April 28, 1952- November 30, 2020
I’ve heard it said, “Not all who wander are lost.” Paul certainly did wander and though he is lost to us, he’s a man who himself was never lost. Always the life of the party, with perhaps a few too many parties, Paul lived every day like it was his last. Fond of phrases like, “It’s later than you think,” Paul embraced life and the ones he loved. The recipients of those embraces know he hugged with surprising bear-like strength for such a non-bear sized man. This was his death-grip on life message to all of us to take heed of what is important, to hold onto to our loved ones and create lasting memories. Of those lasting memories the cup overruns.
Paul has spilled more from the cup of life than most will ever drink. Escaping the overthrow of an American embassy, surfing rogues’ waves on a boat with grandpa Charlie, randomly turning up running the Red Cross Puerto-Rico Hurricane Maria disaster relief, and so many more memories that are personal to each of us. There are great memories of scuba diving the barrier reef, taking a dip in a watering hole where a crocodile had eaten someone the week before, Burning Man, dog-sitting our baby-girl Chica and how much she loved and missed him, fantastic meals and long talks – and yes, the meals were always fantastic, even if the onions were microwaved. The most important memory is the way Paul demonstrated how beautiful life can be when it’s faced head on with the ones we love. This lesson is a gift that has enriched our lives beyond measure.
Paul was fond of quoting the philosopher Anais Nin, “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” In courage, Paul was not lacking. The little boy from Camas Valley travelled the world – from the Pyramids to Paris, to realizing just now how it might be easier to list the places he has Not gone. … Antarctica (and this may need fact-checking). He always had stories of his travels, a favorite is the Mongolian beer which, if one could imagine the smell of sour yogurt fermented with yak urine - was worse.
Of course, we all have our favorite memory, our favorite nugget of wisdom (drink the good bottle of wine first). Paul’s life compels us family and loved ones gather and share the life and memories of the man that lived every day of his sixty-some-odd years like it was his last. He would want it that way. We love you Paul, Uncle, Brother, best friend, life partner.
Survivors include Paul’s love of his life for 14 years, Michael Hephner, and Mikes siblings, Kathy Belmonte, Sharon Knight, Tim Hephner and Karen Wheeler. They all knew and loved Paul. Other survivors are Paul’s siblings, Michael C. Cress, Mary Ellen White, Charles R. Cress (Linda), John Chester Cress (Roberta) and Rachel Cress. Paul also leaves his nieces and nephews, Clifford M. Kroll, Philip R. Kroll (Ruby), Jennifer Cress, Paul M. Cress (Dawn), Bernadette Fox, Bridget Fox, John C. Cress (Maria); grandnieces and grandnephews: Alyssa, Joseph, Ben, Zander, Eseme, Noah, Emma, and Charlotte.
Paul was preceded in death by his parents, Charles M. Cress and Geraldine V. Cress, and two brothers, Gerrard F. Cress and Joseph B. Cress.