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Obituaries & Tributes

Leon Paulson

date of birth January 1 1935

date of death August 7 2019

Leon Paulson died peacefully at home on Wednesday, August 7, 2019, from cancer. He was 83 years old.

He spent his early life in Northern California. His mother was a first grade teacher and a member of the Plass family, first-generation pioneers of the Napa Valley, and his father was a heavy equipment mechanic from an Danish immigrant family. As a small child, Leon lived in logging camps and small towns in Northern California following his father’s work. When his mother inherited what was left of the Plass family ranch, a rambling Victorian house on 20 acres, his family moved to Napa. Leon went to Clark Kerr-era UC Berkeley as an undergraduate, was drafted into the army and served in Cold War Germany, and then returned to California to earn his MA at San Francisco State and his PhD at Stanford.

He met his wife of over 50 years in a statistics class during his first day at Stanford. After finishing graduate school, Leon spent most of his life in Oregon with his wife and their two children. He had a distinguished career as a researcher in the field of educational psychology, consulting on the early development of Sesame Street, developing standards for credentialing child care workers, and publishing pioneering work on portfolio-based assessments. A prodigious reader of scientific and political history, he was also a passionate listener of classical music and, for a time, owned a stereo store on the outskirts of Portland. When Leon and his wife retired, they travelled extensively on five continents.

Leon is survived by his wife, two children, and two grandchildren. A reception to honor his memory will take place in early September. If you would like to attend, please contact Leon’s family for more information.

The family invites those who wish to make a donation in his memory to contribute to the Southern Poverty Law Center or the Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area.

2 tribute candles have been lit

Candle lit by Staff at Autumn Funerals, Cremation & Burial Our sincere condolences.

Candle lit by Esther Rice Leon was a totally dependable person, devoted to his family. He was creative and scholarly. He kept learning new things; besides being a prolific reader, he learned to be a bird watcher. Thoroughly genuine, he never pretended to be otherwise. We shall miss him very much.