June 17, 1944 – Feb. 3, 2013
Paul Armand Sabatier died Feb. 3, 2013, at Sutter General Hospital in Sacramento, comforted by friends and family. He was born June 17, 1944, in New York City to Armand and Lily (Radcliff) Sabatier. Paul lost his mother at the age of 6 from leukemia and, based on advice from a doctor, his father moved the family to a “warm and dry place” — Texas — where Paul grew up.
He graduated from Austin College in Sherman, Texas, and Paul fondly remembered his friends and experiences as a liberal in the heart of Texas while the 1960s unfolded. After graduation, Paul volunteered with the Peace Corps, where he taught English in a junior high school in Togo. One of Paul’s favorite stories about Togo was coaching the national basketball team and fending off poison darts from an opposing team. Paul received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago.
Paul was hired by UC Davis in 1972 as one of the first faculty in the newly formed Division of Environmental Studies. He took great pleasure helping to develop the program, serving as master adviser for many years and also as chair. Paul’s research focus was on public policy making; he leaves as his professional legacy a large body of work on policy implementation and the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF), a theory developed to describe and simplify the complex roles between government agencies, interest groups, legislators, scientists and the external environment in the policy arena. The ACF has been applied by researchers throughout the world to understand the policy process in areas such as energy, education, environment and water. Paul’s work has twice won the Aaron Wildavsky Enduring Contribution Award.
Paul greatly enjoyed teaching and mentoring students, and always strived to develop their critical thinking skills. His motto was “clarity begets clarity, mush begets mush” and he relished a challenging and spirited discussion. In 2009, Paul received the Excellence in Mentoring Award from the Public Policy Section of the American Political Science Association, his most cherished recognition. Paul retired from UC Davis in April 2011.
While in Togo, Paul developed a love for “the most beautiful game in the world,” soccer. He played in Davis’ adult soccer league and also coached his children’s AYSO teams. For many years he refereed for both the recreational and competitive soccer leagues in Davis and served as the referee administrator and scheduler, a service that brought him great joy and friendships. Paul was also a member of the Episcopal Church of St. Martin and a participant and volunteer in the Cursillo Community.
Paul is survived by three children, Jennifer, Katrina and Daniel; his brother Michael; as well as his former wives, Susan McLaughlin Sabatier and Peggy Roark.
A memorial service will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, at the Episcopal Church of St. Martin, 640 Hawthorn Lane in Davis.