marjorie and brother Norman. Interment will be at Wildwood Cemetery, Salem.
Kinzley Funeral Home
500 N Main St Salem, SD 57058
Published in The Argus Leader on Dec. 31, 2013