Paul Herlinger was born in New York City on May 1, 1929. He passed away peacefully at his home in Tacoma on February 2, 2010.
Paul Herlinger's greatest loves were his wife and family, classical music, theater, his career as a radio-TV producer and actor, and the Pacific Northwest where he was truly "at home" since moving here in 1956.
Paul knew he would be a broadcaster from the time he was a high school student at New York's Stuyvesant High School. Chosen to attend an all-city radio workshop, Paul soon discovered he not only had a talent for radio-TV producing, but he was also blessed with a golden voice which he would use throughout his career as an actor in radio dramas and as a narrator for scores of documentaries and commercials.
But New York City couldn't keep Paul. After two years at New York University he left to serve in the U. S. Marine Corps. and then attended the University of Michigan to finish his radio-TV schooling, earning a Master of Arts degree. There, he also met and fell in love with Ilona Planken, whom he married on September 1, 1956. Rather than returning east, he and his new bride drove an old grey Plymouth to Seattle and started a life in a land that he knew would be a refreshing alternative to the Big Apple.
Settling in Tacoma, he indulged his love for the great outdoors. While working for KTNT-TV (1956-67) and KCPQ-TV (1967-1980), he pursued skiing, hiking, and mountain climbing (twice scaling Mt. Rainier), and even fused his passion for the environment with his work, producing documentaries on such important regional topics as whether the Nisqually Delta should be preserved as a wildlife refuge or become a supertanker port, and the controversy surrounding the old Tacoma smelter.
Paul and his wife traveled extensively in Europe and the two teamed up to produce several seasons of TV travelogues called "Blue Horizons," broadcast locally on KTNT-TV (1965-72).
Paul's voice gave him special distinction. He was called upon to narrate regional and national documentaries, had numerous commercial clients, appeared in radio dramas, and for more than 10 years, until recently, played the leading role of John Avery Whittaker in the radio drama series "Adventures in Odyssey", earning him fans worldwide.
Most importantly, Paul Herlinger is remembered by his family as a man of peace and humility who genuinely believed in the goodness of the human spirit, who always had a listening ear and a word of encouragement, and who truly lived the words he taught his three children: to treat others the way you would want them to treat you.
Paul Herlinger is survived by his loving wife, Ilona of 53 years; children, Mark, Teresa, and Glenn; and five grandchildren.
At the family's request, there will be no services. A celebration of Paul's life is planned for a later date. Memorial donations may be directed to Franciscan Hospice and Palliative Care, PO Box 1502, Tacoma WA 98401, the National Wildlife Federation, or Nature Conservancy. Please sign our online guestbook at