Donald L. Paulsen(1922 - 2014)

Donald L. Paulsen

Mesa, AZ formerly of Des Moines

Donald L. Paulsen, 92, of Mesa, AZ, formerly of Des Moines, IA passed away peacefully at his home in Leisure World, AZ on May 8, 2014. A memorial service will be 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 1627 Grand Ave, West Des Moines, IA, 50265. A visitation will be 9:30 a.m. until service time at the church. Interment will be at Resthaven Cemetery in West Des Moines, IA.

Don was born January 27, 1922 in Maquoketa, IA to George and Mamie (Schrader) Paulsen. He lived on the family farm with his brother, Russell, and sister, Fern who died in 1924 at the age of 11 months. The farm near Charlotte, IA, was originally owned by his grandparents, Fred and Catherine Schrader. After graduating from Charlotte High School in 1939 he attended Drake University and graduated in January 1943 with a B.A. in Business and Accounting.

During World War II he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was accepted into the Navy Flight Training Program in 1942. He completed Officer Training and as an Ensign and spent eighteen months as a Supply Officer in the South Pacific and was stationed at Guadalcanal and the Philippines. After the War he remained on active duty in Florida until 1946. In 1945, Don married Teresa Lanaghan of Charlotte, IA and they had seven children. Don enrolled in Drake University Law School in 1946 and graduated second in his class in 1949. In 1950, during the Korean Conflict, Don was called back into active duty in the Navy and was stationed in Washington D.C. for two years. He continued in the Navy Reserves until 1961, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

In 1952, he was recruited to lead the office of Preferred Risk Mutual Insurance Company (now Guideone) in Colorado Springs, CO. Don was one of the pioneers in this fledgling company, initially targeting their marketing to non-drinkers. In 1961, he moved with the Company to Des Moines and devoted his career to developing the Mutual Company, Preferred Risk Life and Midwest Mutual. He was instrumental in the design and construction of the home office building at 1111 Ashworth Road in 1969 and the extensive addition in 1981. After 32 years, Don retired as President of the Company in 1985, but continued to serve for many years on the Board of Directors of Preferred Risk.

In 1973, he married Nadine Tuttle McNamara of Des Moines, IA. After his retirement they divided their time between Arizona and Des Moines. He remained active as a District Director and President of Leisure World in Arizona. Don was an exceptional duplicate bridge player, becoming a Life Master in 1972. He was an avid reader, a western music fan, and loved to play tennis. Don was a member of Holy Cross Catholic Church in Mesa, AZ.

Don is survived by his beloved wife of 41 years, Nadine; brother, Russell (Betty) Paulsen of Maquoketa, IA; seven children, Patricia (Peter) Dale, Donna Paulsen (Tom Press), Mary Lynn (John) Craig all of West Des Moines, IA, Steve Paulsen (Bev Law) of Corvallis, OR, Teresa (Tom) Darcy of Madison, WI, Joe (Lynette) Paulsen of Lake Forest, IL, Susan (Steve) Eikos of Lenexa, KS; four step-children, Micah McNamara of Chicago, IL, Patrick McNamara of St. Paul, MN, Nicholas McNamara (Kate Judge) of Madison, WI, and Shannon McNamara of St. Paul, MN; 22 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to Leisure World Library, 908 S. Power Rd., Mesa, AZ, 85206, the Des Moines Community Foundation, or Sacred Heart Catholic Church.


Funeral Home

McLarens Resthaven Chapel & Mortuary
801 19th Street West Des Moines, IA 50265
(515) 225-7225

Published in Des Moines Register from May 25 to May 27, 2014