John Paula, a longtime resident of the North Thompson valley, passed away peacefully in Kamloops, B.C. on March 29, 2010 after a lengthy struggle with Alzheimer’s Disease.
He is survived by his loving wife of 46 years, Patricia, of Barriere, British Columbia; daughter Cheryl (Natalie) Paula of Halifax, Nova Scotia; daughter Christie (Phil) Provenzano of Fukuoka, Japan; grandchildren Megan, Zoe, Kirsten, Nicholas, John and Kurtis of Halifax, Nova Scotia and grandchildren Sophia and Maya of Fukuoka, Japan; mother Barbara Peterson of Philo, California; sister Christie (Gary) Dutro of Red Bluff, California; brother Robert (Elizabeth) Paula of Philo, California; and a large extended family throughout California. John was predeceased by his father, William J. Paula of Philo, California and his youngest brother, James E. Paula of Petaluma, California.
Born on May 10, 1941, in Petaluma, California, John’s love of driving and mechanical things began before he could see over the steering wheels or reach the pedals of the tractors he drove on his family’s dairy farm. He graduated from Petaluma High School in 1960 and around the same time graduated from operating farm equipment to driving big trucks. After marrying in 1963, John and Pat moved their young family to Little Fort, BC in 1972, drawn by the opportunities and beauty of the area. They bought a ranch and raised beef cattle, hay and Percheron horses. A man of many talents, John established his home heating business during this time as he and Pat continued to run the ranch. Ever the multi-tasker, in his spare time he returned to trucking, eventually as an owner-operator, hauling cattle throughout Western Canada and the U.S. for many years. John hung up the keys to the big trucks to become a licensed gas fitter with an electrical endorsement in the early 90s. He retired from the John Paula Heating business in 2001.
Although his work kept him busy, John had close ties to his community throughout his life, ranging from agricultural youth groups like 4-H and Future Farmers of America to becoming president of the Petaluma Riding and Driving Club and vice president of the California State Riding and Driving Association in the late 60s. These ties to the riding and driving community led John, Pat and the girls on a grand family adventure across the United States in a covered wagon – the Bicentennial Wagon Train Pilgrimage to Pennsylvania in 1976. John brought his passion for horses to the North Thompson Valley, where as a Fall Fair Association member he was instrumental in bringing draft horse classes to the fair. He helped to found the B.C. Percheron Association and was a member B.C. Cattlemen’s association. John was a committed citizen of Little Fort as a charter member of the Mt. Olie Lions Club, as well as helping to build the new Little Fort Community Hall, and serving as a volunteer fire fighter and member of the Little Fort Recreation Society.
John had a wealth of knowledge – about animals, trucks, machines, welding, construction – and was ready to share it with anybody who was willing to learn or who simply needed help. He relished all manner of new experiences and challenges, from breaking horses to building houses, inventing tools and learning to sail. John’s memory of his family and friends faded many years ago, but we remember him – a dedicated family man, a good neighbor, a trusted friend, a kind heart and an adventurous spirit who shared life and laughter with us all.
The family wishes to extend their profound gratitude to the doctors and staff at Overlander Hospital in Kamloops who not only cared for John through the course of his illness, but who cared about him as a person. Their compassionate care over these many years is deeply appreciated.
A celebration of John Paula’s life will be held at 12:00 on April 7, 2010, at the Little Fort Community Hall, Little Fort, B.C. Arrangements entrusted to North Thompson Funeral Services, Box 859, Barriere, BC, V0E 1E0, 250-672-1999. In lieu of flowers donations may be made in memory of John to the Alzheimer Society of British Columbia at #300-828 West 8th Ave, Vancouver, B.C., V5Z 1E2. (http://www.alzheimerbc.org/Get-Involved/Donate.aspx )