Paul came into the world on July 10, 1923, the third child of six born to Charles Raymond and Mary Frances Acker, hard-working farmers in the eastern foothills of Colorado southeast of Denver.
He attended a one-room country school through the 8th grade, then graduated from Douglas County High School in Castle Rock in 1939. His love for the academic, and interest in learning prompted him to go an extra year of high school, while he drove the school bus over the 20-mile trip from the farm. He has often expressed gratitude for the wide exposure to, and learning experiences in the fields of music, the world of nature, human society and theology.
Following the Pearl Harbor attack and the entry of the U.S. into World War II, Paul went to Los Angeles to work for an uncle, a doctor who had built the first hotel/motel unit in Westwood Village, near the campus of UCLA. There he registered for the draft of men and women into military service, and was inducted into the Army in 1943. Upon finishing basic training he was given the opportunity to enroll in the Army Specialized Training Program, assigned to study basic engineering at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.
However, the program ended during the second semester, and most of the men were called into service at he noted "Battle of the Bulge" in Germany. By God's grace Paul did not go into combat; he was assigned to a communications battalion where he served in telephone operations. He went by troop ship to the South Pacific area, landing on Okinawa as the battle for that island was ending.
While on Okinawa, expecting to be part of a massive invasion of Japan, Paul welcomed the end of World War II with the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Then followed a seven-month tour in South Korea as the U.S. Army helped to re-establish the legitimate rule of that nation. His military service ended on March 3, 1946 with an honorable discharge and a return to Los Angeles.
The generous G.I. Bill offered the choice of any college, with all expenses paid. Paul chose to begin preparing for a ministry of music in the Church, selecting Occidental College in Los Angeles, the premiere music school of the area. Being assigned to develop and direct a choir, he joined the Eagle Rock Baptist Church to enlist young people for a choir. There he met a young pianist, Mary Ann Higgins, who became his accompanist and eventually his wife.
Paul and Mary were married in 1950 while he attended an American Baptist Seminary in Los Angeles, while she worked for an insurance company.
Two beautiful children, Sharon and Kenneth came along as wonderful gifts from our Heavenly Father. Paul continued to pursue further study toward a church ministry, while also participating in a radio Gospel ministry as a soloist and quartet member. Mary kept very busy as a mother and a music teacher, exercising her skill in training piano students.
A decision to enter the field of marriage and family counseling led Paul to seek training at the American Institute of Family Relations in Hollywood, an organization founded by Dr. Paul Popenoe, nationally-known for his appearance on radio and articles in The Ladies Home Journal. Paul served there while pursuing a California license for private practice and a Master's Degree in Psychology at Los Angeles State College, which became California State University at Los Angeles. There he also attained a teaching credential which allowed for his work at community colleges.
After applying at numerous community colleges in Southern California, Paul received an offer of full-time employment at Ventura County Community College in Ventura, a pleasant sea-coast town. We made a hurried move, which began a happy 35-year career in the Social Science Division. The college administrators were at that time favorable toward the Christian faith, and permitted Paul to attain a Doctor of Ministry Degree, with emphasis on family counseling, at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. A sabbatical from the college allowed time to complete this work as of 1983.
Forty some years in Ventura were very pleasant, truly gifts from our Heavenly Father. In addition to the teaching career, Paul served for ten years as Minister of Music at Community Presbyterian Church in Ventura, where he also helped in the counseling ministry and worked to develop and operate a Christian Conference and Retreat Center in a nearby rural setting. He maintained a small private practice in marriage and family counseling, while Mary kept the home, reared our children and taught many piano students in the area.
As several of our family groups moved away for various reasons we earnestly sought the Lord for His guidance regarding our future. We were invited to venture north, since our daughter, Sharon, her husband, Darrell and their children had settled in Vancouver, British Columbia. It was a hard choice, leaving the area and other family members, but God showed His faithfulness in guiding us to settle in the beautiful Northwest. Paul leaves behind his beloved wife of 72 years, his beloved daughter and son four cherished grandchildren (a fifth has already gone ahead of him), and thirteen precious greatgrandchildren. Paul is gone. But he is not dead. For Jesus said to him, Whoever believes in Me shall live even if he dies; and whoever believes in Me shall never die."