Lenore Elaine (Lee) Paulson, aged 85, passed away quietly on July 19, 2023. She is survived by
two children, four grandchildren, and three (soon to be four!) great-grandchildren. She will be
laid to rest at the Eastern Shore Veterans Cemetery in Hurlock, Maryland, next to her dear
husband Ron. A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date.
The only child of Hazel and George Engstrom, Lee was born in Chicago and grew up in Batavia,
Illinois. As a teen, Lee joined a local accordion band, where she met her lifelong partner Ron.
She graduated from Batavia High School in 1955, and worked at Mooseheart as Ron began his
Navy career. They married in 1959 and moved to San Diego, where their son David was born.
As is typical with Navy life, the family moved in quick succession to all corners of the US and
overseas, from the Pacific Northwest to Tachikawa AFB in Japan, where daughter Lauren was
born, then to central California and Florida before they finally settled in a Seabee unit in
Washington, D.C. This is where Lee placed roots and developed friendships that would sustain
her for life.
After a long break from her beloved accordion, Lee joined the Washington Metropolitan
Accordion Society and resumed playing with gusto. This led her to the Washington Balalaika
Orchestra and the Ashgrove Players. She forged strong bonds with the women in her
Springfield, VA neighborhood, whom she met regularly for lunches throughout the DC metro
area. She held a steady career at Fairfax County Public Schools’ Food Services division, and also
became a key volunteer with the Springfield Civic Association, for whom she produced and
delivered neighborhood newsletters.
Lee embraced a wide variety of her own personal hobbies that kept her active and engaged. She
loved reading, solving crossword puzzles in the newspaper, and baking cookies. She maintained
a beautiful house and garden, and enjoyed watching the birds from her kitchen window. She
was an avid collector of Swarovski crystal and was a dedicated member of the Swarovski Crystal
Society. Her hands were often busy with crochet projects, crafting everything from baby
blankets and full-size bedspreads to holiday snowflake ornaments, which she gifted
anonymously to her neighbors.
Lee wove together a quick wit, jolly demeanor, and unwavering devotion to build a rich life full
of love and laughter. Her family and friends will always remember her as being genuinely kind,
honest, passionate, and generous.
Perhaps the best summary of her life, however, is represented in a letter written in 2000 by her
grandson Michael, which she stored safely in her desk ever since:
The best person in the world, in my life at least, is my Grandma Paulson! She was born Lenore Engstrom. Everyone
calls her Lee. My grandma was born in Chicago, Illinois on October 20, 1937. She was the only child of George and
Hazel Engstrom. Her childhood was spent in a small town of Batavia, Illinois. She attended Louise White
Elementary School where her favorite friend was Faith Pinner. Her parents built a little cottage near the Algonquin
River where she spent most of her time swimming and boating. My grandma was a very good musician with the
Accordion. She and the accordion band she played in won at least three first place ribbons. She met the love of her
life in the band, my grandpa, Ron Paulson. Later she attended Batavia High School, the only school in the district.
She was a very good student, loved to read, and she worked on the yearbook committee.
She married Ron, also known as P, on January 3rd, 1959. Ron was in the Navy so they moved to five
different places: Washington State, Japan, California, Florida, and Virginia. Japan was where my Mom was born. Lee
had one other child named David. My grandma worked most of her adult life as a secretary. She is a great typist and
designed the school lunch menu for years. My grandma is very happy that she just retired. Right now she is
collecting Swarovski crystal.
I feel really lucky to have a Grandma. I really like the way she laughs.