In Loving Memory of Paul David Van Nostran
We mourn the loss of a remarkable individual, Paul David Van Nostran who peacefully left this world on October 21, 2023, at Benton House of Staley Hills, Kansas City, Missouri. Paul was a dedicated golfer, a true artist on the fairways, and a cherished member of the community. Paul leaves behind a legacy of love, laughter, and a deep passion for the game of golf.
Paul was born to Paul David and Mildred (Patton) Van Nostran in Canton, Ohio, on January 30, 1931. He graduated from McKinley High School where he excelled on the basketball and golf teams. He was a graduate of Ohio University where he was the number one seed player on the golf team. One of his fellow members on the team, Dow Finsterwald, went on to play on the pro tour. During summer breaks Paul worked at the steel mills of Republic Steel and played in golf tournaments every weekend. His proudest moment in his golf career was being tied with Arnold Palmer in a pro-am in Akron, Ohio, after thirty-six holes of play. Arnold Palmer went on to win that tournament.
Paul started law school at Ohio Northern University Claude W. Pettit College of Law but left to enter the United States Army. He was stationed in Okinawa, Japan. After his return from the service, Paul went to work for Republic Steel in sales, and was later transferred to the Kansas City office where he met and married his wife, Colleen Van Nostran in 1961. They divorced in 2004 but remained close and dedicated to each other.
Paul’s success was made possible from the men who saw his talent, ability, and potential. In 1962, while working for Republic Steel in Kansas City, Missouri, Paul stopped by to check out a company in Manhattan, Kansas, Steel and Pipe Supply. Paul met Jack Goldstein, played a round of golf with him, and forged a friendship on the golf course that led Jack to spend the next two years trying to hire him away from Republic Steel. During his first two years at Steel and Pipe, Paul worked as the head of sales and purchasing. He became President of the company in 1966 and remained in that position until he retired in 2005. Paul embodied the principles of hard work, innovation, and the importance of forging friendships with his staff and customers. During this tenure, Paul helped expand the company to add facilities in Kansas City, Port of Catoosa, St. Louis, and Tulsa. Paul’s true talent was in finding (and keeping) the perfect people in each position, mentoring them, instilling confidence in their talents, and then giving them the room and support to grow in their position.
Giving of his talents and finances to the community and the church was at the core of Paul’s heart. He served on the Board of Directors of First Bank and The Trust Company of Manhattan, Kansas for many years. He was involved with the Junior Golf Association, Boys and Girls Club, and delivered Meals On Wheels. He also participated in the Manhattan Community Garden. Paul was also known for the amazing tomatoes he grew and the brownies he made for the neighborhood children. He was a faithful member of the First United Methodist Church, Kansas State University, and boasted one of the longest memberships at the Manhattan Country Club. Paul gave generously and could always be counted on for specific projects with those organizations near and dear to his heart.
Paul’s first love always remained golf. He cherished the moments spent on the many golf courses he played all around the country. Many hours and lessons went into perfecting his swing and his short game. Paul had many individual and team victories and recorded eleven hole-in-ones over his lifetime. Well into his 80s, he was still shooting his age and playing in a regular weekly golf group. Even though he was competitive with his score each round, it never got in the way of his friendships as he felt the camaraderie with his friends was the true joy of golf.
Off the golf course, Paul was a devoted family man. He cherished his role as a father and husband, filling our lives with warmth, wisdom, and unwavering support. His love and guidance shaped our lives and inspired us to be better people. He encouraged the values of integrity, determination, and the importance of giving back to the community. Paul’s only demand of us was to be together, get along, and give each other unconditional love.
Paul is survived by this daughters Carrie Sue Doxsee (husband Todd) of Kansas City, Missouri, Carla Van Nostran (husband Jameson Watkins) of Yakima, Washington, stepson Dan Burns (wife Teresa) of Cameron, Missouri, eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren, his brother Douglas Van Nostran (Barbara Oaks) of North Canton, Ohio, sister Judith Snyder of North Canton, Ohio, and his former wife, Colleen Van Nostran, Kansas City, Missouri, who was there by his side every day after he moved to Kansas City . He is preceded in death by his parents, his brother, William Van Nostran, his brother-in-law, William Snyder, and his stepson, Richard Burns. His family will forever carry his memory in their hearts.
Family vacations to Vail, Colorado with their long-time friends and children were among the highlights of Paul’s family experience. These trips were full of laughter and provided many fond memories. The family travelled yearly to Canton, Ohio or Naples, Florida to be with Paul’s family. The beauty of nature, be it the golf course, the mountains, or the ocean provided the perfect backdrop for family time. Paul shared his love of sports with the girls by going to K-State basketball and football games (regardless of the weather or if the team was winning).
Doug and Paul were not only close brothers, but best of friends. They would each play in their home course member-guest golf tournaments. The two were a formidable pair on the course. Although Paul was only at the Congress Lake golf course once a year, Doug’s friends considered him as their own friend and his welcome was always extra warm and unique. Doug received many messages upon Paul’s passing with comments like: “such a warm and likeable man”, “you always felt good around Paul”, “if everyone were like Paul, the world would be a better place”, and even “I am going to try and live my life more like Paul.”
Paul’s special touch was felt in the last fourteen months during his time at Benton House of Staley Hills. He seemed to have extremely good luck at bingo and loved handing out his prizes to the caregivers there. Paul enjoyed his fellow tablemates and sharing stories about their lives and interests. His favorite part of living at Benton House was sitting out on his porch and watching the birds at his bird feeders, enjoying the breeze, and finding peace in the beautiful view. He often praised the staff for their kindness and remarked that if he couldn’t live at home, Benton House was the best place to be.
Paul will be remembered not just for his skill on the golf course, but also for his generosity, kindness, and unwavering love for his family and friends. His legacy lives in the countless rounds of golf played with friends, the lessons learned on the golf course, and the friendships he forged over a shared love for the game. As we honor Paul’s memory, let us remember that life, like golf, is about the journey, the challenges, and the friendships made along the way.
A celebration of Paul’s life will be in Manhattan, Kansas with a charity golf tournament at the Manhattan Country Club in June of 2024. He requested memorials be sent to the First United Methodist Church of Manhattan, Kansas or the veteran’s organization of your choice.
As we bid farewell to our dear Paul, let us remember the warmth and joy he shared with all of us. I think Pauls’ wisdom and advice over his lifetime is embodied with this quote—
“Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots and good breaks from bad shots, but you have to play the ball where is lies.” - Bobby Jones.
Paul’s attitude towards life was demonstrated daily in the quote he shared at the end of every conversation he had:
“Make it a good day.” - Paul Van Nostran