Portraits of Peace House History: Jean Paulson and Linda Hathaway

Jean Paulson and Linda Hathaway
Jean Paulson and Linda Hathaway

This year marks 25 years of Peace House serving survivors of family violence and abuse in Summit and Wasatch counties through shelter, support services, education and outreach. As part of our 25th Anniversary Year, each month we are spotlighting some of the many individuals who have shaped Peace House history. Throughout the year, we will be honoring and commemorating all those who have supported the life-saving and life-changing work that Peace House has offered our community over the past 25 years.

Jean Paulson was a “quiet church lady, wearing a pink cardigan … and in her way, a bulldozer,” says Linda Barbour, former Board Chair of the Domestic Peace Task Force (later known as Peace House), of the woman credited as the co-founder of the task force.  Jean Paulson’s counterpart was another unassuming church lady, Linda Hathaway, who Jean’s husband, Harley Paulson, fondly remembers as a “focused organizer” from the Shepherd of the Mountains Lutheran Church. At one of their meetings with the Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (WELCA), Linda Hathaway recalls volunteering to chair a social ministry group. This group happened to form right around the same time as the 1990 domestic homicide of Nadalee Noble, which occurred outside Park City’s only super market. Nadalee’s murder shook the community and brought the reality of domestic violence to the forefront of the community’s attention. As a result, Linda’s group put their focus on becoming more educated around domestic violence. Linda Hathaway recalls, “Our first priority was to find the level of need in our area, and to help educate people about domestic violence”.

As Chair of the committee, Linda invited Debra Daniels from the YWCA in Salt Lake City, an organization offering shelter and support services to women escaping violence, to speak to their WELCA group. Debra’s presentation made it clear that domestic abuse was a bigger problem than they had imagined. Following that meeting, Linda opened up the group to anyone in the community who had a desire to learn more, and to find ways to support victims. Other dynamic women joined the cause. One of those women was Evelyn Richards- an activist and engaged parishioner of St. Mary’s who housed women and their children escaping violence on multiple occasions. Joan Hatfield was another member of the group who attended regularly, and otherwise served as the Executive Director of the Counseling Institute, which offered counseling for victims of abuse.

1992: The first public forum held in Park City on domestic violence

Linda Hathaway recalls the group’s next strategic step in raising awareness was to organize a community forum. The forum was held on January 30, 1992, at McPolin Elementary, sponsored by the Ecumenical Society and led by Ms. Daniels from the YWCA. The group’s goals were to educate the community through a panel of speakers that interfaced with victims of abuse, including a survivor speaking to the realities of domestic violence. They also hoped to engage potential volunteers that could offer support to victims. The forum was successful in raising community awareness, and recruiting future victim advocates. [1]

1993: The Domestic Peace Task Force is established as an official non-profit

Shortly after the public forum, the group formalized the name and the Domestic Peace Task Force was born. In November of 1992, the articles of incorporation were recorded, and in May 1993 the Domestic Peace Task Force received their not-for-profit/501c3 status. Once the organization was formalized, Linda felt it was time for her to move on. Linda Hathaway officially resigned from the Domestic Peace Task Force in 1993 and was given a plaque that recognized her “Outstanding Contributions Toward The Development Of The Domestic Peace Task Force”. Linda said, “I felt I had done all I was able to do for the organization” and it was time to serve in other areas. She left the Domestic Peace Task Force in the capable hands of her friend Jean, and turned her attention to raising her children and to ministries dedicated to feeding the hungry and the homeless.

1994: The Peace House shelter is under construction and victim services take shape

Jean Paulson was essential in growing and structuring the organization. The Domestic Peace Task Force was now providing resources and very practical support to victims, in developing safety plans, driving victims to court, helping victims file protective orders, and occasionally even housing women and children. In early 1994, Jean accepted an offer from the late Bob Wells to build a shelter across the street from the Police Department on Marsac Ave, where the Peace House shelter remained for the next 24 years. Jean helped formalize the first Board of Directors for the new non-profit, and after serving as Chair of the Board briefly, she turned it over to Linda Barbour who served as Board Chair from 1994 until 1997. This shift allowed Jean to focus on leading the organization’s developing victim advocacy program.

1994-2000: Jean Paulson’s development of the victim advocacy program

Jean essentially established the Domestic Peace Task Force’s Victim Advocacy Program. [2] This program was primarily funded by state grants, which Jean primarily wrote, with support from her husband Harley who worked for the Utah State Office of Education. Jean helped victims fill out protective orders and Harley would be asked on occasion by Jean to serve “papers” to perpetrators. Harley recalls Jean sometimes leaving their home in the middle of the night to help women and provide immediate support. When he asked her if he should be concerned and worried that she was going out alone, Jean responded, “I am not alone. My Lord is with me all the time. I am doing God’s work.”

Jean spent many years picking up women in her car to bring them to court and sit with them throughout the hearings. Mary Ford, a former police officer with the Park City Police Department, would often escort Jean when she drove women home after court. “These were some of the most dangerous times for women because their perpetrator was angry and they were still out in the community,” recalls Mary, who served on the board of the Domestic Peace Task Force for many years. In the late 1990s, Mary approached the Summit County Council with lawyer Maria Booth and County Attorney Robert Atkins to recommend that Jean serve as the Victim Advocate on the County’s payroll, after doing the work as a volunteer for numerous years. The Council voted unanimously for Jean to become the first employed Victim Advocate of Summit County.

The women who knew Jean describe her as someone who saw a need and turned her passion into action. Jean and Linda were both considered quiet but deeply engaged and committed to helping others. While Linda was the impetus for the group, Jean’s vision and commitment grew the organization, and together with all those who joined forces in the community, they were able to build an infrastructure for victim services that still benefit survivors of domestic abuse in Summit and Wasatch counties. Peace House shelter opened in the spring of 1995, through the efforts of countless volunteers offering their time, talents and resources to ensure our community had a place to shelter and serve families escaping violence.

On December 9, 1997, Jean received the Salt Lake Domestic Violence Council’s first ever “Angel of Peace” award for her tireless efforts. [3] She was well respected throughout Northern Utah for her work in empowering victims of domestic violence and for the programs she contributed to formalizing in her community. She served as Summit County’s Victim Advocate until she and her husband retired and moved back to the Dakotas in 2000. Jean passed away from cancer in 2004 in Rapid City, North Dakota, surrounded by her family at home. Linda Hathaway stayed in Heber City until 2019 when she and her husband moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to be closer to family. Linda remained committed to social causes and serving others throughout her 40+ years of living in Utah. Jean and Linda’s dedication, commitment, and legacy live on in the mission of Peace House as we continue to shelter, support, educate and advocate for families impacted by domestic abuse.  Researched and written by Karen Marriott
 Edited by Lisa Jackson
 Photo Credit of Jean, taken by Scott Sine, Park Record Dec  31, 1997
 Photo of Linda, taken and given by Linda Hathaway

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