David W. Paul

June 30, 1944May 2, 2013
Play Tribute Movie

David was born June 30, 1944 in Cherokee, Iowa, grew up in Hankinson, North Dakota, lived in Northfield, Minnesota (Carleton College, B.A., 1966, History), Washington, D.C. (Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, M.A., 1968, International Studies), Princeton, New Jersey (Princeton University, Ph.D, 1973, Politics.), Seattle, Washington (Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Washington), Budapest and Vienna during a year as a Fulbright fellow. He traveled throughout many countries in Europe, North Africa, and Brazil and was conversant in German, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, French, Spanish, Italian, Serbo-Croatian, and Polish.

David was a writer, critic and editorial consultant; a technical writer and editor. His novel, FANTASY on the Theme B-A-C-H, is forthcoming in January, 2014.

He enjoyed the community of All Pilgrims Christian Church, interfaith activities, family, friends, neighbors, all who he came into contact with. He was a lover of classical music, an accomplished pianist and organist. He enjoyed sports, lettering in football, basketball, baseball, and track in high school. He had a special interest in literature, poetry, theater, and film. In his professional and academic work he developed a worldwide circle of colleagues who shared a common interest in the intersection of the arts, culture and political life.

David passed away peacefully at home on May 2, 2013 after a diagnosis of late stage pancreatic cancer.

David is survived by his brothers Harold J. Paul (Marilyn) and Justus Paul (Lynn). Nieces Rebecca, Ellen (Laura), LeAnn, and Susan (Grady). Nephews Jay, Tim (Jan), Steve (Sarah), and James (Sherri); with eleven great nieces and nephews. And, partner, Nancy.

As one friend said, David represented the epitome of the ‘Old School of Gentlemen’: his manner, his great intelligence, and still greater wisdom, his warmth, caring and commitment to those who have been blessed to share his mind and heart. It is these rare traits, and much more, which will be truly missed.

And, that ironic East European sense of life. His excitement and commitment to embrace so many cultures and religions of this world. His commitment in working for peace and understanding. David enjoyed sharing with family and friends till his last day in this place.

A Memorial Service will take place on Saturday, June 8th, 2pm at All Pilgrims Christian Church, 500 Broadway East, Seattle. Reception to follow.

Remembrances may be made to The Mental Health Chaplaincy, All Pilgrims Christian Church, or to a charity of your choice. _______________________

The following words are ones which David shared on his website...

My friends know me as a diehard urbanite, but I was born in rural Iowa and grew up in a small North Dakota farming town. My father was a minister, and my mother dreamed that I would become either a doctor (to take care of her in her old age) or a pianist (like Liberace, only she had no idea he was gay). It took me ten years to appreciate the piano lessons that were forced on me, and not long after that it became clear I’d never make it on the concert stage. In high school, I lettered in baseball, football, basketball, and track. I was active in politics through college, but in graduate school I decided I’d rather study political behavior than practice it. My career as a political scientist peaked with the critical acclaim of my first book, The Cultural Limits of Revolutionary Politics, but I returned home from a world conference in Germany to find myself denied tenure. (Publish and perish.) Disillusioned, I left academia and discovered a wealth of new opportunities that were far more interesting.

Seattle has been home since 1973, minus several short-term residencies elsewhere. Other places where I’ve lived are Northfield, Minnesota, during my college years; Washington, D.C., and Princeton, New Jersey, for graduate school; Budapest and Vienna during a year as a Fulbright fellow; and five miles outside the city limits of Everett, Washington, for a seven-month respite between careers.

I spent the first 20 years of my adult life becoming a specialist, but since then I’ve been eagerly “despecializing.” It started with political science and political risk analysis. Then, after two books and about three dozen articles, I followed my heart to film criticism, fiction, screenplays, and a handful of poetry translations. My head then led me to computer documentation, various types of business and technical writing, a co-authored book about the World Wide Web, and a series of essays, again co-authored, about communication skills in the era of globalization.

I’m particularly proud to see my name on the cover alongside that of Craig Rennebohm, a longtime friend who has dedicated his life to helping the most marginal members of our community. Our first book, Souls in the Hands of a Tender God: Stories of the Search for Home and Healing on the Streets (Beacon Press, 2008), is available in hardback and will be out in a paperback version in May 2009. We have outlined our second book and are trying to create the time to write it. I have ghostwritten, book-doctored, or edited several other books (and several dozen articles) that do not bear my name, and I’m also proud of them.

I love helping others find their voice and get their best writing on paper or online. In all projects, my objectives are to achieve clarity and express the message, theme, or story in the truest and most appropriate voice.


  • Memorial Service Saturday, June 8, 2013

David W. Paul

have a memory or condolence to add?


receive updates when new memories are posted

Mariam Ispahani

June 9, 2013

You are already being missed big time David. May you be at peace wherever you are. Got your recent email and replied, but now you are no longer here. I am so very sad, but honored to have been your friend. Bless your wonderful soul!!! Sending a big warm hug to Nancy.

Kathleen Alcala

June 7, 2013

David was part of the Touchtone Writers group, and part of a group dynamic that continues to reverberate today. We will miss his dry wit and gentle presence.

June 5, 2013

For me David W. Paul has been such a tower of strength at All Pilgrims Christian Church since I moved into the Seattle area late June 2008. I remember primarily viewing him from the perspective of the choir. He had his usual seat near the front and calmly sat there in a very gracious manner. His eyes would twinkle as he carefully listened to and encouraged whoever was speaking, preaching, singing, or playing instruments.
As I got to know more about David, I was all the more amazed. He was the collaborative writer for Craig Rennebohm's Souls in the Hands of a Tender God. What a very special gift that was for the rest of us. Then, when David started the partnership between the Imam Center in Kirkland and All Pilgrims in Seattle, I began to see in him, a person with whom I could share my journey into interfaith dialog. As I would see interfaith articles in airline magazines and in the Seattle Times or when I would hear something on the radio dealing with interfaith, I would forward the information to David. He would kindly send the information out to the All Pilgrims CC Interfaith Group. What a wonderful person to encounter during my journey to become ordained. He truly was walking in solidarity with me.

My heart hurts for his family and many, many friends at the loss of such a beautiful spirit. And yet I look forward to being with him again one day.

Sharon Nichols

Barbara C

May 30, 2013

What is truly shocking is that this was so unexpected, since David always said that the men in his family live to a ripe old age. Thinking of David reminds me of this saying: "When I was young, I admired intelligence; when I became older, I valued kindness the most." David was both intelligent and kind. And I send a major tribute to Nancy, who stood by her man so lovingly.

Ernest Williams

May 28, 2013

David was a long-time dear friend. We began graduate school together in the fall of 1968 and exchanged notes and Christmas cards regularly over the years. David was smart, talented, and perceptive. Like the rest of you, I miss him.

Susan Weber-Haukness

May 26, 2013

I was deeply saddened to hear of David's death. I was a friend of David's in Hankinson, North Dakota, and have fond memories of our times together. We lost touch for a while, but I'm happy to say that we re-connected a few years ago. Even though we never did get together like we had planned, we did keep in touch through Christmas cards and the occasional note. It was a privilege to see a glimpse now and then of his brilliant mind and wonderful sense of humor. My sincere sympathies to Nancy as well as his friends and family.

Gary Kirkeby

May 25, 2013

How strange, I was clearing out some letters today and I found one from David written a few years ago and containing some pictures he had taken when my wife and I were last in Seattle. Then, in the mail today a hand written note from Nancy telling us of David's death. It's going to take a long time to fully comprehend this.

I was in grammar and high school with David in Hankinson, North Dakota. We spent hours together playing and discussing organ music. I didn't have a lot of friends that shared that passion.

Even though we went our separate ways after high school, we did stay in touch and would see each other from time to time. I guess a friendship that has remained for over sixty years has some powerful roots.

I am going to miss David, miss his witty notes at Christmas time and his letters that would come out of the blue. Always a surprise.

The sincerest condolences are sent by Mary and me to dear Nancy, whose friendship we have enjoyed for many, many years.

Gary Kirkeby

Bob Eschenbach

May 18, 2013

David was a rock -- he gave his all to his endeavors and his friends. We only knew him 3 years --he was one of the first to welcome us to All Pilgrims. His steadfast orchestration of our sharing with the Imam Center is a lasting tribute. Working with Nancy at Community Supper reflected more admiration for them both. We are all wiser and better human beings for having know him.

Jerry Folland

May 13, 2013

I really lucked out to get David as my roommate in our first year at Princeton in 1968-9, and to be able to maintain our long friendship after we both moved to Seattle in 1973. We didn't see each other as often as we should have, but I valued the times we did, and I'm going to miss him.

Carole Glickfeld

May 13, 2013

As someone who got to know David from a writers' group, I feel very fortunate that part of our group got together and were able to see David before we received the devastating news. I am very glad that David knew his novel, Fantasy on the Theme B-A-C-H, was going to be published.