Born and raised in Springfield, Missouri, Paul attended Central High School and caddied at the local golf course on the weekends. After graduation, at age 17, he enlisted in the Navy and served as an aviation mechanic, completing his service with an honorable discharge. He attended Southwest Missouri State College (now Missouri State University) where he was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity. He graduated in 1958 with a degree in Education and married Rhea Mathis in that same year. They moved to Republic, Missouri, where Paul taught mathematics at the local high school. Their daughter, Melissa Jo was born in 1962.
Paul had a long career in Public Service. He was an Instructor and Collection Agent with the Internal Revenue Service in Kansas City for eleven years and then began working in disaster assistance with the Office of Emergency Preparedness, which later became the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). He served as the Public Assistance Branch Chief for Disaster Assistance Programs in the Kansas City Regional Office. One of his last projects, which gained national recognition, was a Mission Assignment to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a Super Fund Site Manager for the acquisition and relocation of the town of Times Beach, Missouri, which had been contaminated by dioxin.
Paul retired from FEMA in 1989 but returned to assist during the Loma Prieta Earthquake recovery. During that assignment, he met and later married Susan Robinson. They moved to Foresthill in 1991 and have loved the small foothill community and the wonderful friends and neighbors they have met in their 29 years there.
Paul was an avid golfer and past member of the Black Oak Men’s Golf Club. He was President of the Foresthill Lions Club at the time of its 50th anniversary. He also belonged to the Gold Panners RV Club of Sacramento for 18 years.
Paul was preceded in death by his parents Riley and Tressie Ward, his sisters Rilene and Belva, and an infant brother Billy Joe. He is survived by his wife Susan, daughter Melissa Jo of Eden, Utah, stepdaughter Katie Rider and her husband Bryan of Placerville, stepson Jeff Robinson and his wife April of Santa Rosa, nephews Randy, Kenny, Doug, Keith, and Jeff Black and their families, living in Missouri and Arkansas, and five dearly loved grandchildren, Andrew and Emily Rider and Shelby, Stephanie, and Trevor Robinson.
We wish to express our sincerest appreciation to Sutter Auburn Faith Hospice and Visiting Nurses Association for the kindness and loving care they have given Paul and the family throughout his illness.
A family graveside service will be held at the St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Foresthill.