Kalee Paw (1910–2001)

By Kalumu Paul


Kalumu Paul, M.A. in education, M.Min. and M.A. in religion with emphasis on Buddhism (Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies), is the director for the Buddhist ministry of Myanmar Union Mission. He is married to Khin Mar Lwin and has a son and two daughters.

First Published: January 29, 2020

Kalee Paw was a missionary, teacher, pastor, and administrator from Myanmar.

Early Life

Kalee Paw was born in the village of Naungkaraing, Karen State, Myanmar, in 1910. His parents were U Toke Paw and Daw Mya Nguang. Kalee’s siblings were U Thaw Hti, Daw Ya Bi, U Sein Tun, and Naw Rutha. Since he lived in a non-Christian village, he was brought up and taught in non-religious ways. His maternal grandfather profoundly impacted his life. He was an earnest Christian who belonged to a Baptist church. Even though Kalee Paw’s grandmother was non-Christian and often said bad things about his grandfather’s religion, his grandfather was always patient and would not respond in the same way. His faithful morning and evening prayers and lifestyle greatly influenced his little grandson, Kalee. His grandfather, in his heart, longed to see his grandchildren obtain a Christian education and become Christians.

When he was eight years old, his grandfather sent Kalee and his brother to the village school to learn to read and write the Myanmar language. That year, 1918, the Influenza Epidemic killed many in the village and millions worldwide. Kalee’s mother was among the dead. To be left motherless resulted in grief and sadness for the family of five children. Their grandfather was a great help comforting and keeping them together as a family.

His grandfather sent Kalee Paw to the Adventist school set up by Eric B. Hare, 60 miles away from their village. Later, his grandfather accepted the Sabbath truth of the Bible and joined the Adventist Church. As a result, he was baptized by Eric B. Hare in 1924.

Education and Marriage

For seven years under the teaching and guidance of Eric B. Hare in Ohndaw Adventist School (now Eric B. Hare Memorial Adventist Seminary), Kalee Paw took an active part in Sabbath school, missionary volunteer work, home visitations, preaching through picture aids, and caring for the sick. He learned to stand unafraid in front of groups of people and do missionary work.

After graduating from Ohndaw Adventist School, Kalee Paw went to an Adventist training school in Meiktila for three years until he finished high school. The following year, there was a shortage of teachers in Meiktila, so he was asked to teach for one year. The next year, under the mission’s sponsorship, he furthered his studies at the junior college in South India, Krishnarajapuram.1

Kalee Paw married Yeh-ni, a nurse, who was trained by Eric B. Hare at the Ohndaw dispensary. They had five children, Judson, Edward, Caleb, Julia, and Jenny,2 17 grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.3

Kalee Paw spoke five languages, Pwo Karen, Sgaw Karen, Burmese, Thai, and English.

Missionary Work and Legacy

Kalee Paw began his work with the mission in May 1931 as a teacher for one year at Meiktila Seventh-day Adventist School. From 1932 to 1934, he went for further studies in India. After finishing junior college, from 1934 to 1935, while Eric B. Hare was at home on furlough, Kalee Paw worked as a principal at Ohndaw Adventist School, where he had learned about and had accepted the Savior.

In the 1935-1936 school year, Kalee Paw was asked to attend the government agricultural training school at Mahalaing to prepare to teach agriculture at Meiktila. The following year, he went back to Meiktila Training School to be dean of the boys’ dormitory, a classroom teacher to teach agriculture, and farm the field.

One day, the Myanmar Union Mission president received a letter from the president of Malay Union of the Far Eastern Division asking for a young couple from the Karen region to come to Thailand (formerly Siam). The couple was to open a Karen mission station among the Karen people on the border hills of Thailand. Kalee Paw was chosen as the candidate for this foreign missionary work. Kalee Paw and his wife served as the first foreign missionaries from Myanmar Union to Thailand for 10 years (1937-1946).4

Kalee Paw continued his service in the South East Mission as an evangelist for three years from 1945 to 1949. In April 1948,5 he was ordained to the gospel ministry at the meeting held in Pune (then Poona), India. From 1949-1959,6 he served as president of the South East Mission. After that, he was elected as union secretary for three years.7 Between 1966 and 1972, he served as a union president.8

Later Life

Pastor Kalee Paw served the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Myanmar and outside the country for 41 years. At age 63, he retired from active service on June 1, 1973.9 Finally, he and his wife settled down permanently in Hpa-an, the capital city of Karen State, Myanmar. On January 18, 2000, his wife died at age 83 in Hpa-an. The following year, on April 23, 2001, Pastor Kalee Paw died at age 91.10


Burma Union Committee Minutes, Action No. 49 – 2901, 1949, Myanmar Union Mission archives, Dagon, Myanmar.

Far Eastern Division Committee Minutes, Action No. 73-1869, 1966, Myanmar Union Mission archives, Dagon, Myanmar.

“Kalee Paw Workers Service Record.” Retained in the file of Employing Organization, Myanmar Union Mission Archives, Dagon, Myanmar.

Paw, Kalee. The Way of God with the Jungle Flower. Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1960.


  1. Kalee Paw, The Way of God with the Jungle Flower (Washington, DC: Review and Herald

    Publishing Association, 1960), 59.

  2. “Kalee Paw Workers Service Record,” retained in the file of Employing Organization, Myanmar Union Mission archives.

  3. Ibid.

  4. Paw, 59.

  5. “Kalee Paw Workers Service Record.”

  6. Burma Union Committee Minutes, Action No. 49 – 2901, 1949, Myanmar Union Mission archives.

  7. “Kalee Paw Workers Service Record.”

  8. Far Eastern Division Committee Minutes, Action No. 73-1869, 1966, Myanmar Union Mission archives.

  9. “Kalee Paw Workers Service Record.”

  10. Caleb Paw, telephone interview by author.


Paul, Kalumu. "Kalee Paw (1910–2001)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Accessed May 24, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=1DYB.

Paul, Kalumu. "Kalee Paw (1910–2001)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Date of access May 24, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=1DYB.

Paul, Kalumu (2020, January 29). Kalee Paw (1910–2001). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved May 24, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=1DYB.