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Pinedale Online > News > June 2018 > Obituary - Paul Carl Hagenstein, Jr.

Paul Hagenstein. Photo by .
Paul Hagenstein
Paul and grandson Sam
Obituary - Paul Carl Hagenstein, Jr.
June 22, 2018

Born August 3rd 1927 (Paul Clayton Carnahan)
Died May 26th 2018

Once upon a time in an era long ago, a sweet blue-eyed child was born in the Salvation Army Hospital in Denver, Colorado and his mother finding circumstances less than ideal, made the difficult decision to relinquish him for adoption. Paul Clayton Carnahan was most fortunate because within 6 weeks of his birth he was renamed Paul Carl Hagenstein, Jr. living in his forever home in Pinedale, Wyoming. His parents, Paul Carl Hagenstein, Sr. and Marjorie Eastwood Hagenstein would adopt three more siblings who would join him: Emma Lee, Fred and Marjorie Ann.

Paul thrived with the attentions of his adoptive parents and in due time he was winning spelling bees throughout the county. He was an inquisitive child and who, what, where, when and how never seemed enough. He learned to ski, play clarinet and was always humming a tune. He wrangled horses for Charlie Bayer during the summers and instead of summer wages, Charlie gave Paul his first horse; he named her Flicka and she graced his life for 37 years.

Paulís parents purchased the C.O. Geller place 3 miles south of Pinedale in 1943. They worked the land, expanded the hayfields and by 1945 they had developed Mt. Airy Dairy into a dedicated business delivering pasteurized milk to businesses and individuals throughout Pinedale. Paul graduated from high school at the end of his junior year (1944) securing the Valedictorian spot and an academic scholarship to the University of Wyoming. He was ecstatic to feed that inquiring mind with dreams of an engineering degree with a minor in agriculture.

In the spring of 1945 while finishing his first year of college, Paul felt the responsibilities of a country at war and he tried to join the Navy however discovered that he was color blind. His dreams of being a Navy pilot and even his college education were quickly dashed when his youngest sister died in May followed by his fatherís sudden death in August. Within months, he obtained an emergency teaching certificate and found himself teaching chemistry and geometry in the Pinedale High School ~ the fall he should have returned to college. His life was busy that winter as an 18 year old teaching school, running the dairy, milking cows, loading the bottled milk onto the sled and with a team of horses getting the milk to town for distribution.

On a summer evening in 1946, he slipped into town where he accidently turned too quickly around a post bearing sharp barbed wire, ripping the bottom of the coat of a young woman who was standing on the running board of his truck. He was smitten with this young black-haired Irish beauty from California but a war continued elsewhere and by fall he was off to serve his time with the United States Army. From Fort Douglas in Salt Lake to Fort Bragg in North Carolina, his final destination was Bepuu, Japan where he supervised the distribution of supplies coming into Japan (1947Ė1948).

When his tour of duty was over in the spring of 1948, he returned home to find his sweetheart working for the Parishes at the telephone company with everyone calling her "Mert" when she answered their calls on the telephone exchange. He would ride Flicka to town to court her and during the High School Prom which was always a community event, he asked Bette Ann Power to marry him. In celebration, he bought a 5# box of chocolates to announce their engagement and to share the news with their friends. They were married on August 28th in 1948, a commitment that last over 67 years.

Paul and Bette thrived as a new family, working the ranch and finally moved into their new home on the New Fork River in December 1957. They were blessed with three children, two daughters and a son who died prematurely. Valerie would grace the world with music, from musical theatre to opera, a hospice choir to the children in her Waldorf music classes. Leslie would be the nurse, the doctor, the ranch manager and his right hand man.

Paul would mentor many young men who worked the dairy and ranch. He purchased adjacent lands, leveled the fields and installed border irrigation systems that would spark his passion for the power and value of water. He was one of the first agriculturists to grow two cuttings of alfalfa in this harsh climate. Paulís nephew, Gary Hecox, would earn the respect of geologists world-wide for his passion of underground aquafers. Mike Norby, Mathew McDaniel, David Smith, Tom Johnston, Bruce Dougan, Tadd Essington, John Overgaag, Rod Rozier, Dave Racich, Kenneth Becker and many more young men would all learn an appreciation for hard work, perseverance, and appreciate what made Paul tick.

From his first job picking beans in Iowa for 5 cents a pound, to generating a dairy business with his mother, Paul expanded the ranch and eventually developed a high altitude purebred and commercial Red Angus operation ~ Hagieís Haven Red Angus. Paul was never idle. He was president and lifetime member of the Green River Cattlemanís Association with a passion for their Catch-a-Calf program, was on the Animal Health Committee for the Wyoming Stock Growers Association and an active member of the National Beef Cattlemanís Association. He was a Sublette County Commissioner for eight years and served on various committees while being the Director of the Wyoming County Commissioners Association. During his tenure as commissioner, he was vested in developing a Planning and Zoning committee to address the observed randomness of growth in the County. He served Sublette County on the Fair Board, the Historical Society for 35 years with 6 years as the President and the Museum of the Mountain Man Board as well as being a founding board member on the Sublette Center Board of Directors where he served for almost two decades.

He was a member of Franklin Lodge #31, both a York Rite and Scottish Rite Mason, and a Shriner with the Korein Temple. He was active in the Order of the Eastern Star and an Associate Guardian for the Jobís Daughters. He was an avid supporter of the Yellowstone Boys & Girlís Ranch in Billings, Montana and donated livestock to fund their mission for over 30 years. He was a member of the Community Congregational Church, a member of the Lionís Club and touched many lives during his tenure as a contributing community member in this beautiful landscape.

As one of his fellow board members stated, "Paul could push his point and at the same time disarm you with that smile and chuckle. He was a man of his word and you knew what he said was sincere. This was Paulís community. He tirelessly attended every meeting no matter the subject and was always a moderating voice willing to step up when something needed to be said. He left his mark and Pinedale has lost a treasure."

Paul lost his sweet Bette Ann on St Patrickís Day in 2016 and is survived by his daughters Valerie Lee (Ed Vodak) and Leslie Hagenstein, grandson Samuel Drueding, half-sister Susan Cantey, nephew Gary Hecox (Gail), nieces Janet Woods (Carlton), Debra Hecox, Shelly Power, Lori Power and brother-in-law Don Power (Roscoe James).

As Paul reflected Ö "If you wait until the end of your life to look at what you did Ö it is too late. Work hard. Listen ~ take the time to hear the stories. Laugh. Sing. Be part of the change you want to see. And remember, there is always room for ice cream!"

In honor of Paulís request for a celebration in lieu of a funeral, please join his family for an ice cream social to be held at Rendezvous Pointe in Pinedale, Wyoming on the afternoon of August 3rd 2018 for what would have been his 91st birthday. Please bring your Paul stories to share with others.

Donations in Paulís honor may be sent to: 1) Shrinerís Hospital for Children, Development Office, 1275 East Fairfax Road, Salt Lake City, UT 84103 [] or 2) The Museum of the Mountain Man, PO Box 909, Pinedale, WY 82941-0909.

Pinedale Online > News > June 2018 > Obituary - Paul Carl Hagenstein, Jr.

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