Paul Alan Schlegel
Paul Alan Schlegel joined his parents Elmer and Edith Mason Schlegel and brother Stan on March 18, 1941 in Hays, Kansas. As owners of a sporting goods and craft store, Paul’s parents opened the doors to a love of the outdoors, a pantheon of life long hobbies and a love of music. Paul’s obsession with the Rocky Mountains had beginnings in childhood with family trips to his Uncle Howard and Aunt Freda Mason’s home on a ranch near Bailey, Colo., family gatherings on Black Mesa, and trips down the Black Canyon railroad bed with his father and Uncle Crumpacker to fish the mighty Gunnison River. He spent several summers working for the Forest Service in the Bailey area cutting down beetle kill trees. Paul attended school in Hays from kindergarten through college. It was here at Fort Hays State College that he met his wife to be, Sharon Lee Peters. Upon graduation he attended the University of Nebraska Dental School. A career choice he made the summer he had an internship there translating scientific material into German and stumbled upon a student carving teeth. He thought he could do that and live wherever he choose. Sharon joined him in Lincoln, Neb. after a summer at Glen Isle in Bailey at Paul’s suggestion. There she pursued a career with the Girl Scouts. They were married June 14, 1965, Flag Day, in Scott City, Kan. After his successful transition to adding a DDS to his name in June 1967, she got him a job cutting down trees at Camp Catron, the permanent Girl Scout camp, so he would have enough money to join the Army, he had to have the money to buy his uniforms before he got his first paycheck. The next two years were spent at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. making lifelong friends and memories. Paul and Sharon made the jump to civilian life and the mountains of the Gunnison Valley the fall of 1969. They were soon joined by their son Scott Phillip on February 24, 1970. They bought the house on Iowa Street that year and began a popup/remodeling project in 1975. It reached it’s current state in 2005. There were just too many mountains to ski, fish to catch, and planes to fly, rather than working on the house. Paul opened his practice in October 1969. Not wanting to always have to talk about dentistry, in 1976 Paul talked Chris Hass into being the frontman for a joint adventure known as the Tune-up, a bike and ski shop. Paul shared his love of the mechanical with the shop. The bicycle building, adaptations to build mountain bikes, and sail trikes joined the array of homemade boats, bows and arrows, as well as, model airplanes from the hand control models he and his brother flew to radio control planes to the big gliders that would soar as long as the updraft would last. All of which allowed him to be the inventor he wanted to be since childhood. The Mill Creek Valley had a mystical draw to Paul from the first time he saw it in 1969. When an opportunity came up in 1987 to purchase a lot he jumped at the chance. In 1999 the transition was made from the “camper” to a cabin that eventually (2011) included an indoor toilet although the outhouse that he build in five sections, in the garage, and moved up in the pickup, still functions. In 1997 he became a grandpa when Alexander was born, followed by Christian and Matthew. Thus a new generation of Schlegels were available for Paul to influence in becoming active and creative individuals. Paul was assisted in his dental career by many very patient assistants. In June of 2006 when the last was going to quit to have twins he closed up shop. He then had time to work on the “cabin,” take Alex fishing, teach Christian to ride his unicycle, and pick raspberries with Matthew. As his life ended peacefully August 14, 2017 in his own home with Sharon by his side the last thing he had asked Scott was, “How are the boys?” A memorial service will be held Friday, Aug. 25 at 2 p.m. at the Community Church in Gunnison. Memorials may be sent to Gunnison Hospice or the Davis Phinney Foundation.