Paul Royal Nolan (Age 91)
Paul was born on June 11, 1927 in San Diego, California, the son of Lucille (McFarland) and Paul A. Nolan. He grew up in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where he graduated from high school. Paul joined the Navy to go to war during World War II. After his service to our country, he immediately went looking for his high school sweetheart, Donna Mae Platts, and finally found her in Otis Orchards, Washington. They married on October 8, 1946 in Spokane when he was 18 years old. There, Paul and Donna raised seven children. Surviving relatives include son Gary (Carol) Nolan of Spokane; daughters Terry (Bill) Haraldson of Surprise, AZ, Rhonda (Craig) Skeesick of Spokane, Gail (John) Prosser of Spokane, Sharon (Dave) Pupo of Lewiston, ID, and Julie Nolan of Spokane; seventeen grandchildren, 27 great-grandchildren; 4 great-great-grandchildren; one niece and one nephew. He was married to Donna for 61 years and attributed his long and happy marriage to the fact that he married a beautiful woman who was a wonderful mother to his children.
Paul was a deputy sheriff for two years before he became a fireman with the City of Spokane Fire Department in 1954. Because of a lot of hard work, dedication and self study, Paul advanced through the ranks, including lieutenant, captain, and fire investigator, where he needed to attend the state police academy to take that position. He retired as a Battalion Chief for the city. After his retirement, Paul started up his own arson investigation business, where he helped to solve many suspicious fires in and around Spokane. Paul was appointed to the position of United States Marshal, Eastern Washington District by President Ronald Reagan on December 3, 1981, and served under President Reagan, President George HW Bush, and President Clinton until 1994. As US Marshal, Paul worked the Ruby Ridge case as well as many other fugitive cases. He was passionate about solving crimes and bringing criminals to justice.
Paul joined the Rotary Club in 1984. Together with other Rotarians, including Steve Philabaum and Jack Reeves, Paul created The Secret Witness Program. The committee, which had representatives from city and county law enforcement, met every Friday to review crime cases that had law enforcement stumped. The committee received a budget of $10,000 each year from Rotary 21 and raised additional funds on their own. All money was spent paying secret witnesses. Paul shared the committee’s pride in solving some major crimes. Paul’s classification in the Rotary was US Marshall, Retired.
Paul traveled extensively with his wife, Donna. He volunteered at the Spokane Civic Theatre, where he worked mostly backstage, but also acted in a few plays, including “Oklahoma” and “Annie Get Your Gun”. He went to Washington DC as an Honor Flight Veteran, “…the American citizen soldiers…fought and won…and we all of us, living and yet to be born, must be forever profoundly grateful.”
Paul passed peacefully during the night in his independent living apartment at Rockwood South Hill on December 1, 2018. He was preceded in death by his father and mother, his wife, Donna, his brother, Pat, and his daughter, Paula Nolan. Paul’s children and family continue to place him in high regard for all of his achievements. He was a kind, strong, humble man, loved by many. We will miss him most for the lasting values he embodied. He had a strong work ethic and a great sense of humor. He was giving, honest, a great storyteller, and was committed to whatever he did. He was a true member of The Greatest Generation and will be missed on this planet. We love you and miss you dearly Dad. And, we will be sure to raise a glass of red wine to you.
We would like to thank the employees at Rockwood South Hill who treated our Dad with such courtesy, respect, and kindness during his four years as a resident. We believe that you felt like we did, that he deserved to be honored for the wonderful life he lived.
The family will host a Memorial Service on Saturday, December 8, 2018, at 11:00 a.m. in the Rose Chapel at Hennessey Funeral Home & Crematory, 2203 North Division Street, Spokane, Washington. There will be a reception following the memorial service in Hennessey’s Deacon John Sicilia Room, followed by an inurnment at 2:00 p.m. at Riverside Memorial Park, 508 N Government Way, Spokane, Washington.
To share memories and condolences please post on his tribute wall.