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Remembering Paulus


Former Students, Colleagues and Friends Pay Tribute to the Master Teacher

John Paulus affected both my legal education and my career in a unique way. He was my professor while I was a student, and he was a masterful teacher. The Paulus Bar Review helped me prepare for the Oregon bar exam. Most important to me, though, I was given the opportunity when he retired to fill his (very large) shoes as the Trusts and Estates professor at Willamette. My 24 years of experience in that role make me appreciate why his professional career was so rewarding to him and his many students. — Professor Valerie J. Vollmar JD’75


John was my favorite law professor. He was truly outstanding. — Phil H. Ringle BA’53, LLB’56

As a young, new rookie on the faculty during John’s later years, I didn’t have much contact with him. I do remember his quiet dignity and his humility amidst the adoration of his students. — Professor Dean Richardson

My father Omar W. Halvorson JD’51 was one of John Paulus’ first students. I was in his very last Trusts and Estates class in the spring of 1985, prior to my graduation. Both my father and I attended his retirement ceremony that year.



I was saddened to learn of the passing of John Paulus. During my 11 years on the Willamette law faculty (1970 – 81), we shared a dedication to classroom teaching and an appreciation of the fact that we were part of a very special community at the law school. John was a master teacher and a true gentleman. — Professor John J. “Jack” Mylan

When our times become pages in history, we would like to believe that somehow we played a part, that we made a difference. Great teachers count. John Paulus was a great teacher. He counted. I can think of no finer compliment to pay anyone. — Ronald B. Lansing JD’60

John was a legend as far back as 1960, when I graduated from WUCL. I remember going to Salem Senator baseball games with him and seeing him on the tennis courts. He was a true scholar and a gentleman. We will all miss him. — Martin R. Wolf BA’57, LLB’60

6 | Willamette Lawyer

Paulus was an extraordinary professor and mentor. We all remember him with great affection. My father died in February 2007, so I know he was in heaven to welcome Professor Paulus home to his “property in the clouds.” — Kathryn (Halvorson) Nove JD’85

John Paulus was the last of the four senior members of the law school faculty who helped steer several of us neophytes in the right directions. John was a master teacher and an exceptionally sensible, thoughtful colleague. In the long, bumpy transition from the Langdellian era of case law science to broader, more supple models of legal education, he offered a critical but open mind. I remember one day early in my Willamette experience when John, bicycle helmet in hand, rather skeptically asked me what I thought of the dean’s plan for a visiting professor to teach a then novel course in sports law. After taking note of my enthusiasm for doing so, he flashed a reassuring smile and pedaled off, a pioneer in sporty, sustainable commuting. Our loss at this time is the Willamette legacy’s gain. — Professor James A.R. Nafziger

Willamette Lawyer | Spring 2009 • Vol. IX, No. 1  
Willamette Lawyer | Spring 2009 • Vol. IX, No. 1  

Remembering Paulus: The College of Law community mourns the passing of Professor Emeritus John C. Paulus, a master teacher and member of the...