“Joseph Paulson was born on May 29, 1943 at Bristol Wagner Hospital, it was noticed early on that Joe was displaying signs of developmental delays and started showing signs of aggressive behavior. At that time, The Pennhurst State School and Hospital was a known establishment thought to be the best place for Joe, and others like Joe. He remained at Pennhurst from age 6 until age 10, he returned home and then went back to Pennhurst at age 14. Throughout his time at Pennhurst, Joe wasn’t allowed visitors and his happiness quickly declined. The records from Pennhurst show the many attempts his mother made to see Joe, to have him come home for holiday and weekend visits. These attempts were mostly declined but show that Joe was loved by his family. From Pennhurst, Joe was transferred to Woodhaven Center and then ultimately moved to Community Options, Inc. in 1996 where he’d live for the remainder of his life.
Joe lived with Community Options and his housemate Michael from 1996-2020. He lived at Shadybrook Lane and was one of the first individuals supported in our residential program. Throughout the 24 years at Shadybrook Lane, Joe was loved, cared for and supported by the amazing employees of Shadybrook Lane:
Theodocia (Theo)– worked with Joe consistently as his 1:1 since 2011. This was Joe’s main “Mommy,” the one he trusted most and whom cared for him like her own family,
Loronz– since 2010, this was Joe’s main “Daddy,” the man in Joe’s life that would rebuild the trust that Joe may not have had in others,
Anne– since 2006, the consistent member of Joe’s Shadybrook family who would ensure he didn’t get into any trouble during the overnight hours, as Joe was notorious for breaking the rules when no one was looking,
Muneer– also Joe’s “Daddy,” since 2007, who’d make sure that the weekends were filled with enjoyment and fun for Joe, always a reminder for Joe that the Shadybrook family would remain intact,
Joyce– although a late starter to the Shadybrook family, since 2018, she fit in perfectly and Joe welcomed her with open arms. Joe allowed Joyce to come into their family to contribute her joy & happiness.
Joe was one of a kind. His joy for life was shown with a gigantic smile on his face and hysterical laughter that would arise from showing off his newest dance moves to everyone. The words, “watch this, watch this Mommy, watch this….BOOM…HAHA,” you always knew something good was coming.
His love for firetrucks and his firefighter gear stayed consistent throughout his life. The last birthday party thrown from him; we had the fire company drive by to celebrate his special day. It’s no doubt that he truly loved and appreciated the little things in life. His joy for a cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee every morning, the sound of a car alarm beeping and the simple pleasure of spending time in the placed he loved most: Shadybrook.
It’s no secret that Joe had a difficult beginning to his life – but that never stopped him from building a better future. Joe never let his past stop him from pursuing his ultimate happiness. With the help of the employees whom supported him over the last 24 years, Joe lived a successful, meaningful, happy, loving, full life. We’ll miss him greatly and we’re beyond fortunate to have had Joe choose us as the ones who’d care for him indefinitely and unconditionally.
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