John Leo Paull, age 84, passed away Jan. 18, 2018, with his wife Darlene, son Randy and daughter Sally by his side. He had been battling complications from pneumonia and sepsis.
John was born Aug. 6, 1933, to Thomas G. and Genevieve Casey Paull in Helena, Montana.
Growing up in Montana, Oregon and California, John’s core values of family, work, friends and nature began.
He was an early entrepreneur as a youth and eagerly looked for ways to earn money and gain knowledge. John always had a paper route and was so well liked and trusted by his Helena customers that he delivered newspapers right to their dining room and kitchen tables. Summer months found him hitchhiking to work at various Montana ranches and farms.
One of his early entrepreneur enterprises he talked about was selling squab and frog legs to the Helena hotel and restaurants. John’s brother, Keith, would hang him over building rooftops by his ankles while he captured the squab.
John’s love of the outdoors grew by learning how to fly, fish, hunt and pan for gold from his father and uncles. John knew all the rivers and highways between Montana, Oregon and California from his time growing up and hitchhiking.
As a staff sergeant in the Korean War, John spent 3½ years in the Far East. His desire to learn while in Japan lead him to numerous trips while on leave. He captured his trips and duty assignments during this time with numerous journals and photos that he shared with family and friends.
After being discharged in 1952, John came to Casper, Wyoming, where he met the love of his life, Darlene Leslie, on New Year’s Eve. They married August 22, 1953, and he shared 64 years with “My Love” as he called Darlene.
Early in their marriage, John often worked two to three jobs at a time. When he finished his mail route at the Casper Post Office, he was off to his other jobs.
John began his 32 years in various aspects of the oil industry with Seismic Engineering, Mobil Oil and Conoco-Continental Pipeline. John worked as a pipefitter at the Socony Mobil refinery until its shutdown in 1968. He then went to work at the Casper Continental Pipeline Terminal and was soon promoted and transferred to the North Salt Lake District Terminal where he worked until 1973 prior to a promotion to Boise Products Terminal manager in Idaho. In 1979, John returned to Casper to become general manager of Conoco-Continental Semino Pipeline that included product terminals and pipelines in Montana, Wyoming, Arizona and New Mexico until his retirement in 1987.
On July 23, 1985, John survived a pipeline explosion south of Kaycee, Wyoming. With second- and third-degree burns over 85 percent of his body, John directed the shutdown of the pipeline, preventing additional loss of life. Given a 2 percent survival rate, John spent almost 1½ years at the University of Utah Burn Center recovering. John’s perseverance and positive attitude during his recovery was an inspiration and he was asked by the university and the Michael Jackson Burn Centers to share his recovery journey with other burn victims and their families. He often joked that his youthful appearance was due to his “million dollar facelift.”
John loved his family and friends and enjoyed spending time with them while he lived in Jackson, Wyoming, and St. George, Utah, after retirement. His down-to-earth, positive attitude and kindness naturally drew people to him. Neighbors would often stop and visit with him while he took care of his own yard in Jackson and walking his dogs Smokey and Kash.
During John’s last hospitalization, his doctor at rounds would have John recount his pipeline explosion story and recovery to other medical staff.
John’s love of hunting transitioned to watching and taking photos of the wildlife that wandered through his Jackson and St. George yards. John enjoyed his gardening, rock-hunting, traveling, going to NASCAR races and watching his favorite football teams, the Denver Broncos and Boise State Broncos. He loved his dogs, hummingbirds and the feral cats he looked after, which included giving each a name.
Memories of John will be cherished by his family, wife Darlene Leslie, St. George, Utah; daughter Sally Reidhaar (Steve), Boise, Idaho; son Thomas “Randy” Paull, St. George, Utah; brother Michael Paull (Jeri), Amity, Oregon; sister Patricia Lovelace (Jack), McMinnville, Oregon; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
John was preceded in death by his father Thomas; mother Genevieve; brothers Roger and Keith; father-in law Charles Leslie; mother-in law Ella; and brother-in-law William “Bill” Leslie.
- A private family and friends farewell was held in St. George, Utah.
- A celebration of life will take place in early summer in Casper, Wyoming, where memories of John’s life, of being a wonderful husband, father, family member and friend will be shared and celebrated.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Metcalf Mortuary, 435-673-4221.
For condolences, full obituary and funeral listings please visit Metcalf Mortuary online.