Paul was born in Primula Alta. to Marie and Bill Makohin.
He was the youngest of four children who were orphaned in 1924.
Anne, his oldest sister, kept track of her siblings thus Paul knew and always stayed close to his birth family.
In 1926, Paul and his sister Stella were adopted from an Edmonton orphanage by Gus and Locada Belter of Bashaw.
Paul’s brother Wally was adopted by the Lungren family.
The Belters had two daughters of their own, so now Paul had two more sisters.
As one of them related to me, “We were very excited to have a brother, and we spoiled him because he was so cute. We laughed at him too because he only spoke Ukrainian”.
Paul attended a country school called Bonnie Brae until Grade 8.
He loved his only teacher, Mrs. Scott and stayed friends with her until she passed away at an old age.
Paul farmed with his dad until he got out on his own to earn enough money to buy his dad’s farm.
He worked at Swift’s meatpacking plant in Edmonton where he became a skilled meat cutter.
Sarah Radke, who was his sweetheart, also went to Edmonton, where she worked as a waitress.
They stayed with Paul’s sister until they got married on Jan. 1, 1944, before returning to Bashaw to farm and raise their children.
There were four: Bernice (Mahon) born in 1945, Diane (Wells) born in 1948, Larry born in 1950 and Douglas, born in 1956.
Although Paul farmed, his interests were elsewhere.
He loved designing, engineering, building and, most of all, welding.
He also loved politics and a good debate.
Being a municipal councillor for a few terms enabled him to pursue some of these interests.
He was influential in the Bashaw community with projects like the seed cleaning plant and artificial ice for the curling rink.
But he still wasn’t satisfied, so he pursued a welding career.
He went from helping the neighbours when they needed something fixed to getting his ticket and welding professionally.
He worked in the far north at Inuvik, loving the peace and the midnight sun.
He worked mostly for Syncrude at Fort McMurray and several other places.
Paul retired from working away when he was 63-years-old, but never stopped working.
Self-described as a workaholic, he did both utility and artistic welding. There are numerous iron gates, railings and fences around Camrose, Wetaskiwin and Bashaw that can attest to his talent and skill as a welder.
Paul lived in Camrose during his retirement years.
He is remembered as helpful and generous to his friends and family, including nephews and nieces.
He loved his chess and his politics and often threw out a hook to catch an unsuspecting opponent for debate–who would lose.
He passed away at 98 years, two months and one day.
His 98th birthday was spent at Boston Pizza.
He leaves behind two children and their three spouses: seven grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews and their families, plus many friends (all much younger).
Of special mention is Katalin Horvath, his live-in caregiver of five years.
His ashes are spread over his birth parents’ graves and at the old Bashaw farm site, without ceremony or fuss – such was Paul.
If you ever met him, you didn’t ever forget him–such was Paul.