Paul E. DeMuth is the founder of Lanna International School Thailand.

Paul E. DeMuth

Paul E. DeMuth was born on May 10, 1950 in Deming, New Mexico. He was born the younger of two siblings to Leonard and Irene DeMuth. At the age of two Paul was diagnosed with what was a common disease at that time – polio. His father was also diagnosed with polio at the same time, but unfortunately did not survive.

Although this disease caused paralysis to the lower extremities, requiring a dozen surgical operations throughout his childhood and leaving him permanently wheelchair bound, Paul was determined to succeed in life. He graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1973. After graduation Paul traveled to Thailand many times, and here he met his wife Surin. He returned to Minnesota with his wife, where he taught Thai at The University of Minnesota, briefly, but made lifetime connections within the Thai community.

Still determined to surpass everyone’s expectation of a person in a wheelchair Paul, in 1981, opened one of the first Thai restaurants in downtown Minneapolis. Not long after opening, the restaurant received rave reviews from local media and customers. After doing so well, Paul and Surin then acquired yet another restaurant. But after three children and many long hours, Paul and Surin decided to sell both businesses and returned to Thailand in 1989.

Paul’s ambition continued in Thailand, where he worked part-time exporting to the United States, but devoted himself fully to spending time with his family. A dedicated father, Paul wanted his children to experience the Thai culture and people which he had grown to love. This love for Thailand and his family inspired the opening of Lanna International School in 1993. After many years of hiring teachers to home-school his oldest child, along with a few other students, Paul felt the need to provide this type of quality education for his two youngest children and other families in the Chiang Mai community. Lanna International School was born.

Just a few months after the opening of Lanna International School, in 1993, Paul became ill and passed away while fundraising for the school in the United States. He passed away leaving his wife Surin and his three children; Georgene, Sean and Nick to continue on with his legacy. Since Paul saw no challenge to be too big, and no dream beyond arm’s reach, his wife and children chose to continue with Lanna International School in memory of Paul’s spirit and lust for life.