Family, friends, and the congregation of a Morro Bay pastor killed in a hit-and-run crash last week gathered Saturday to remember the man’s life and honor him for his service to his community.
Dale Paulsen died at the age of 67 after he was hit in Los Osos by a woman who was allegedly under the influence of alcohol at the time.
The funeral was held at Morro Bay Presbyterian Church where Paulsen was a pastor for nearly 24 years. He had just announced to his congregation his intent to retire.
“He had fire in his belly, just the amazing person he was,” one of Paulsen’s sons said at the funeral.
Paulsen was also remembered as a devoted Christian, a loving father, and a competitive backyard basketball player.
“That was my dad, a man who deep down loved to play and laugh with others and we’ll miss that spark,” Paulsen’s oldest son said at the funeral.
A fellow pastor and friend who hadn’t seen Paulsen in 10 years said he’d included Paulsen in his sermon last Sunday, hours before his friend’s untimely death.
That pastor told those in attendance of the funeral about how his own problem with alcohol led him to Paulsen.
“Alcoholism had taken its toll for over 16 years,” the man said. “My marriage was falling apart.”
Paulsen, who was then a pastor in Yosemite national park, encouraged the man to come to church.
“His sermon that day was called ‘There are no lone rangers,’ and it stuck with me ever since,” the man said. “There was a lot of healing that went on in that chapel.”
For Paulsen’s family, healing will come with time. For now, they’re grieving about the time with Paulsen that was stolen from them.
According to his youngest son, Paulsen would always start the Thanksgiving Feast by saying what he was thankful for. In his absence, Paulsen’s son read what he imagined his father might have said.
“To Andrew, Daniel and Tim, there’s too much to say but thanks for making life worth living,” Paulsen’s youngest son said. “That was my favorite title.”
Paulsen spent more than 40 years of his life in ministry.
The woman accused of killing Paulsen faces four felony charges.