Duly Noted

In memoriam Paul K. Gaston

Paul K. Gaston, a noted corporate attorney with Warner Norcross & Judd and former Chairman of Guardsman Products, died on Dec. 1 at the age of 78. Gaston grew up in South Haven before attending Duke University and Michigan State, where he received his undergraduate degree and where he met his wife of 56 years, Jean, who survives him. He served in the marching bands at both Duke and Michigan State, and traveled to the Rose Bowl twice.

Gaston received his J.D. degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1959, where he served on the Michigan Law Review. He practiced at Warner, Norcross & Judd for 35 years, specializing in corporate and securities law. He was lead counsel in several hotly contested and landmark matters. When he joined Warner Norcross there were only 14 lawyers but by 1989 it had over 130; Gaston was elected Managing Partner in 1988.

In 1994 Gaston left Warner Norcross to become the full-time Chairman of Guardsman Products, Inc., a leading manufacturer of industrial coatings and a supplier of various consumer
products, where he remained until it was sold. He thereafter became Of Counsel to Warner Norcross.

Gaston was Chair of the Business Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan, and was listed in all editions of The Best Lawyers in America from the time it started until his retirement in 1993.

Gaston’s community involvement included board or trustee service to Grand Valley University, the Grand Rapids Public Museum, Interlochen Center for the Arts, Opera Grand Rapids and his church. Paul and Jean Gaston spent their retirement years dividing their time between Florida and Michigan, pursuing golf and fly fishing.

He is survived by his daughter Carolyn, her partner Robert Crystal and granddaughter Jean L. Weinrich, of East Grand Rapids; son Harold, his wife Laura and grandchildren Rachael, Paul, Sydney Marie, Bryce Davis and Hunter Davis, of Raleigh, NC; and many other siblings and relatives. A memorial service was held at Mayflower Congregational Church in Grand Rapids followed by a reception at Kent Country Club. The family suggests memorials to South Haven Community Foundation, 228 Broadway, South Haven, MI 49090, or to a charity of choice in his name.

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