He was a son of iron and steel wholesaler Ole Paus and Birgitte Halvordine Schou (a first cousin of industrialist Halvor Schou), and grew up at Bygdøy in Oslo. He graduated from the Norwegian Military Academy in 1902, becoming a second lieutenant, and was promoted to first lieutenant in 1909. He served as a secretary and at the Swedish-Norwegian and subsequently at the Norwegian Consulate-General in Vienna 1902–1910, and as Norwegian honorary Vice Consul, Consul and Consul-General between 1910 and 1918. He also served as an honorary Danish and Swedish Consul during the same period. From 1906 to 1918, he operated his own business as an agent in Vienna, representing Norwegian companies such as Norsk Hydro in Austria-Hungary. After returning to Norway, he continued the business as Thorleif Paus A/S in Oslo, and became owner of two factories in Ålesund. In 1936, he became owner of Kvesarum Castle in Scania, Sweden, where he lived for many years. He also inherited Magleås outside Copenhagen from his relative Christopher Tostrup Paus in 1943, but sold the property to the Catholic Church in Denmark a few years later.
In his first marriage, he was married to Ella Stein (born 20 October 1883 in Vienna, died 3 November 1971), who belonged to a bourgeois Jewish family from Vienna. In his second marriage, he was married to the former countess Ella Moltke, née Glückstadt (born 1899 in Copenhagen), a daughter of the prominent Danish Jewish businessman Valdemar Glückstadt and widow of count Erik Moltke of Nør. In his first marriage, he was the father of Helvig Paus (born 1909 in Vienna) and Major-General Ole Otto Paus (born 1910 in Vienna). In his second marriage, he had a stepson, count Erik Moltke. He was the grandfather of the troubadour Ole Paus and the great-grandfather of the composer Marcus Paus.
He was the brother of businessman Christopher Blom Paus (1878–1959) and the brother-in-law of the historian of nobility Otto von Munthe af Morgenstierne, the businessman Trygve Andvord and the businessman (and distant relative) Nicolay Nissen Paus.
- ↑ "Paus, Thorleif," in Vem är Vem? : Skåne, 1948 p. 440
- ↑ Alf Petersen, "Paus, Thorleif," in Den norske hærs vernepliktige officerer : 1864–1933, Hanche, 1936, p. 447
- ↑ E.g. Verordnungsblatt des K. K. Justizministeriums, vol. 24, 1908, p. 8 and p. 12, and vol. 33, 1917 p. 46 and 47, K. K. Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, and High-Life-Almanach: Adressbuch der Gesellschaft Wiens und der österreichischen Kronländer, vol. 9 p. 253, 1913
- ↑ E.g. Mitteilungen der Kaiserlich-Königlichen Geographischen Gesellschaft, vol. 52 p. 615, 1909, and vol. 59, 1916, p. 310
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