Donald Wesley Paul left this world early Sunday morning on May 14, 2023, of pneumonia. He was recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.
He was born on February 12, 1934.
He was five minutes older than his twin, Ronald Carlton Paul. His twin passed away after their 65th birthday. Donald’s parents were the late Author L. and Vera Smith Paul.
He lived in Columbia all of his life. He attended Andrews School and was a part of their ball team. They played other local schools. He attended Whitthorne and was able to complete his education while serving in the Army. His military service was from September 1956 to September 1958.
Donald started working early on as popcorn popper at the Lyric and the Princess Movie Theater. He also worked for Jersey Pride Creamery for several years. He then co-owned the Furniture Mart with Cromer Jackson.
On December 24, 1954, he married his one and only love, Carolyn Davis. They had 68 years together, a full life of sharing their love and talent with family to sing gospel music. Through the years, they were known as “The Paul Quartet” with his cousin, Douglas and brothers, Ronald and Marion. Later, they sang as the Paul Trio then the Paul Family. Donald, Carolyn, their son Tim, Tim’s wife Diane who played the piano, daughter Penny, her husband Rick Waters who played the drums. At other times, family musicians would join in. Early on they were blessed with the talented pianist, Debbie Shelton Collins.
Over the years, the groups had radio programs. Donald and Ronald Paul Show was a Sunday morning program on WKRM. Donald did other shows on WMCP.
He loved gospel music all of his life. He was the bass singer for the group. He was also a promoter. He booked many groups through the years. He was thrilled when he was able to purchase WXRQ in Mt. Pleasant. In September of 1988, he signed on as a full-time gospel station. The purpose was so Maury County and surrounding counties had access to the gospel in word and song.
It was community-oriented information as the local sports at Mt. Pleasant High School were aired. “That’s What’s Happening” in Mt. Pleasant was a community forum for our city. His prayer was to continue playing gospel music and pray that God would bless Mt. Pleasant.
Throughout the years, Donald served as President of the PTA at Highland Park School, a member of Columbia’s Exchange Club and sponsored a ladies softball team. He served as deacon, choir member and teacher at Whatley Street First Freewill Baptist Church.
Each New Year, he was in charge of the singing as they sang the old year out and the new year in. Special groups and locals made up large crowds each year. At a short break, everyone enjoyed good food and fellowship. The food was furnished by the church ladies. At 12:00 midnight, the congregation sang “Amazing Grace” followed by prayer for the new year. Many times, the singing went on a while longer as the singing and spirit blessed the people. As a family group, many Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons were filled with singing in different churches over the surrounding area.
Donald is survived by wife, Carolyn, son, Tim (Diane, who is deceased), Penny (Rick) Waters, grandsons, Landon (Ashley Johnson) Paul, Keaton (Destiny) Paul, and Houston (Hannah Bryant) Paul. And an angel grandson, Timothy Weston Paul; great-grandchildren: Weston, Keller, Keasling Paul, Adalyn Paul, Braelynn Paul, and Baby Boy Paul (due in July). Donald is survived by his younger brother, Gerald Paul of Mt. Pleasant. He was blessed with a large family. His siblings that are deceased: sisters- Ethel Chumley, Irene Fogg Lovell, Connie Messick and Marjorie McVicker; brother- Marion H. Paul and Ronald C. Paul. He has many wonderful nieces and nephews from the Paul family and the Davis family. Also surviving in-laws are: Cleon (Bobby) Clayton of Florida, Sheila (Donald) Ledford, Debby (Dennis who is deceased) Fitzgerald, Janet (Stanley who is deceased) Norman, Rick Davis (deceased) and Jane Fetherling (deceased). Special loved ones: Debbie Collins, Beth Clay, Wanda Pope, Mary (Sarge) Jones.
A funeral service will be held on Friday, May 19, 2023, at 2:00 PM at Heritage Funeral Home. Entombment will follow in Maury Memorial Gardens Mausoleum with military honors provided by the Herbert Griffin American Legion Post 19. A visitation will be held on Thursday, May 18, 2023, from 4:00 – 7:00 PM at the funeral home. Heritage Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. https://www.tnfunerals.com
Pastor Tim Paul and Tim’s sons Landon, Keaton, and Houston Paul will be in charge of the service. Family will serve as pallbearers and members of The Church at the Mount will serve as honorary pallbearers.
A special thank you to the first-floor nurses at Maury Regional Medical Center and to the ladies at Hospice Compassus for all the kindness shown to Donald. We also thank Dr. Joe Fite for his special care.
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