THE “ESSENTIAL” PAUL

Paul lived his life with an enthusiasm and gusto that was admired by everyone — those who had known him for years, and those who had only just had met him.  He loved adventure, moving fast and feeling the wind in his hair.  His love of freedom was expressed in the name he gave his 1973 MGB: “S’esprit”  (his version of “the spirit of freedom”) and in his collection of vehicles – the convertibles, the motorcyle, the sail boats.

It is hard to contain such a free spirit in words but here’s my best shot.  Please feel free to add your own comments below.

Building America –When asked what he did for a living, Paul would reply “I build America.”  He loved construction.  He loved driving through the Santa Clara valley and pointing out the buildings he had worked on.  Paul served as Job Steward on several projects.  He gave back to his union by volunteering to walk the picket line, serving as Liason for the local’s Community Services Committee (where his proudest achievement was creation of a $500 scholarship program to SJSU), the local’s annual float in the County Fair Parade and San Jose City’s Christmas Parade, building the train set to teach programmable controllers to apprentices and serving on the local’s Political Action Committee (over 20 years on the commitee, he was the PAC Chair for 12 years from 1992 through his retirement in 2004).

Politics – Paul believed all citizens should vote and be politically active and aware.  Paul’s biggest political moment was being called “in house” in 1998 to work on defeating Prop 226.  Over several months Paul visited every major construction job site in the Santa Clara valley to say “vote no on 226.”  Annually, for over 10 years, Paul traveled to Sacramento to meet with the politicians and spread the Union word.  He participated in the 2001 California State Democratic Convention and devoted countless hours working on political campaigns personally and rounding up fellow volunteers to join him.

Giving Back – Paul’s mantra was “giving back to his community.”  In addition to his political action work, Paul volunteered time on many other community projects.  Some of these included: working the phones for the annual KQED Pledge Drive, putting up Christmas lights at the senior living facility “Liberty Towers” in Santa Clara, Christmas in April, San Jose’s annual “Fishing Day Derby”, wiring a new facility for Creativity Unlimited, the USPS Cooperative Charting Program.

Sailing – Paul started sailing in 1976 when he joined the Community Boating organization in Boston.  He learned to sail and race Lasers and Larks.  He qualified as a Racing Skipper and Advanced Helmsman.  After successfully attaining every available certificate and designation, he “gave back” by becoming a teacher himself.  When Paul decided to retire and go cruising he joined the United States Power Squadron to take courses to prepare for his new adventure (piloting, navigation, weather).  To give back, he became active in the organization, volunteering his time as the Squadron Education Officer.  In appreciation of his efforts Paul was named “New Member of the Year” for the year 2003.

Rock Climbing –He first learned to rock climb in the 70′s in Massachusetts and he looked for rocks to climb wherever he traveled.  His favorite place to climb was Yosemite National Park (Royal Arches in particular). Weather permitting, he spent at least one weekend every month climbing and shared his passion with  anyone and everyone he could convince to join him  — including “little brother” Jon, and his Orthopedic Surgeon.

Flying –Paul’s third and forth passions were flying and aviation.  He could not pass up an aviation museum.  He attended the annual Reno Air Races for over two decades.  He became a private pilot himself in the 1980′s.  He loved gathering friends and flying them from San Jose to other airports in California, enjoying a lunch out and then returning them to San Jose.  When he visited a new area, Paul would rent a plane for an aerial tour before further land exploration.

Other Passions:  Paul loved country western and classical music.  He went “honky tonk” dancing on Friday nights, to the ballet on Saturday night, being a season ticket holder of the San Francisco Ballet for several decades.  His favorite Christmas activity was the annual Messiah Sing at Stanford University.  He was teaching himself to play the native-American Indian flute and the Hawaiian Slack Key guitar.

Comments

December 28, 2009, 2:34 pm

Brother Paul will be missed by all who’s life he touched. I speak from first hand experience. Paul helped me believe one person, laboring with another, and another can do anything. He is the essence of the Labor movement, he learned, did, and taught. His influence lives on with us. I aspire to do as he did, inspire all, learn lots, and teach some. He will always have a place in my heart and thoughts. His work with the Political Action Committee of IBEW Local 332 was unparalleled. I will never forget going to Seattle with him to march in the World Trade Organization protests in 1999.

/ David Baer

December 29, 2009, 6:47 pm

Paul, you will always be a treasured part of our Family. It was an honor and a privilege to know you.

/ Chuck and Drinda

December 31, 2009, 1:19 pm

Thank you Paul for many years of friendship, mentoring, and love. You have been such an amazing role model in our family and we will never forget you. You will always be in our hearts!!!

With love,

Jenn

/ Jenn Litle

January 1, 2010, 12:11 pm

Our Dearest Brother Paul,

YES, “you build America”. Your contribution were truly appreicated.

YOU will ALWAYS be remembered.

With Love,

Kansen and Daisy

/ Kansen and Daisy Chu

January 1, 2010, 3:58 pm

Paul you always had great positive energy and that’s the stuff that really works to band a community together. I tip my hat to you brother!

Mark C. Cosentino

/ mark cosentino

January 1, 2010, 4:47 pm

Pablo, as you preferred to be called, unfortunately we only had a chance to know you for a very brief time while you were outfitting your boat in preparation for chasing your dream of sailing to Boston. You are truly missed. During your brief visits to Florida, we always looked forward to each visit and enjoyed your companionship, great stories, warmth and enthusiasm. May you always have fair weather on your journey. You are missed.

/ BOB AND SHARLET FILLINGHAM

January 3, 2010, 11:25 am