Paul Edwin “Smokey” Gould
Paul Edwin Gould, 85, passed away July 1, 2017. Paul was born in Bassett, Nebraska to Edwin and Gladys Gould on September 25, 1931. Shortly thereafter the entire family moved to Montana in an old Model T Ford. They settled in the Pickett Creek area south of Darby, where Paul attended a one-room school with his brothers and sisters. Some years later, they moved to Ronan where father Edwin found employment with the Northern Pacific Railroad.
On June 27, 1953, Paul married Catherine Elizabeth Byrer in Kalispell. They soon moved to Missoula, where the Northern Pacific Railroad employed Paul as a fireman. Paul liked to tell how, while learning to fire a locomotive, the engineer told him to put more coal in the firebox as they were climbing a steep hill. Paul did as told, and when the train leveled out, the firebox blew a great cloud of smoke into the engine cab. Paul was thereafter known to his colleagues as “Smokey.” Paul went on to become an engineer, and safely piloted freight trains and countless tons of freight to their destinations for what eventually became the Burlington Northern Railway. In 1986 Paul relocated from Missoula to the Flathead Valley, where he continued with the railroad until retirement. He loved his job and was proud of his career.
Paul was an avid elk hunter and fisherman. He would often track elk for miles, and he loved to butcher and wrap his game meat himself. He enjoyed his winter elk camps with his many friends, especially Cliff, Larry, Roy, Tony, Harold and Don.
Paul was a very capable handyman and mechanic. He loved to rebuild engines and old cars, often involving his two sons in various projects. He was also a collector, and after retirement, he frequented auctions where he both renewed old friendships and made many new friends.
For the last year and a half, Paul and Cathy lived at The Springs in Whitefish. Despite the increasing impact of Alzheimer’s, Paul was independent and continued to make many new friends. He never missed a meal, and especially loved the weekly scenic drives. He was quite the raconteur, sometimes telling a good story over and over again. In February, he was elected Senior King for the Whitefish Winter Carnival.
Paul attended Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Kalispell for many years, and Christ Lutheran in Whitefish after moving to the Springs.
Paul took his final night run at 12:50 a.m., July 1, 2017, and “tied up” with his family at his bedside. Complications resulting from a blood infection could not be overcome in the end.
Paul’s parents, Edwin and Gladys, and his older brother Aubrey preceded him in death. His sister Naomi (Hamilton) passed away shortly after Paul on July 4, 2017. Paul is survived by his wife of 64 years, Catherine; his two sons, Daniel Paul and wife Stacey of Kalispell; Greg and wife Christi of Helena; his two grandchildren, Jeremy and Emily Gould; his sister Esther (Mandan, ND), brother Bob and wife Delores (Salina, KS), and brother Don and wife Lorene (Hungry Horse); and numerous nieces and nephews.
Donations in Paul’s memory may be made to World Vision, which Paul and Catherine supported for over 43 years, or to Compassion, where for many years they sponsored individual children in developing countries.
Service will be at Christ Lutheran Church in Whitefish, Monday, July 10 at 1 p.m., with graveside burial at Conrad Memorial Cemetery, Kalispell, immediately following.