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1943 Gail 2023

Gail Paulson

November 8, 1943 — July 27, 2023



Gail Ann Paulson passed away unexpectedly on July 27, 2023. Funeral Mass will be held at St. Agnes Catholic Church Thursday, August 10, 2023, beginning at 11:00AM. Visitation will be held 2 hours prior. The Service will be Live-Streamed on the Hansen Funeral Home Facebook.

Gail was born to Walter and Elizabeth (Palka), Sobkowski on November 8, 1943, in Dunkirk, New York.  After graduating in 1961 from Cardinal Mindszety High School in Dunkirk, her collegiate years were spent at Canisius College and Mercy Hospital School of Nursing in Buffalo, New York where she earned her nursing degree in 1964. Seeking further professional development, she went on to receive a degree as a nurse anesthetist from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN in 1967. In her younger years, Gail often spent her summers waterskiing and sailing on Lake Erie, and her winters on nearby mountains snow skiing. 

In 1969 Gail married Arlo Paulson, and they resided in Meckling, SD until 1980 when they moved to Vermillion, SD. In these early years of her career, she worked as an anesthetist at many of the area hospitals.  In 1991, she struck out on another professional adventure, working as a locum tenen CRNA in hospitals across the country. She enjoyed traveling and discovering new people and places. The last few years of her career took her to Nebraska Orthopedic Hospital in Omaha. Upon retirement in 2014, she moved back to Vermillion, SD.

Always a fun-loving soul, Gail was known by a number of nicknames throughout her life. She was “Picky” to her family and school friends, and, later on, her colleagues at Dakota Hospital called her “Gail Sue.” She often used the word "dootdoot" we never knew exactly what a "dootdoot" was, but we knew it was important.

Gail was a member of Catholic Daughters, ESA, and Main Street Center.  She loved spending time with her family and the stray cats that she adopted, gardening and spending time in the privacy of her backyard. Gail cultivated many deep and wonderful relationships. In the last few years, she spent many days at the Main Street Center, laughing and playing cards with very special friends who meant the world to her.

She is preceded in death by her father Walter, her mother Betty, her brother Jim, and Arlo Paulson.  She leaves behind two daughters, Julie Paulson (Brian Smith) and Jill Paulson, her sister Sue (Stan) Gamber, a sister-in-law Shelia Sobkowski Zwick, and many cousins, nephews and nieces, many special friends and grandpets.

Once, in Omaha, Gail found herself in an OR with water all over the floor. In need of immediate assistance, she called, “Help the Gail!” That plea became a famous phrase that she used over and over with co-workers, family, and good friends. If you would like to “Help the Gail” one last time and keep her memory alive, you may, in lieu of flowers, make a donation in her name to Main Street Center in Vermillion.




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