Paul’s exuberance for life is contagious. That’s because Paul wants to make every day as good as it can be—for himself and for everyone around him.
Raised on a family farm near Hazlehurst, Mississippi, Paul developed a strong work ethic growing up and then worked hard to get an education to launch a successful career.
In 1948, he took a job with Dun & Bradstreet, the US-based, worldwide credit-rating company. “Most of my business knowledge was on-thejob training in the areas of financial analysis, marketing, and management,” says Paul. “I was awarded the company’s presidential citation on two occasions.”
Since key people in the company were often transferred, Paul and his family moved many times during his 25-year tenure.
In 1973, though, Paul decided he did not want to move his wife and two sons again. “I just knew it was time for us to quit moving,” he says. “I’m a family person first and a business person second.” When he was offered a job by The Cardwell Companies (conveniently located in El Paso, Texas, where they were living), Paul left Dun & Bradstreet.
After several years with The Cardwell Companies, he became executive vice president of Petro Shopping Centers, a related company, which grew into a nationwide modern chain of truck stops. He also was vice president of several related companies having operational, marketing, and financial responsibilities.
After almost 25 years at Cardwell, Paul retired in 1997 and remained in El Paso with his wife Mary.
Paul laughs when he says, “I sort of wish I had never retired. I just love to work; I love people!” This love and concern for others was also evident during his 43 years as an active Rotarian.
Traveling the world
Paul and his wife did a lot of traveling after he retired. “We went to Europe 13 times, traveled all over the United States, went to Asia, New Zealand, Australia … you name it,” he says.
“Over the years, my wife and I met a lot of people on our travels. It’s comforting to still get emails from people you met 10 or 15 years ago,” Paul says, adding, “When I lost my wife, it was comforting to get over 100 sympathy cards from people we know. We’ve got a lot of friends.”
Today, Paul continues traveling. He recently went to the Eastern Caribbean for 10 days. In late summer, he’s going on an Alaskan cruise with family, and he’ll soon return to Mississippi for a visit.
Building a life at Touchmark
In 2012, Paul and Mary’s sons began encouraging them to move closer to one of them. That meant relocating to either Ruidoso, New Mexico, or Edmond, Oklahoma (about five minutes from Touchmark).
“Our son in Edmond did a lot of research and talked to many people, and everyone recommended Touchmark,” Paul remembers. After a few conversations with Touchmark, he and his wife made a trip to Edmond and signed an agreement to build a cottage.
“We got to choose a floor plan and customize it with the options we wanted,” explains Paul. They lived in one of the Touchmark apartments while their home was being built, so they were able to walk to the site and see the progress almost daily.
They moved into their new home in February 2013. Ten months later, Paul’s wife passed away unexpectedly.
“We were married 65 years,” says Paul. “I miss her every day, but life goes on.” Today, Paul honors his wife’s memory by continuing to plant the flowers that she loved so much.
“Every day is a good day”
Each morning when Paul gets up, he sends a text to his son in New Mexico that reads, “I’m vertical today.” Paul laughs hard. “That way, he knows I’m fine.”
Paul says he is in excellent health and “still able to do anything I want to do.”
His preferred form of exercise is taking daily walks outside, but he also uses the treadmill at Touchmark. “I walk real fast, and I walk for a long time,” he says. “I just enjoy being outside.”
He also gets exercise by planting flowers in his yard. “My wife loved flowers. Last fall I put out 250 pansies and a lot of vinca.”
Paul stays very busy with activities that combine his love of people with his business background. He is on the Touchmark Resident Council, representing cottage residents. He is also very active in his church, currently serving as the Finance Chair and a member of the Building Committee.
He belongs to a Touchmark singing group and enjoys the fellowship he finds here. “We look out for each other; it’s a supportive group of people here.” He prides himself on getting to know everyone, including the Touchmark staff, who he finds exceptionally helpful.
“Even though I like to plant flowers all of the time, I don’t like to pull weeds. So, they are always coming over and weeding my flowerbeds. And they trim my trees, mow my yard, and come in once a week and clean my house. My needs are all taken care of here,” he says, smiling.
“I want to make every day as good as it can be,” says Paul. “That’s what I live for: To live life to the fullest.”