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August 3, 1928 ~ September 26, 2023 (age 95) 95 Years Old
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Paul DeLargy lived a long purposeful life that sadly came to an end on September 26 in Athens, GA. Born in 1928 in Hoboken New Jersey, he grew up first in the New York area then in Florida where he attended Miami Edison High School. He served as a paratrooper in the Army’s 82nd Airborne before studying economics at the University of Florida. There he was active in Beta Theta Pi fraternity and met his wife Carolyn, becoming “that Yankee” in her Georgia family. A year as an exchange student at the University of Oslo initiated Paul’s life-long connection to Norway, where he worked, travelled, and maintained close friendships through the years.
After marrying Carolyn in 1953, Paul lived in Hinesville Georgia for seventeen years, working as a high school teacher and coach at Bradwell Institute, as Athletic Director at Fort Stewart and as principal of Bacon Primary School. He also founded and directed Camp Viking, a summer camp for youth on the Georgia coast. In 1970, the family moved to Athens where he was principal of Barnett Shoals Elementary School and earned his doctorate at the University of Georgia. This launched his career of statewide and national leadership in community education, rural economic development, and entrepreneurship. He was Director of the Centers for Community Education at the University of Tennessee, Valdosta State College and then the University of Georgia. He also founded two influential non-profit organizations to advance rural education and leadership: Georgia REAL and RealLedge. These trained teachers in entrepreneurship education and established school-based enterprises in in rural areas of Georgia, the US, Europe, Africa and Central America. This led the Georgia House of Representatives to honor him with a formal resolution of appreciation for his commitment to rural economic development. Admired among educators as a visionary, he received numerous honors from the National Community Education Association and multiple Georgia school districts named awards for their outstanding teachers for him.
Paul was deeply committed to supporting youth opportunities in rural communities, whether in South Georgia, Western Norway or Honduras, where his last project still continues. His indefatigable curiosity, sincere interest in others, and his generous spirit made him a loved friend, teacher, and administrator throughout his life. He never knew a stranger, was a true believer in equality of all people and a steady advocate for social justice. His deep commitment to local development and his acute sense of what was needed in resource-poor communities led him to learn about everything from goat dairying to aquaponics and beekeeping. He believed that young people could succeed in establishing and running businesses. And they did, in every corner of the state and beyond.
Paul was also an entrepreneur himself. At various times in his life he raised chickens and sheep, owned an insurance agency, All Aboard Travel in Athens, and co-owned and managed the Hartwell Marina. He also led the historical redevelopment of Depot Street in Hartwell, Georgia and being a rail buff, he was thrilled to restore an old steam locomotive for the touristic Hart County Railroad.
An avid sportsman, he was an AAU college track champion and an Army football player. He also raised quarter horses and was a keen sailor and accomplished skier. He was a passionate Florida Gators supporter in football, volleyball, gymnastics or really, anything. He also rooted for Georgia if Florida was not playing. He was a lifelong advocate for womens’ sports and delighted in the successes of the US Women’s Soccer team.
Paul travelled the world for work and with family, making friends everywhere he went, from Brazil to Egypt, from Eritrea to Russia, but especially in his beloved Norway. He was at home anywhere. In his later years, however, there was no place he would rather be than with his breakfast crew at the lunch counter at Athens’ Add Drugs, where we was the esteemed leader of the annual St Patrick’s Day celebrations.
Known for his open mind and child-like enthusiasm for all learning, his open heart, and his famous and ever-present sense of humor, he kept his friends and family and even his doctors and nurses laughing until the very end.
He is survived by his wife of seventy years, Carolyn, his children Pam (Craig) and Kip, his grandchildren Salam and Jonah and the many, many young people he mentored and inspired through the years.
A memorial service and reception will be held at the Day Chapel at the Georgia Botanical Garden in Athens, Georgia on October 11, 2023 at 4:00 pm. The family welcomes everyone to help celebrate Paul’s life by sharing their memories of him.
Lord and Stephens Funeral Home, EAST, Athens, GA is in charge of arrangements. www.lordandstephens.com