Paul has been in my heart for decades. we met when we both worked at GW and learned quickly to trust, enjoy and constantly build our relationship. Essentially, Paul and I grew up together at GW. Even though the pain of his loss will always be with me as well as those who have known him, I am ready to share my joy for knowing Paul. Paul has always been larger than life. He was a big man physically but he was so very insightful about being human. He was kind and even in his kindness he had an impish pleasure of teasing in a perfectly serious way.
We traveled together to visit the military programs that Paul managed for GW. When we would go to San Diego or San Antonio our military students would immediately bond with him. He was just that way. Once in San Diego Paul came to pick me up at the airport and there was a lot of construction. We kept circling the parking lot because we could not figure out where the exit was. Each time we circled we would have to pull over because we laughed so hard thinking surely we could figure this out. On this trip Paul was clear that wanted to start an end of life program. He then moved from an administrative position to a faculty position.
His experience in Viet Nam and as a grief counselor led his to developing and starting the program. His students loved him and he stayed in touch with many of them. He also taught the psychosocial aspects of health and aging and challenged undergraduate students to look into themselves and find their passion and strength. Many of his students credited him with helping them decide to go into a health care profession or not. He was the one of the most talented teacher I have known.
Paul was always available to faculty, staff and students. His office was like the Yellow Hootch, a place of safety where people could freely talk and know that what was said was always said in confidence. He kept M&Ms in his desk drawer and if someone was particularly down, he would always offer the M&Ms as comfort in addition to his kind heart. He was the key to having onsite help when any of us had challenges we needed to talk about. I sat in his office many, many times.
After we both left GW we would meet at the Parkway deli for hours of talk along with dinner. We always talked about our continued dreams and plans for the future. He spent time with my husband and myself at Lake Anna and we spent holidays together over the many years we have known each other. I have posted my favorite recent picture of Paul at the lake. We had spent Easter Sunday together at our house talking for hours with other friends on our deck. He brought wonderful banana nut bread that Paula Harper's daughter Ashley made. The tragedy of his loss came a few days later. As the song goes, when he left dinner that night, I always thought I would see him again.