Carl Paulson, RIP

posted by Mike on July 2nd, 2012

Carl Paulson, legendary stained glass artist and Catholic Worker, has died.

Carl Paulson
Carl Paulson and Worcester Bishop Robert J. McManus at the 2008 Catholic Worker National Gathering in Worcester. Carl was recognized at the event as “the oldest Catholic Worker.”

The obituary below was sent in by Ken Paulson.

Upton- Carl Edmund Paulson, 98, of Ridge Rd., died peacefully on Sunday Morning, July 1, 2012, at home surrounded by his family. He was predeceased by his wife of 60 years Mary (Krenzer) Paulson in 2002, his daughter Elin Paulson in 2006 and a grandson Dennis. He leaves two daughters, Rose McCoy & husband Dan of Webster Grove, MO and Honduras, and Helena Joyner & husband Steve of Pensacola, FL. He leaves seven sons, Dennis Paulson and wife Pat of Santa Rosa, CA., Daniel Paulson and wife Homi of Athens, LA., Ken Paulson & wife Kristin, and Stephen Paulson, both of Upton, MA., Carl Paulson and wife Dana of Hampden, MA., David Paulson and wife Leslie Whitcomb of West Burk, VT., and Ray Paulson and wife Meredith Goodhue of Lowell, MA. Besides his ten children, Carl had 26 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren, three great-great-grandchildren, and many Foster children. Carl’s Dad and Mom, Gerda B. (Petersson) & Carl Julius Paulson were born in Sweden. Carl was born in Providence, RI on Oct 6, 1913 and only spoke Swedish when he entered school. After graduating from Providence Technical High School in 1931, he decided he wanted to become an Artist. He entered a competition at Boston’s Vesper George School of Art with a pen & ink design, a poster, and a still life painting. Carl won second Place and a four year scholarship. He often visited the nearby Charles Connick Stained Glass Art Studio where he befriended Stephen Bridges, a Glass medallion apprentice. When Bridges entered the Benedictine Monastery, Paulson was offered the apprentice position. Connick, author of “Adventures in Light & Color Stained Glass Craft”, was a perfectionist. Connick taught Carl how to become an expert Stained Glass Artisan. The Connick Foundation called Carl a “Master Medallion Maker” in their Fall ’11 Newsletter (www.cjconnick.org) He also started to do small stained glass projects on his own. In 1939 he created Religious Glass Medallions for Pius Co-op Bookstore in Boston. The magazine “Yankee Magazine”, called Carl Paulson “the Best Stained Glass Medallion Maker in New England”. In 1940, he designed and created his first Stained Glass Windows for Elmwood Christian Church in Providence, R.I. (where he also taught Sunday School).

In 1941, having converted to Catholicism, he moved to Upton to help John Magee and Bill Roche with the St. Benedict Catholic Worker Farm. Through Ade Bethune and Dorothy Day, he met and married Mary Krenzer in 1942. He bought his Ridge Rd. Cabin from Catholic Workers for $150. to set up his home & Stained Glass “Raven Shop”. Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Workers, was proposed for sainthood by the Claretian Missionaries in 1983. Pope John Paul II granted the Archdiocese of New York permission to open Day’s “cause” for sainthood in March 2000, thereby officially making her a “Servant of God” in the Catholic Church. Dorothy Day said of Carl, “Carl Paulson, the stained glass window maker of St. Benedict’s farm, Upton Massachusetts, because he is the servant of all, knows how to live in poverty and hard work, and yet whose life, with beautiful wife and children, is one of beauty and richness and order.” Co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, Peter Maurin, stated, “Carl Paulson’s work as a stained glass artist appealed to the many Workers who wished to restore the craft ethos of the Middle Ages, as well as providing his family with a somewhat more secure economic basis than farming alone.” from: www.catholicworker.org

During World War II, Carl refused to be drafted into the Army, saying: “I believe that God dwells in each of us and that we should love everyone”. When the authorities realized his strong Faith prevented him from killing people, they released him from Federal Prison into Alternative Service as a Medic at the Augusta, Maine State Hospital until May 1946. They did give Carl weekend visits, so he could be with his Family to work on his Upton Farm. In 1947, his friend Robert Amendola (Sculptor of “Young George Washington Carver” at the Carver Monument), introduced Carl to the Architect, Alfred Reinhardt, who was in charge of building the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas at the University of Connecticut. Carl submitted colored drawings of design ideas & won his first large Commission. (See Windows at: www.PaulsonsGlass.com). This helped to propel his amazing career of Sixty years, creating over one thousand Stained Glass Windows, mostly in New England. Carl taught all of his children how to make Stained Glass. One of their largest windows (40 ft. by 40 ft). is at the Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Worcester, entitled “God is with us”. His son Ken and his Grandson Lars Paulson continue to run the Glass Studio.

Carl & his wife were devout Catholics and raised their 10 children (2 who were adopted) and their numerous Foster children to love God, work hard, get a good education, and help others. Carl loved everyone, especially children, so he joined Upton Grange in 1947 and was the leader of the Junior Grange. He taught C.C.D. at Holy Angels (St. Gabriel) for 60 years, from 1953 until 2007. As a member of Worcester Organic Gardening Club, he taught all he knew how to Garden. He assisted Abbie Hoffman with the “Worcester Interracial Social Project” by helping inner city kids plant & tend “W.I.S.P. Gardens” on vacant City lots. In his spare time, he had a Ministry to visit & write to Prisoners.

Relatives & friends are invited to attend his Mass of Christian Burial on Wednesday (July 4th) at 10AM in St. Garbriel the Archangel Church, 151 Mendon Street, Upton MA. Burial will take place in Lakeview Cemetery in Upton MA. Visiting hours will be held Tuesday (July 3rd) from 5PM to 8PM at St. Gabriel the Archangel Church in Upton MA.

The family requests that flowers be omitted and donations in Mr. Paulson’s memory may be made to the charity of one’s choice.

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