David  Paulek
David Ray Paulek died December 12, 2019, at his home outside of Keosauqua after living 2 1/2 years with brain cancer. He was 72.

Dave was raised on a 40 acre farm complete with fishing pond and vintage Massey Ferguson tractor outside of Springfield, IL, much like the one he was to build outside of Keosauqua. His dad, Albert, was a millwright for Pillsbury; his mother, a homemaker, who conducted interviews for her prospective collie buyers at the kitchen table. Dave's stories of trudging to the school bus through the snow with his tuba on his back had questionable influence on his own children, but the story was still repeated. He was "baby brother" to older sister, Jo, and older brother, Tony, and used that to his advantage as often as possible. His mother, Opal Paulek, was so disappointed that he had moved "out West" to Iowa and never gave up hope that he would move back home.

He received his BA & MA from Western Illinois University, married Kathleen in 1969, and moved to Keosauqua where they had 3 children, Mark, Adam & Megan, lots of dogs & cats, horses, and that 40 acre farm with fishing pond and vintage Massey.

Most of his life was spent as an educator. He taught English & Speech at Van Buren High School and IHCC for over 40 years. His literature and writing classes gave him lifetime friends in his countless students.

He tried politics for a few years, was one of very few Democrats elected County Supervisor in Van Buren County. Small towns offer many opportunities and Dave enjoyed those: Van Buren Conservation Board President, Van Buren Education Association President, Teacher of the Year, Van Buren Players President, Safe Schools Director, 3X VBHS Graduation Speaker, Rotary Paul Harris Fellow, Van Buren Retired Teachers President, Outstanding Citizen of the Year and Grand Marshall for the 2018 Scenic Drive Parade.

One of his passions was theatre. He and his wife, Kathleen, began directing plays and musicals for Van Buren Schools, Van Buren Players, and DownRiver Theatre, in the early 70's, over 200 productions ago. Dave enjoyed directing, acting and developing the Roberts Building into a theatre still used by the community today. Having one of the oldest community theaters in Iowa made him proud. He was so pleased to see former students carry it on and keep it alive today.

After retirement he had the opportunity to work with Leroy & Lavern Borntrager in their custom cabinetry business. There he was able to learn furniture making. Friends and family have many pieces in their homes from these years.

Dave was a writer, he recently wrote, "When I was young, I had most things figured out. I knew where I wanted to live (in the south pasture); married to Sharon (I didn't know any Sharons, but I liked the name); and how many kids we'd have: six. It's surprising how many things don't work out the way you had them planned, but at least I was thinking about the future. Lots of things changed, but some remained solid. We did end up on a farm, only it's in Iowa. Kathleen is a far better name than Sharon (apologies to the Sharons reading this). And three kids worked out just fine."

He and Kathleen were married 50 years, they traveled and traveled, but never found any place that they loved more than Keosauqua and that 40 acre farm.

David was preceded in death by his parents, Albert and Opal Paulek. Surviving are his wife, Kathleen, his sons, Mark David (Jeanne) of Concord, MA, Adam David (Anne Tyler) of Farmville, VA, his daughter, Megan Kathleen Kunz (Tim) of St. Paul, MN; his sister, Anita Jo Jakupcak (Mike), his brother, Albert A. Paulek (Teresa), Grandchildren: Olivia Paulek, Elliott Paulek, Curtis Kunz, and Leo Kunz. His "shared cousins", Cheryll & Gerald Clamon of Iowa City. Also, many nieces and nephews. And his dog, Ted.

David's body has been cremated. A visitation and Celebration of his Life will be held at a later date.

Hope Lodge of Iowa City and EveryStep Hospice are his memorial choices. Dave was diagnosed with brain cancer in July, 2017. Words cannot express how important the UIHC Oncology Department has been to his last 2 years. Hope Lodge gave him & Kathleen lodging during several months of radiation. EveryStep Hospice gave all of the family peace of mind and a feeling of not being alone during his last days.
Published on December 13, 2019


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Dianne Giltner
Dec 14, 2019
Kathy, I am so very sorry for your loss. I know you loved your life with Dave and all that you two accomplished. My sincere condolences are with you and your family. Sincerely, Dianne and Bard Giltner
Shann Williams
Dec 14, 2019
What a shock to see that Dave has passed away. Prayers to you Kathy and family. He was an excellent teacher, person, and friend. Lots of good memories.. HUGS