Pete was born in Valparaiso, Indiana on September 16, 1936 to Lester Hibbard Paul and Marjorie Elizabeth (Totten) Paul. He attended Valparaiso High School and worked various part time jobs that included working in his father’s music store after school before heading off to Indiana University to pursue a degree in Music Education.
After moving to Texas in 1957, Pete attended Lamar University where he met his future wife Betty Warner. They were married January 31, 1959 in Orange, Texas after both completing their degrees in Education. Pete’s first teaching position was in Texas City ISD where their daughter Ruth Ann was born.
Pete and Betty’s first home together was destroyed in Hurricane Carla in 1961. They then moved to Baytown, Texas where Pete entered into a partnership with Chet’s Music Shop to repair musical instruments and to sell pianos. In his time away from the music store, Pete directed the St. Joseph’s Catholic School Band, served as choir director at Trinity Episcopal Church and earned his Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Houston.
It was also during this time that Pete and Betty welcomed their son James Lester to the family. After several successful years in business, he returned to his love of teaching in Deer Park ISD. He then moved to Cy-Fair High School as band director and later became Supervisor of Music for Cypress Fairbanks ISD.
At the conclusion of 20 successful years as a band director, Pete transitioned into a school administration role as Director of Purchasing in Cy-Fair ISD. The school district was expanding rapidly and built many schools and facilities needing outfitting and furnishing. Pete developed systems of standardized purchasing practices to facilitate efficient acquisitions and to accommodate the rapid growth at Cy-Fair ISD. Early in his purchasing career, Pete earned the designation of Certified Purchasing Manager (CPM) and was acknowledged for completing the four required exams in a record months’ time. He was also known for his proficient knowledge of the school business, always glad to mentor aspiring school business professionals and to prepare candidates for their CPM designation exams by teaching at the LBJ School of Communications. He retired from his public-school career at Spring Branch ISD in Houston as Executive Director of Purchasing.
Upon retirement, Pete contributed in founding the Cooperative Purchasing Network of Texas, enabling school districts to take advantage of governmental contracting that resulted in considerable savings of funding for public schools. During the time spent in the purchasing arena, Pete held membership in the Texas Association of School Business Officials TASBO and served as a Director for many years. Also during retirement, Pete established Cypress Creek Consulting Services to assist public school districts with best practices for school business management, especially in the area of purchasing and procurement.
During the years in Cypress and in Houston, Pete continued to serve as choir director at St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in Houston and at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Cypress. He served as Senior Warden at St. Mary’s and was instrumental in the procurement of and the refurbishing of a historic tracker pipe organ originally from a church in Wales for St. Mary’s Church. Pete also served as Scout Master for Troop 626 and as Fire Commissioner for the Cypress Volunteer Fire Department.
As a professional musician, Pete was a member of his local musicians’ organizations since age 16 and was hired for a variety of performance opportunities with symphony organizations and touring performance groups throughout his life. His primary instrument was clarinet, but he also played tenor and alto saxophone for big band groups in many prominent Houston and surrounding city locations including Houston’s Miller Park 4th of July celebrations and the Pleasure Pier in Galveston. Although trained as a classical musician, Pete loved and had a special talent for performing Big Band music and Dixieland Jazz.
After both Pete and Betty retired from public education, they joined the Houston Choral Society as a “togetherness” retirement endeavor which led to many years of enjoyment in performing and traveling with choral groups. They participated in several International Berkshire Choral Festivals and performed in many of Europe’s most beautiful and historic cathedrals including the Vatican in Rome. Pete spent his 70th and his 75th birthdays performing in Mozart’s childhood church in Austria.
After moving to Austin in 2001 to be closer to family, Pete and Betty joined two local Austin choral groups in addition to the St. Luke’s Church choir where they sang for over 20 years. During his time at St. Luke’s, Pete served as a member of the Vestry, as Senior Warden, was instrumental in the acquisition of a new organ for the church and development of the St Luke’s Church Columbarium.
Pete very rarely sat idle. If he wasn’t on his computer working with his investments, the family’s ancestry records or researching the latest technology to enhance their living environment, he was in the garage repairing or building something. From constructing a home with his father as a teenager to restoring family keepsake pieces-building a barrister bookshelf and desk to match cherrywood furniture inherited from relatives. He was meticulous about the yard and enjoyed working with inherited rose bushes from Betty’s parents. Pete especially enjoyed family gatherings, travel and singing with Betty, their seasons attending the Austin Symphony’s Arbor Series and concerts, regular dinners with friends on Fridays and Tuesday afternoon outings with a buddy to share a cold beer. He lived life to the fullest and he left it peacefully. He will be greatly missed but the special memories he gave us will live on.
Pete is survived by his wife of 64 years, Elizabeth Ann (Betty) Paul, children Ruth Ann Paul Dickensheets (Kenneth R.) and James Lester Paul (Barbara) and grandchildren Paul Linford Dickensheets (fiancé Kelsey M. Shoepe) and Catherine Elizabeth (Caydee) Dickensheets, all residents of Austin TX. Sister-in-law, Judith Ann Warner Robertson of London Ontario, Brother-in-law William (Bill) Ramp of Katy TX, Niece Carrie Ramp Stuk of Danville, CA and Niece Tammy Ramp (Rique) Gresham, Katy TX.
Pete is predeceased by his grandson Richard Lee Paul, his father Lester Hibbard Paul and wife Elizabeth (Betty) Randle Paul, Mother Marjorie Totten Paul, Sister Linda Sue Paul Ramp, Step-sister Marilyn Randle Davis and Half-sister Debbie Smith (Eric) Hagen.
A Celebration of Life service will be held on Saturday, March 18th at 2:00pm. St Luke’s on the Lake Episcopal Church, 5600 RR 620 N, Austin TX. Reception to follow at the church. For those unable to attend, the service will be live streamed at www.stlukesonthelake.org.
In lieu of floral tributes, please consider making a donation to St Luke’s Episcopal Church at https://www.stlukesonthelake.org/ or to the Round Rock ISD Partners in Education Foundation’s “Excellence in Education Grants” at https://www.rrisdeducationfoundation.org/ to support Teacher Grants or to the organization of your choice.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.cookwaldenchapelofthehills.com for the Paul family.