Mark Alexander Paulson was born on June 27th, 1944 in Rochester, New York to Mark C. Paulson and Margaret A. (Mann) Paulson. Most of his childhood years were spent in Peoria, IL, and he graduated from Peoria High School in 1962. After high school, Mark went on to study English and Fine Arts at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana (class of 1966).
Mark moved to Minneapolis, MN in 1969 to attend Graduate School at the University of Minnesota where he earned his Masters of Fine Arts in Directing.
In 1971 Mark became the first resident Artistic Director for Lakeshore Players in White Bear Lake, MN, where he directed for 4 seasons. It was at Lakeshore Players that he met his wife Lynn. In 1977 Mark was hired to teach theater at Hill-Murray High School, and over his 29 year tenure there he built an expansive theater program that produced 7 shows every year, ranging from high school competition one-acts to the annual A Christmas Carol production, spring musicals and community/alumni productions.
Through his many years of tireless work and dedication, Mark taught hundreds of students the values of commitment, teamwork, and artistic excellence. His daughters Jennifer (Hill-Murray class of ’97) and Heather (Hill-Murray ’01) grew up in the theater and enjoyed many years of collaborating with their father, on and oﬀ stage.
After retirement from Hill-Murray in 2007, Mark continued to pursue his passions in the theater and beyond. He designed lighting and sets for many local theater companies and taught and freelanced at local schools, volunteered his time building sets at the Phipps Center for the Arts, was an evaluator and educator for the Spotlight Education program/Hennepin Theater Trust and even wrote a book, Curtain Up, designed for theater educators.
Over the years, Mark enjoyed tracing his genealogy and reaching out to relatives near and far. He loved to visit relatives in Sweden, England, Australia and all over the United States.
Mark also enjoyed model trains and could often be found working on a scale replica or locomotive for his layouts, blogging about his model railroad work and train photography, or volunteering at the Minnesota Transportation Museum. In 2016 he designed and built a library addition to his home where he worked for the last few years of his life building an archive to house the numerous photos, videos and records associated with the productions he directed at Hill-Murray from 1978-2007. He enjoyed hosting former students at the archive and posting memories and photos on the Hill-Murray Theater Archive Facebook page for all to enjoy and reminisce.
Mark is survived by his wife Lynn Maiers Paulson, daughters Jennifer Monzon (Carlos) and Heather Fisher (Andrew), granddaughters Evelyn and Isabella Monzon, sister Sara Knapp, nephews Nick and Derek Knapp, and many friends, family and former students around the world.
A celebration of life will be held at Hill-Murray School on Saturday, January 4th at 2pm with a reception following.
In lieu of flowers, Mark’s family would prefer donations in Mark’s name to the Hill-Murray Fine Arts Department or the Hennepin Theater Trust Spotlight Education Program.