Paul Russell Houlahan
Paul Russell Houlahan, 79, passed away on May 9, 2019, in the loving embrace of his family. Paul was born in Melrose, NB on December 28, 1939, the son of the late Michael and Margaret (Strang) Houlahan.
Paul was a well-loved and respected English teacher. He received his early education in Melrose and then at St. Clement’s School, Port Elgin, NB. At the tender age of 17, before receiving any formal training, he completed his first casual teaching contract in a one-room school house in Bayside, NB. He then attended Teacher’s College in Fredericton, NB. After finishing his teacher training, he moved to Montreal, QC where he taught first at Immaculata Elementary School and later Father MacDonald High in Ville St. Laurent, QC. He met the love of his life, Barb, on his first day teaching at Immaculata. He furthered his education at St. Joseph's Teacher's College and Sir George Williams University in Montreal and later at University of Moncton, NB.
In 1969, he returned home to Melrose with his growing family. He taught junior high at Port Elgin Regional Memorial School from 1969 to 1991 and then taught at Marshview Middle School in Sackville, NB until his retirement in 1994. Former students remember him with fondness, recognizing the positive influence he had on their lives.
He had a great love for his church and was actively involved in all aspects of St. Bartholomew’s Church, Melrose. There he taught religion classes, was a server, a reader, a choir member and, in the early 70’s, was made an extraordinary minister of the church by Fr. Bohan. He worked at all the annual turkey suppers and potluck suppers and was the lead organizer of all the St. Patrick’s and Christmas plays, musicals, etc., which were enjoyed by one and all. He was president of the cemetery committee for many years and caretaker of St. Bartholomew’s church and cemetery grounds for 17 years.
Paul’s interests were wide and varied. He was the ultimate collector, and his extensive bottle and hockey card collections were particularly renowned. Paul had a facility for the English language, writing many poems and tributes, and in 1996 won the Bluenose Songwriter’s Contest for his song "Lunenburg Lady." He loved photography, enjoying the challenge of capturing a beautiful scene in nature or the unchoreographed moment. In the summer months, Paul maintained an extensive garden and loved picking berries. He was fiercely proud of both his Irish roots and his community. He often served as the local historian, collecting photos and stories about the families, buildings and history of the area.
Anyone who met Paul marvelled at his quick wit and ability to deliver dead-pan one-liners, always with a twinkle in his eye. He developed a shared love of music early in life with his brother Bernie and appreciated a wide variety of musical genres. He sang constantly, whether at home, at family bonfires, in the church choir or for community events, and he passed this love on to his children and grandchildren. Paul played on the Melrose Maulers softball team until 1991. He loved many sports but none more than hockey. His beloved Toronto Maple Leafs could have no greater fan and, steadfast and true, he will surely be cheering "Go Leafs, go!" from above.
Paul was a cherished husband, father and grandfather. He is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Barbara (Newberry) and their five children: Colleen Houlahan (Ted Nabuurs), Catherine (Brian) Dean, Carolyn Houlahan (Garth Joy), Krista-Lynn (Hugh) Hicks and Tim Houlahan (Annik Lauriault).
He was an adored "Pappy" to his many grandchildren: Patrick, Taya and Connor Nabuurs, Emily (Eric Goyette), Landen (Stephanie Cunningham) and Simon Dean, Ella, Scarlett, Harrison and Hudson Hicks, step-grandchildren Baylee Joy, Bronwyn Robichaud, Corey Williams and Raphael Lauriault, step-great-granddaughter Hayden Corcoran and step-great-grandson James Williams. Paul is also survived by his brother Bernard (Alice) Houlahan and many nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his parents, infant daughter Jennifer, infant grandchildren Noah and Maggie Dean, and daughter-in-law Marlene Williams.
Visitation will be held at Jones Funeral Home in Port Elgin, NB on May 13, 2019 from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. A funeral mass will be celebrated at St. Clement’s Roman Catholic Church in Port Elgin, NB on May 14, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. Interment will be at St. Bartholomew’s cemetery in Melrose, NB.
Our sincere thanks to the Sackville Extra-Mural staff, Palliative Care doctors Pam Mansfield and Lisa Searle, and especially Marty McGlashing, Paul’s compassionate and devoted caregiver. Our hearts are forever filled with gratitude for the care and kindness shown to him.
In lieu of flowers, for those who wish, donations can be made in Paul’s memory to St. Bartholomew’s cemetery or the new Port Elgin Public Library. He would be honoured to know your gifts are supporting things about which he cared deeply.