Daniel Paul Appenfelder was born June 16, 1957 in Cincinnati, Ohio to Daniel Paul Appenfelder Sr. and Judith Ann Appenfelder (born Church). He grew up in Mt. Healthy, Ohio with his two sisters, Peggy and Becky, and brother, Bruce.
Paul moved to Los Angeles, California around 1976.
He graduated from UCLA with an engineering degree June 19, 1981. He started full time at Hughes Aircraft, now Boeing, after graduation and worked there for nearly thirty years. He met Shirley Miyamoto in Los Angeles and married her May 11, 1983. Their first child, Matthew Craig, was born April 28, 1987. Bethany Marie came along next, born November 13, 1989.
Through the years, Paul enjoyed golf, tennis, softball and even ran a marathon in 2008. But his main interest in life focused on his family and his kids' activities.
He will be truly missed.
TRIBUTE BY XIA QIU, good friend and colleague
Shirley asked me to say a few words about Paul as a good friend. It is an honor I accepted with great sadness. Just less than 10 months ago, I would never have thought that I would be speaking at anyone's memorial service, let alone Paul's. It would seem so inconceivable. Paul was full of energy and life, healthy, running marathons, full of interests in participating in every aspect of life. We all expected a long life for him, yet today he is no longer with us, and we are gathering here to remember and pay our respects to him.
I first heard of Paul over seven years ago when I worked on Spaceway. I was in a meeting when I overheard people talking, "we need Paul Appenfelder to work on this. When you ask Paul, make sure you are well prepared because he doesn't like stupid questions". So I asked, "who is this Appenfelder guy". I was told that he was the chief engineer and a workaholic, he was seen as the key to the successful completion of the program. I thought, probably a difficult guy. Soon after that, when I was in the lab, a bunch of people came in. In the middle of the crowd was a tall stern looking guy. It seemed that everyone was trying to explain something to him, about the lab, the tests, the problems. I wondered, "who is that guy?" "Paul Appenfelder" I was told. Well, it fit what I imagined about him, a difficult guy. That was all what I knew about him until 5 years later when I joined on TSAT.
When I worked on TSAT, I spent a lot of time in the lab and noticed Paul was there all the time. For the first six months, I hardly talked to him. Sometimes when I had questions, people would say, "go ask Paul, he can help you on that". I thought, "ask Paul, no way". I had a lot of stupid questions and did not want to get shut down. Jason used to tell me, "go ask Paul, he won't shut you down". But his big eyed serious look and his usual first words of answering the question with "what?" were enough to scare me away. Many months later, I told Paul what I thought of him back then, he thought it was very funny. He admitted that he was not an all smiling guy, but he did not think he was that bad. As I came to know him, I realized that my old impressions about him were wrong. True, Paul was a very private person, not easily showing his emotions. But he loved to be quizzed or asked about any questions. He loved to help and be viewed as helpful by anyone. Once you asked for his help, he would feel responsible for helping you. I remember a story he told me that happened in his 20s. He passed by a bar one day and saw a guy holding a knife onto another man. He felt he had to help the man. But he did not have any weapon. With bare hands, his tall figure and his intimidating look (in his own words, so he did know his look could be intimidating), he forced the guy with the knife away. He said, during the whole time, he actually was very scared because he could easily become the victim. But he could not turn away anyone who needed his help. I believe he carried the same ethics at work.
Other than his stern look, Paul was actually a very warm and funny person. He was a very smart guy. Given the hardships he went through during his growing up, he achieved a lot in his life. I consider him a role model for kids growing up in poor neighborhoods and in poor families in America. But he never lost his touch with the "working class". He was a chief engineer (a "chief"), but he was also an "Indian". He worked with us in the trenches and was always in tune with the issues we had. When he felt that he could not understand the problems we were complaining about, he would sit in our group meetings and humbled himself in order to understand the problems. I always viewed him as a bridge, a bridge between the "working class" and "upper class", a crucial communication channel for us. His death is great loss to us. My friends and I miss him dearly.
Whenever I think about Paul's passing, I am overwhelmed by surreal feelings. I remembered the things we discussed, argued, got upset, laughed and enjoyed about. I remembered the pictures he showed us of his kids and family, the videos on his computer about Matt's football games, Bethany's basketball games and her prom pictures. He was so fond of and proud of his children. It all seems just like yesterday. I remember his turning 50 two years ago and his comments on that. He said "I know I am fifty, but I feel like thirty", to which we replied "hey, it is not that far off, maybe you live in the hex world and you are just 32" (engineers often use base 16, i.e. hex, instead of 10, so 50 is written as 32 in hex) His curiosities towards new things never died down with age. It is a wonderful quality that made him not only interesting, but also fun to be with. He died young, too young. When people die young, they remain young forever. In our minds, Paul will remain forever young and inspiring. His memories and spirits will be with us for as long as we live.
Paul, I know you now live in a world without sufferings and without overtime. May you rest in peace and in love.
TRIBUTE BY STEVE LINDSEY, Paul's manager at Boeing
I had the privilege of being Paul's manager at work the past several years and knew Paul for most of his career.
Paul was hired by the Hughes Space and Communications company on November 12th, 1980.
Exactly 29 years ago on the day he passed away.
Paul was a senior leader in subsystems integration and test for Hughes and Boeing on the most groundbreaking programs that shaped our advanced digital communications satellite business. Paul's career involved being able to take our most complex and innovative digital satellite technologies and designs and figure out just what would be needed to test and integrate them into working systems. His work helped launch modern satellite-based mobile phone and broadband flexible packet data communications as well as several other technological firsts in our industry. An example that stands out to me was the several years he spent with the Spaceway digital processor subsystem (the world's most complicated and flexible broadband piece of commercial electronics ever built). Paul nurtured that unit and it's payload through incredible growing pains and successes till we all saw that system launched and put into operation. This was huge for Paul.
Here's an all too short list of what we as his friends and colleagues at work will miss –
• We'll miss a top engineer that built our reputation in the satellite business.
• We'll miss having Paul as a model of what we're trying to get so many of our youngest and brightest engineers to become some day.
• We'll miss Paul's undying commitment and perseverance to work long and hard programs from start to completion.
• We'll miss seeing him work complex concepts down to detailed trouble-shooting of software or hardware – he was a rare and vertically integrated talent.
• We'll miss knowing you could find easily find Paul if you just headed to the lab where he enjoyed most of his career.
• We'll miss Paul's tireless work ethic and relentless pragmatism often drove us to success and often kept the rest of us grounded in the reality of what can be done and how to get it done.
• We'll miss his love of athletics – from aggressive after work sports activities to his stories of long distance running to his flying up and down flights of stairs in building S10 with a full cup of hot coffee – I still can't figure out how he did that!
• We'll miss poker nights with his buddies (I'm told they haven't met since Paul left work).
• We'll miss the leader who took on hard jobs on programs like TSAT later in his career while at the same time showing a growing concern for the care and treatment of the people around him at work.
And then there's what I'll personally miss the most –
• I'll miss a good friend.
• I'll miss an employee who always taught me more than I taught him and took the time to coach and help us all when we needed him.
• I'll miss a man who showed me these past several months that it's possible to face with dignity one of life's worst turn of events while in the prime years of life. I was privileged to watch Paul transform these months into a fuller life for himself and his family than most of us experience in a lifetime:
o Paul aggressively fought his disease with courage, strength, humor and optimism.
o He showed humility and gratitude for all the help he received when things were hardest.
o Paul drew close to his family when they needed each other.
o He cultivated a deep sense of kindness towards others while it was he that bore the biggest cross
o Paul took care to provide for his family's future.
o He turned to God when he realized we just don't have all the answers or help we need on our own.
o And in the end Paul found and leaves behind a legacy of peace, forgiveness and hope for his family and friends.
We've all been richly blessed to have known Paul and will miss him greatly.
TRIBUTE BY DAN APPENFELDER, father
I want to talk about my son Paul as a person and why I'm proud of him. It's not about how much money he made or what position he had at his company, but about his character, his core being.
You can tell who a person is by the people he surrounds himself with, by those who are their friends, and by how they live their lives.
Look at Paul. When he was younger I coached his baseball team for one year. He was a good player. I was not a good coach, but when you have a player like Paul, there's always a chance. That year we lost all but one game. That's the game I want to tell you about. On the team I only had two pitchers. Paul was one of them but he was also my shortstop. He was a good pitcher in the sense of having a curve ball, etc., but he could throw hard and straight. He hardly ever walked anyone, and that's important in Little League. In that game, I started Paul as pitcher and my other pitcher at shortstop. By the last inning we were ahead by one run, but Paul was starting to get tired. He got two out but then he walked two batters and I had to take him out. I put him at shortstop and brought my other pitcher in. He walked the first batter. Two outs and the bases loaded. The next pitch was a hard hit rope, if it had gotten into the outfield it would have been two runs and we lose another game. But there, at shortstop was Paul. He sticks up his glove, catches the ball, game over – we win! That was Paul, he never gave up, he never quit, he handled the tough situations. That was a model for how he lived his life.
He had tough teen-age years but he never gave up and made something of himself. He wanted to go to med school but he told me he was afraid his grades weren't good enough, so he got his engineering degree. The results of that you heard about from Xia and Steve.
I missed the middle part of his life, the teenage years and his twenties. But somehow during that time he managed to entice Shirley to marry him. That was a good sign. They have two terrific children - Matthew and Bethany – and they're the best. He has friends like Xia and Steve that I know of, and I'm sure others as well as I look out at all the people here.
Paul loved his kids and they loved him. I have never been more proud of grandchildren than I am of Bethany and Matt. That's due to Paul and Shirley and reflects the kind of parents and people they are. Toward the end, even as the pain became worse, Paul wanted to make sure his family was taken care of.
I was fortunate to be able to spend time with Paul twice in the past nine months and saw more than ever who he really was. And then, when he made a decision for Christ, he became a whole person, and was healed, at least spiritually.
Was Paul perfect? No he wasn't. He made mistakes like you and I have. Yet he was able to overcome his imperfections to be the person he was. There is a great comfort in that – a hope for you and all of us. The hope and realization that although we're not perfect we can be a blessing as Paul was, to those around us.
Was he a great man? Maybe not by the world's standards, but by mine, his brother and sisters, by Shirley's and Matt's and Bethany's, he was.
I lost a son, but I gained a true daughter as Shirley stood by him during his time of distress. I miss him but I know I'll see him again. He's with his grandparents now and I know they're as proud of him as I am. In this place we are today I know there are a lot of "famous" people buried, but for me, there's no one here that is more famous for the kind of person they were, than my son Paul.
Shirley, a friend of mine told me the following just before I left for Los Angeles. He told me he had been praying for me and you and the Lord gave him this: "No matter how often we turn our backs on God or how many times we deny He exists, He never gives up on us and never stops loving us."
And this verse came to my mind about Paul (II Tim. 4:7): "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but to all who have longed for His appearance."
TRIBUTE BY PEG GRANT, sister
I had the privilege and the joy of becoming best friends with my brother this past year. And instead of asking "why not before this past year?" I'd like to believe that this year is a special gift. One of the most special gifts I've ever had. We laughed a lot together. Paul's a tease, a big tease. He has a dry sense of humor like his dad and his brother. Whenever the three of them get together, you can't stop laughing.
The puppy story is a special part of our time this year: One day I gave him this card as I was leaving the hospital (I'd been was staying with him in the hospital) and he said "why are you leaving me a card?" It's just a big German Shepherd with his paw on this little bitty fluffy puppy and inside it says "buddies for life." And I said "don't ever forget I"M the big sister. I'M the Big Dawg." And it touched some funny bone in him. Almost every time we talked after that, we had another joke about this card. I would tell people coming in to his room "I'm the Big Dawg no matter what he says." I remember one time he texted me and said "get your paw off of me". One time I said "I'm coming down to the hospital: Big Dawg on the way" and he laughed. Another time he was having trouble with his food and he told Shirley "I'm just chokin' on some puppy chow". It was just a joy. We laughed more about this card and our little dog jokes. These stuffed dogs: I had left after being with Paul and Shirley for a few weeks. As I was leaving, I wasn't sure I'd get to see him again. When I got home, I sent this stuffed animal back- it's a big dog holding a little dog. I said "just remember who the Big Dawg is." But I wanted him to know I'm just holding onto him and watching over him still even while I was gone. And Shirley and Bethany set the puppies down where he could see that his big sister was watching over him.
Paul was born a year after me on Father's Day- we were both born on Father's Day. Then my Uncle Allen was born right in between us so there were three of us. When we'd go out, people often thought we were triplets. Then Bruce came about 18 months after Paul. Then Becky came along seven years later. Paul was very protective of her – but still a big tease. I heard stories of torture but I don't think they're true. The three boys would get into trouble all the time. I heard a whole lot of stories these last few months that would curl your hair. I wasn't in on them cuz I was "just a girl." I was the "good one" I guess. It was really fun to hear Paul and Bruce talk and all of us remembering stories of growing up. I remember they were always playing jokes on me. Here are some childhood memories – you might notice a theme of food here- it was a big part of our lives:
· Catching fireflies in the backyard
· Because our birthdays were one day apart we always celebrated them together but we always had our own special cake
· Playing in the backyard on that big playset that dad built
· Lots of games, darts and croquet
· Listening to Bill Cosby records
· Climbing on the roof to watch Fourth of July fireworks
· Paul was so smart I was always mad because he always got a couple more points than I did on the tests – I hated it. The three of us were very very competitive for grades.
· We'd go to the baseball park every Saturday to watch ball games
· YMCA camp every summer
· Spending lots of time at both of the grandparents' homes
· Bowling alley every Friday night with Dad
· Food - family reunion picnics, big Sunday dinner at Grandma's after church every Sunday, fresh food out of Grandpa's garden
· Snack time every night- it almost always involved ice cream
· Christmas cookies, big Thanksgiving dinners, lots of holidays
· Drive-in movies, big bags of candy, getting to climb up on top of the car to watch the movie
These are some of the things I remember- we had a lot of fun. When we grew up, we separated and ended up living in different cities. We kept in touch a little bit here and there. I remember Paul made it back for my wedding. All these were special things, as family was so important.
This past year was a priceless time. I got to know Paul. They welcomed me into their family and their home. What a devoted dad he was to Matt and Bethany. I loved seeing Paul spending time and laughing with Matt and Bethany. It was also special being part of the recommitment service with Paul and Shirley reconfirming their love after 30 years. I got to be a part of that, and that was extremely special.
Although there are a lot of new memories, it's been interesting to compare them to the old memories. For instance, we grew up playing games since we were so close in age, like Monopoly and Life. While I spent time with Paul, Shirley, Matt and Bethany, we played dominoes. As bad as he felt, as much medication as he was on, he wanted to spend time with his family. He'd pull out the domino set and at least three times the last couple of weeks, the whole family played dominoes. He wanted to be there with everyone, telling jokes, stories. Kitties and dogs growing up and Big Dawg and our little puppy this past year. Sleeping at Grandma Appenfelder's on the floor as kids and sleeping over at the hospital with Paul this year. Late night snacks at bedtime growing up and cooking special foods to try to get Paul to eat. I have a background as a dietician, so I was able to get some food in him. Growing up, Paul fixed me a sandwich one time with jalapeno peppers in it. I was so mad, I would never take food from him again. I should have known, I mean, why is he bringing me a sandwich? I learned after that.
One of the biggest privileges this year was to be able to lead Paul to the Lord. To be the one to do that- it was precious. In the hospital, Paul and Shirley and I were making a to-do list, because as you know if you work with him, he's very task oriented and organized. He put on there "Spiritual Issues." He was joking around, and he said "I just want the express version, whatever it takes to get into heaven." But when the time came, he really opened his heart. It was a blessing, it was a real peace for him. He said he felt so much peace, and I saw such a change in him. He softened, he became very people-oriented. Even with the increasing pain, he was thinking about everybody else and ensuring that everyone would be taken care of.
So my theme today is "Thank You." Priorities: God first and then family. It's important to take time for what's important. Thank you God for the job I have that I was able to take that time to spend with Paul this year. I would just encourage all of you if you have a few minutes, do what you need to do to take that time with family because you never know how much time you have. And I was able do that this last year.
This year, Shirley taught me about grace. "Grace". Grace- it's a gift. It's peace, comfort, and strength.
I just want to tell my little puppy goodbye. And I look forward to seeing him again in heaven.
TRIBUTE BY JILL MIYAMOTO, niece
My family and I have had the privilege of living right around the block from my Auntie Shirley and Uncle Paul, so we got to see them very often as we spent many holidays together, went camping every summer, or helped each other out when one of us needed anything. Since I was a little kid, I remember how much I looked forward to spending time with them and how great they were with all of us nieces and nephews.
I want to share a letter I wrote to Uncle Paul before he passed away.
Dear Uncle Paul,
I wanted to write you a letter to express some of my thoughts and let you know what a special uncle you are to me. I have so many great memories and am so grateful; I want to thank you for all these special times and great experiences.
First of all, thank you for being a human jungle gym. One of my earliest memories is of you holding my hands and me using my feet to climb your entire body and then you flipping me over. This must have put a strain on your back because I know I made you do it over and over and over again. I hope I didn't cause any long term back issues.
Thank you for letting Joy, Jahnava, and me come over every day during the summer when we were little kids. You and Aunty Shirley were the cool aunt and uncle so we wanted to spend all of our time at your house doing different activities as we were entertained for hours and hours. I'm sorry you didn't get much alone time with Aunty Shirley when you came home from work; this must have annoyed you after many days especially since you two were probably newlyweds during this time.
I also remember one time when the three of us were washing your car and Jahnava wouldn't let me use the hose and you made her give me a turn. Thanks for sticking up for me when I was too shy to stand up for myself.
Thank you for thinking of me as a mature kid. I remember you and Aunty Shirley taking me to see the movie, 'Aliens' when I was about 8 years old. Even though I was scared out of my mind and had to cover my eyes for the entire movie; I remember how cool I felt that you thought I was old enough to see an adult movie.
Thank you for making me aware of what affection and love looks like. I remember how you and Aunty Shirley would hold hands or give a loving touch to the leg in the car when we would drive up north to visit the Rasmussens. I also thought you two were so cute when Aunty Shirley would sit on your lap during family gatherings. It seemed as if you two were the only couple that openly expressed love and affection towards one another.
Also, it was always so nice to see a father give affection to his children. Many fathers don't give enough hugs and kisses, but you definitely show how much you care for Matt and Bethany.
Thank you for having a similar sense of humor as Dean. You made him feel much more comfortable at family gatherings and he looked forward to seeing you as he would often say, "Is Uncle Paul going?"
I think what I'm most thankful for, is being able to talk to you about anything. You are such a great listener, I have always felt comfortable being open with you. At the same time, I have always felt that you give great advice since you are so knowledgeable about everything. Thanks for being so supportive. Bethany and Matt are fortunate to have you as a father, and you have done an awesome job raising them.
Love you Uncle Paul,
TRIBUTE BY AKI RASMUSSEN, sister-in-law
I was going to try to list all of the ways in which you were such a big part of our family, but in true Miyamoto and Appenfelder fashion, we have a bunch of photos in a slideshow in a few minutes, that tell it better than I ever could.
There are 3 photos that mean a lot to me.
One is of you with our daughters, Lisa and Kristin, who were about 4 at the time. You are hugging them on the sofa at our house, and all three of you are giggling like crazy. I love that one.
The second one is of you looking at Baby Bethany and Bethany looking back, adoringly.
And the last one is of you and Matt, a few years ago, grinning from ear to ear at each other, sharing some goofy moment, after a fun family eating fest at Bucca di Beppo's. Words cannot describe adequately what you see in these pictures.
These photos remind me of the incredible depth of the love you have always felt for Matt and Bethany, and your nieces and nephews.
There are more photos, but these, to me, represent the love that you brought to our family and the love I felt so especially strongly in your home in recent months.
Paul, you meant a lot to us. And I really believe that you are not really gone, as parts of you live on in all of us.
We love you, Paul.
We love you, Shirley, Matt and Bethany.
TRIBUTE BY KRISTIN HEMBREE, niece
His time here was brief, too brief for us all
A friend, dad, son - my Uncle Paul
At 52, so young and strong
His life should have gone on and on
Why did he get sick?
Why did he go?
None of us will ever know
Whenever we would come to town
Before I put my baggage down
I'd hope to see you Uncle Paul
To hear your dry, sarcastic drawl
I remember one visit I got the flu
Everyone left, so I stayed with you.
On the couch we watched the TV
Remote in your hand, you sat beside me
As I turned my head and puked again
"Good aim" you remarked, and it was then
I knew something that's no fun at all
Could be fun with Uncle Paul.
TRIBUTE BY MATT APPENFELDER, son
Hi. First off, I would like to thank everyone on behalf of my family for joining us today to remember my father and the great man that he was. Many of you have helped my mom and our family during these past months and for that I want to say thank you; we will always remember your kindness and generosity.
I feel, at least from my own experience, that as a son or daughter you sometimes forget that your parents have lives outside of being your parents, so it's nice to see some of the people here who my dad made a positive impact on.
There's no question my dad was a hard worker and worked his butt off, as hopefully his coworkers can attest to, but he always made sure to make time for Bethany and me - coming to our sports events, and spending good quality family time together. Surprisingly though, the sports memories I have of when I was a kid aren't of any championship games or personal accolades but of specific times when I knew I had made my dad proud.
I'll give you a flashback. When I was in second grade, I was playing AYSO soccer in the championship game against the dynamic McNamara duo here and I ended up scoring the winning goal…for the OTHER team. Now, I was obviously incredibly bummed and came crying off the field, thinking I totally let my dad down, but my dad hugged me and told me to keep my head up and that he was proud that I cared so much and didn't give up but kept on going. He threw me up on his shoulders and in a matter of seconds I felt as though I had won the game…but this time for the right team.
When I was a kid, our family would go on camping trips and other vacations every year and my dad and I would often spend some quality time together. My favorite and most vivid memory is when we all went to Lake Tahoe when I was 8. My dad and I wanted to go fishing so my dad woke me up at 5 am and he let me drink coffee for the first time, which made me feel like a grown-up; at that point I could care less about the fishing. The first day, we came back empty handed so the next day we woke up early again but this time hiked back in the woods for about an hour to a smaller, secluded lake. We fished for a few hours with not even a nibble. But we got to hang out together and talk about anything and everything an 8 year old thinks about.
I specifically remember my dad being surprised suddenly but he quickly put his pole down and acted like it was nothing. He told me to reel my line in and showed me where to cast it next…I did, and cast exactly where he told me to; a few minutes later I got a bite and reeled in the only catch of the day. I was on cloud nine, bringing home the only fish and receiving high fives and praise from everyone back at the house. It didn't occur to me until years later what my dad had done; he wanted ME to catch that fish. He was so concerned about my happiness and realized how much it would mean to me. That was one of my dad's great qualities, he was one of the most unselfish and generous people I know.
Fast forward a little to my college years: as I "matured" into an adult, my bond with my dad evolved and a friendship-much like a brotherly connection-grew. Some of my most fond memories will be the epic beer pong tournaments in the Appenfelder dining room where inevitably everybody came out as winners. It was here where my dad would provide hours upon hours of good laughs and great times. The inner college kid in my dad would shine through so brightly that he was no longer my father but he was my best friend. Those memories are priceless and I know I will keep them with me forever.
I hope these few stories have highlighted for you all what a great person my father was and show you the full life he led, although cut short. There is a definite, huge sadness in my heart today but I am extremely thankful for the time I had with him in this life.
He has taught me everything I know. I will always remember never to give up in life, no matter what mistakes I make, to be unselfish and mindful towards the people who love me, and to love life, have fun and always laugh.
So dad, if you could try to save roughly 152 spots up there in heaven so we can all be together again in the end, that would be great…I love you
Thank you all again, God Bless.
FROM PASTOR TIM
"For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down – when we die and leave these bodies – we will have a home in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long for the day when we will put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing . . . We want to slip into our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by everlasting life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit. So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord." (2 Corinthians 5:1-6)
MEMORIES OF MY LIFE WITH PAUL
By Bruce Appenfelder, brother
I have so many memories of doing things with Paul while we were growing up. Kickball in the front yard at the Upchurch's. Baseball, football, and basketball in the neighborhood; nobody could beat Paul and me. We shared a bunkbed; snuck around after we were put to bed; played Nerf baseball; threw the baseball almost every day (with a few broken windows); bounced super balls for half a block to each other; went trick-or-treating; figured out ways to hide in the attic; played dart guns with Dad; had fights over one of us always teasing our little sister; played rubber ball baseball every Sunday on Grandma's steps; shot airguns at passing cars; broke things in the house when we threw things; went to the doctor all the time for your stitches and broken bones, fun,fun times with Al in Ohio and even more fun in Florida (like watching lightning storms); train trip to Salt Lake; summer-camp in Galt, CA; hanging out and doing illegal substances in Chicago (CA and FL too); talking about family and jobs (I was always proud of my big brother being the "project team-lead at Hughes Aircraft (Boeing); how you were able to pass the two older ladies in your marathon - yelling "can't touch this", as you went by (I am not sure if the previous comment is true, but Paul would have liked it); eating Oreos and drinking something for New Year's Eve in LA; playing dominoes at Al's house when we were at Grandma's 90th birthday (a classic). I saw that Paul never gave up during his last 9 months. I'm sorry that there will be no more new memories to create together.
MY LETTER OF BROTHERLY-SISTERLY LOVE TO PAUL
By Becky Appenfelder, sister
(What does a sister say about a brother she has lost? There are no words to explain the depth of love or affection within my heart! I will just share this letter I wrote to Paul before he left us. I also wanted to add how much Cesar loved Paul, how much he appreciates our times we shared as family & how much he misses Paul. Raquel & Julia will miss their Uncle Paul dearly! We are, however, happy that his suffering is over!)
I thank God you opened up your heart to Jesus! It's such a comfort to know that our parting is not permanent!
I have such wonderfully fond memories of my childhood with you & Bruce. I made the pet names for all of you: Paul the Ball, Bruce the Moose & Peg the Reg. Mom says after Dad left that you were the one worried about my discipline. That sounds so like you- wanting order & discipline!
I remember going to the creek with Bruce & you. You all would take your BB guns. You said don't tell mom. So I never did. When I told you all that when we were all together in April or May, mom said you weren't allowed at the creek. I thought it was just the BB guns! I remember going blackberry picking with you, Bruce & Peg.
I also remember the snow forts you & Bruce would make in the backyard. We'd have snowball fights. You all would play soldier. I loved that! Picking the bag worms off the bushes, squishing them & burning them was always lots of fun too.
I'll never forget that time you were chasing me around & around in the Meredith house. We didn't heed mom's warning to stop! Sure enough I fell & hit my head on the corner of that living room chair. I was so scared I was going to get stitches. That seemed to be happening a lot around that time!
Oh! Don't forget those nice little karate chops you'd give me in my stomach! oH YEAH! You thought I'd forgotten your torture, huh? Good thing I had Bruce to take up for me most of the time. Poor thing! He always got blamed for everything. How'd you manage that?
I remember writing you regularly when I went to Chile the first time when I was 13. I always felt very emotionally close to you! I remember getting your packages in Chile! Thanks for those tapes you sent me of Cat Stevens, America & the Eagles when I returned (Indianapolis). That music got me thru a lot, being so far from family & in a new place surrounded by new people.
I wanted you to know how important & touching it was to me that you came to AZ to greet me when I got back from the Persian Gulf War! And with Matthew at that! I know it was a great sacrifice for you & your family & work. I really appreciate that! It was so comforting to see family when I got home to AZ!
It was such a joy for me to see you all after I started visiting you from AZ: watching Matt & Bethany as they grew up. Sitting w/ you all at the table & eating, watching you all interact. Then when I got out of the Army you accepted me into your home to live the couple of months - making me my own little bedroom in the living room w/ the little screen. I learned a lot from you all about what it means to be parents. Reading Bethany & Matt to sleep and you & Shirl working on the projects for school w/ them. I watched Matt play for hours in the bathroom with water in the sink & his toys & Bethany spread her doll blankets all over the living room floor. Then she'd put one doll on each. It was such a blessing to be with you all as a family.
Then as I shared in the times when Matt & Bethany were playing sports, I remember watching Matt in one of his first soccer practices. All the little kids were in a big bunch running after the ball. Last fall when Julia started soccer I thought of Matt often, and how you looked at me, Paul, laughing about how that's the way they start out!
I remember rushing up to LA from S.D. to watch Matt's baseball games. Was I excited when he started football! I remember lugging Julia in her car seat to the football game! That's my all-time favorite sport. Maybe it was watching football every Sunday at Grandma's when we were little!
What a great basketball team Bethany had! She was great! I remember all the yummy treats we would eat after their sports events. Shirl always had some new yummy dish she'd discovered like Chinese chicken salad or the lettuce wraps.
After Cesar & I got married, I always looked forward to visiting you all! I loved the way you all interacted w/ Raquel. She loved going & playing with everyone there. Not only were you all a great family haven & great parents, but you were also good examples of how to interact as a couple. You know many of my virtues as a wife & mother I feel I inherited from you all.
I'll never forget those first Christmases we were back from Chile & we were with you. We tried out New Years with you all. We loved the egg-confetti head boppers! It was hilarious when we tried it out in Chile! Their chicken's eggshells were so hard we all had big knots on our heads after that! I looked forward to spending Thanksgivings & Easters with you all, even after we had established the tradition of celebrating Christmas & New Years w/ Cesar's family! What great Thanksgivings & Easters with Shirl's family & in-laws! They were always warm & memorable get-togethers - not to mention fattening!
Paul, over the years I admired your objectivity about life. I feel I was always practical like you. I knew I could always look to you when I had any question of electronics. I know I consulted you when I was looking for a computer. I always looked up to your domination of finances & remember asking you when I was going to refinance the house what you thought. The coolest thing was when I worked in the telecommunications testing company and we were testing the SCOTT satellite equipment you had worked on. You were my engineer hero!
I have always loved you with the love only a little sister could have for such a wonderful big brother. I will always love you and remember all that we have shared together in this earthly life.
Your baby sister,
Beck the Reck
A LETTER FROM AL
From Allen Church, uncle (just six months older than Paul)
I wanted you to know how much I've enjoyed all the times you and I have spent together. wow. fun times and lots of laughing.
mt healthy - football, sleeping in bruce's and your Aframe in the backyard, trick or treating
princess court - bikes, hanging with the neighborhood kids
oxford- bikes, hanging with the neighborhood kids
covington - sitting around with you and bruce in your room listening to music. walking to the tennis courts
chicago - listening to lectures, eating cold food, getting sick from too many drinks at the caberet party
florida - tennis, hanging with the neighborhood kids
recently - phillipe park, floating in the pool
I hope and pray that there is a life after this one so that you and I can hang out forever.
I love you
REMEMBERING PAUL: A NOTE TO HIS FAMILY
By Dan Church, Paul's uncle
From "Rug Rats" to responsible citizens I cannot think of one "Appy" without thinking of the others.
In everyday conversation if I were to say: "Paul", I would need to further clarify - "you know... Paul... of Peggy, Paul, Bruce and Becky fame". And, as a footnote, I would need to mention Allen – their "baby-uncle", who was, and still is, "one of them".
Of course they are all individuals. Yet to me, as I watched them grow up, they were a full set, or at least a handful, (four plus one). Inseparable, except by distance, always close and supportive of each other. While sharing common traits of good looks, smarts, and generous hearts, they are individuals, distinguishable by their own special mix of god-given talents, and desires, to lead, to succeed, to nurture, to share, and to touch the lives of others.
As I spent many hours with the "little ones" - as a group generally, on trips to the Cincinnati Zoo, Kennedy playground and pool, family picnics at Robison Park and Daly Park, watching them play on Princess Court, and occasionally baby-sitting them, I observed them closely. Paul was of course, the tall guy. And, while there may have been concerns as a toddler that he might once again trip and fall, and need a trip to the doc, there was never a doubt that the gentle one of the "Family Circus" would one day grow to be a compassionate brother and friend to all.
I'm proud to be Paul's uncle, and am sorry only that time and distance separated us so. Yet, I remember fondly his and Shirley's visits to Louisville, with the two little ones. And, more recently I recall Janie's and my visit to Culver City, for an architectural tour, and a delightful sunny outdoor supper with Paul, Shirley and two fine young adults, Matthew and Bethany.
With more time we could make more memories. But, I will always cherish the good ones I have. Paul was predictably a conscientious and loving man, who has enriched his family's lives, and their futures-- and has been a positive force in the world. May God be with his family, Shirley, Matthew, Bethany, his Mom and Dad, and the rest of the Rug Rats.
A LETTER FROM LISA THOMAS BIGNAMI, niece
Dear Uncle Paul,
I want to let you know that you have been a great uncle to Kristin and me. I could always tell that you loved us growing up and I ALWAYS looked forward to your visits! You are hilarious even though you don't talk much... You have passed your sense of humor on to Matthew who kept cracking me up during his last visit! When I look for an example of good parenting, you and Auntie Shirley have always popped into my mind, and when I have kids you (and my parents) will be my role models for how to parent my kids. I wanted you to know how much I respect you as my Uncle and as a parent to my cousins. I love you very much Uncle Paul!
A loving collection of stories by big sister Peg
Early childhood and upbringing
One year after his older sister Peggy was born on Father's Day, June 17, 1956, Paul was born on Father's Day, June 16, 1957. His uncle Allen arrived a few short months later. When Mom and Grandma Church went out shopping together with a stroller full of these three blond toddlers, they were often taken for triplets. Allen and Paul were especially close and remained best of friends throughout Paul's life. Brother Bruce came along December 1958 to round off the gang to four. Peggy, Paul, Allen, and Bruce all grew up together as one big family. When sister Becky came along 7 years later, Paul was very protective and always took up for her (although we have some reports of his teasing).
We all knew (except mom and dad) that while Paul was often the chief instigator of trouble, pranks, and just plain mischief, Bruce often seemed to be the one who got blamed. Paul got called to the principal's office in elementary school for throwing snowballs at the busstop. Bruce complains that he somehow got roped into Paul's transgression, and they both got a whipping by the principal. The boys were throwing darts in the garage when Paul hit the air conditioner, poking a hole in the coils, and all the Freon leaked out. Another time, the boys were throwing a cardboard tube in the front room, when one of them (not telling which one) threw it through Dad's hanging lamp. It put a perfect round hole in the lamp. Paul was such a good talker that Bruce let him explain it to Dad. One time Paul took a jalapeno pepper out of the refrigerator, cut off a piece and put it in Peg's sandwich. Bruce thinks Paul got that streak from Mom. Peggy was mad at both of the boys for a while and never accepted food from them after that. Another memorable moment was when Paul almost burned the garage down when he lit up the barbeque grill with bag worms picked off the trees. Good thing the neighbor called to alert Mom.
Bruce looked up to his big brother. Bruce remembers special summer trips to the theme park Coney Island in Cincinnati, including swimming at Coney Island. Though Bruce admits he was not brave enough to go slide down the monster slide, Paul was. Paul and Bruce shared a bunkbed in their bedroom for many years. One night Bruce woke up, looked across the dark bedroom, and was sure he saw a monster spider. So Bruce ran up on the top bunk and slept with Paul the rest of the night.
Becky also looked up to her big brother. She remembers going to the creek with the boys. They would take their BB guns and tell Becky "don't tell mom." Becky kept their secrets. She also remembers going blackberry picking as they were out in the neighborhood.
Paul excelled at school and in fact, there was a big rivalry for good grades between the three oldest siblings. But he was so determined not to play any musical instrument, that he deliberately failed the flutophone test. However, he excelled at sports. Bruce reports that he and Paul were the best team in the neighborhood in basketball and football, though one time Paul broke his thumb playing. Paul also played freshman high school football-which may be why he was so excited that Matt went on to play college football. Paul especially showed an early interest in baseball. As soon as he was old enough to play on a team, he and his brother Bruce played Little League, with their Dad as a coach. Every Saturday, the whole family went to the baseball park. Mom especially remembers that during practice in the back yard, one of the boys (we'll never know who) hit the baseball through the large picture window in the dining room. Also, while practicing fielding with Bruce in the back yard, the ball took a bad bounce and knocked out Paul's front tooth. It was put back in, and although he eventually had a root canal, it stayed in his whole life. Despite that, Paul never shied away from fielding hard-hit ground balls from his position as a shortstop. After the broken window incident however, the backyard was off-limits for baseball practice. Then Bruce remembers tossing the baseball out front all the time with Paul, but thinks Mom and Dad had to take out a second mortgage to pay for all the broken windows.
Peggy especially remembers all the special things the family did for holidays and other special times: climbing up on the roof of the car to watch drive-in movies with bags of candy, special Christmas Eve parties and sleepovers with Grandma and Grandpa Appenfelder, hunting for Easter baskets, special Halloween costumes and trick/treating (even if some bullies stole the boy's Halloween candy), snow forts and snowball fights in the back yard, Sunday dinners at Grandma's house after church, climbing up on the roof at home to watch fireworks, bedtime snacks with ice cream sodas, homemade donuts, etc., etc.
Paul took on responsibility as the head of the family following his parents' divorce. Becky reports that Paul was the one worried about Becky's discipline: "What! Mom, are you going to let her get away w/ that?!!!!" Becky just laughed. Becky loved getting care packages from Paul, which helped her get through being so far away and in a new place surrounded by new people.
His mom's affiliation with the Institute of Cultural Affairs resulted in Paul's living in several different cities. He took on many leadership roles during his time with the ICA, which helped prepare him for his later successful business and family life. When Paul and Bruce were in their later teen years, they spent the summer together in Galt, California at a summer youth camp, working with the migrant workers in the fields and getting the best tan they'd ever had. The boys also got together several times in their later teens, in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and St. Petersburg, Florida.
Eventually, Paul settled in Los Angeles around 1976, where he attended UCLA. Paul worked hard to put himself through college. After a year in pre-med, he switched to engineering. Paul worked at Hughes Aircraft as an intern. He eventually obtained his degree in electrical engineering June 19, 1981. After graduating, he went to work full time for Hughes Aircraft, which later became Boeing. He worked there for nearly thirty years, making many friends and earning the admiration and friendship of his colleagues. Becky reports that Paul was her "engineer hero," with his knowledge of electronics and computers. He was her source for answers to any technical question.
During his college years, Paul also worked part time in a bookstore where a beautiful young lady named "Shirley" caught his eye. They played on a volleyball league together, he was one of the coaches for her softball team. Shirley was impressed with his caring and compassionate spirit, with friends, family and strangers alike. He would ride his bike from West Los Angeles to Long Beach to take care of his sick aunt, or help a stranger on the street in danger or in need with no regard for his own safety or security. She saw what a natural he was with children and how they loved him. He seemed to her at times like an old soul, and a serious one, but one that could make her laugh like no one else could. Shirley couldn't resist and they married on May 11, 1983. For their honeymoon, they hopped into their Volkswagen Scirocco and drove across the country, in a trip to remember. Footloose and fancy free, they hit destinations like New York City, Washington, D.C., and Atlantic City, then visited family on the way back in Louisville, Cincinnati, and Denver.
Paul's family moments
Paul's little family grew. Their first child, Matthew Craig, was born April 28, 1987. Bethany Marie came along next, born November 13, 1989.
Through the years, in his spare time Paul enjoyed golf, tennis, softball, running a marathon in 2008, and even skydiving. But Matt and Bethany were the light of his life and they always came first. He delighted in sharing their special moments, whether it was their first steps, their first solo ride on a two-wheel bicycle, first anythings; birthdays, Christmas mornings, fireworks on the Fourth of July, graduations; or everyday activities like reading to them, helping with their homework, being a coach, attending their sporting events, practices and school plays, playing board games together, taking them to the park; he loved taking the kids on family trips, whether it was summer camping trips with the Miyamotos, Inouyes, and Rasmussens, winter skiing trips with the Coxes and/or McNamaras, trips back east to visit his family, or just driving up north to visit sister-in-law Aki and family.
One summer when Matt was 9, Paul and Shirley let him go to Cincinnati to spend a week with his Nana and Papa. What a great time they had! The next year both Matt and Bethany visited. Bethany was very shy at first, but by the end of the week, she was right at home. Those weeks when the grandchildren visited were two wonderful weeks that allowed their Nana and Papa to be with them and get to know them. For that, their Nana and Papa will always be grateful to Paul and Shirley. Paul himself had said in recent months that his decision to send the children to visit their Papa and Nana was one of the best he ever made.
Although all the Appenfelder siblings were busy with their own growing families, they did manage to get together every now and then. In 1979, Paul sold his car to be able to come back to Kentucky for Peggy's wedding. He and Shirley went to Denver for Bruce and Linda's wedding. One special time, all the families met at Lake Nolan in Kentucky, where everyone stayed in cabins and all the cousins paddled about the lake. Becky was very touched when Paul and Matt came to Arizona to greet her when she returned from the Persian Gulf War. At other times, Paul and Shirley took the kids to visit their Papa and Nana, and once the kids' Uncle Steve took them to King's Island. In 2005, Paul came to Florida for his Grandma Church's 90th birthday, where the whole family, including Uncle Allen, spent some very special time together. When Paul got together with his (same age) Uncle Allen, Matt and Bethany said they almost didn't recognize their dad. He was so relaxed, and they'd never seen their dad laugh as hard as he did at Allen's squirrel story.
Becky lived the closest to Paul and his family in California and enjoyed being a part of Matt's and Bethany's life as they grew up. She learned a lot about family life and what it meant to be good parents when she stayed with them. She watched their family's life and interactions- like reading Bethany & Matt to sleep at night, working on school projects with them, watching Matt play for hours with toys and water in the sink, watching Bethany spread her baby-doll blankets all over the living room floor, going to games when Matt & Bethany played sports. Becky and family spent Thanksgivings & Easters with Paul and Shirley's family- always warm and memorable get-togethers - not to mention fattening!
These past nine months, Peggy and Paul became best of friends as she traveled to California several times to lend her support, whether it was cleaning, cooking for the the family, organizing meds, using her experience as dietician to create some delicious and easy-to-eat concoction for Paul, playing a lively game of dominoes or just hanging out with Paul and fam. Paul, Shirley, Matt, and Bethany welcomed her into their hearts and home. A new love and respect grew between brother and sister, and a playful competitiveness emerged as Paul began to tease Peggy again- just like when they were kids. But she never let him forget that in fact, she will always be the big sister, the "Big Dawg."
While Peg and Mom were staying with Paul and family in October, they were able to share a very special event: After 26 years of marriage, the love, caring and compassion that had blossomed again between Paul and Shirley were reaffirmed and celebrated when they took their recommitment vows. It was a warm and sunny, happy and blessed day.
Paul's proudest career accomplishments
Here's the top list of programs Paul's work is most noted for during the last 20 years at Boeing:
1. UHF Follow-on (large Navy system - first complex digital processed payload Hughes Space & Communications built)
2. ICO (large commercial mobile communications system - first complex commercial digital processed payload ever flown in industry)
3. Thuraya (large commercial mobile communications system - first complete end-to-end mobile comm system HSC delivered)
4. Spaceway (first broadband packet data system built by HSC; most complex commercial satellite ever flown)
Doug Bell, Director of Space Systems Engineering at Boeing, shared the following words about Paul: "Paul definitely demonstrated exceptional dedication and an enormous work ethic. Each of these programs was ground breaking and Paul was central to the development of test systems that were transformational in our ability to manage emerging space-borne digital communications technology. Paul's contributions allowed Hughes / Boeing Satellite Systems to emerge as a leader in digital payloads and his success directly improved our ability to attract new work and leverage jobs for many co-workers. Paul's no-nonsense approach to engineering helped keep all of us grounded in practical solutions to very complex problems."
In recent years, Paul pursued skydiving to conquer his fear of heights. He trained and ran his first marathon at age 50. Bruce recalls Paul sending him an email about his first marathon. He said as he approached the finish line, he saw two old ladies in front of him, so he turned on the after-burners and passed them. Bruce was genuinely impressed- not because he whizzed past the two old ladies, of course, but that he had run a marathon. Bruce sent Paul an email expressing his pride.
In September, and in answer to his family's prayers, Paul made a decision for Christ and found a new relationship with God that brought him peace, comfort, strength and an even greater compassion for others.
We all love Paul and miss him dearly.
A LETTER FROM MELITTA ELLERBE, former co-worker
(this was sent to Paul and Shirley earlier this year, after learning about his illness)
Dearest Paul and Shirley,
I never thought I would return to aerospace, and now that I have been laid off, I never will! But what a pleasure it was to see Paul again, no less during an internal review of a project! Paul, you had not changed a bit, and you still had a smile on your face. Quite amazing after so many years at a company that had experienced so many changes.
Paul, I know from Jeff Gold the medical issues you have faced. My father died from cancer, and my mother continues to battle Stage IV, so I completely understand. But, in the end, it's about the quality of life you have led. I will ALWAYS remember you as one of the few engineers who always treated me with respect, at a time when few female engineers were around. You always had a good sense of humor, a kind word and a willingness to help. I don't think you realized what a difference that made for me, and for other female engineers in the environment!
I also remember when I met Shirley. I thought it was so interesting that you married an artist! I considered you a "normal" engineer thereafter, since your children would have a chance for a balanced brain (left- and right-side developed). I always liked creative people more than geeks (sorry, still have that tendency), so Shirley impressed me immediately. I considered you two one of the nicest couples that SGEL saw come into existence! And, I'm certain that your children are good people, too.
It's really difficult for me to find the right words now. You're such a terrific engineer, and your family needs you more than your coworkers. But know that you HAVE made a positive difference, Paul, and we will always remember those laughs, positive words and supportive efforts. I am very grateful to have known you in the early days of my career, and to have met up with you again during these later years to remember the contribution you made to my professional growth.
Paul, may God bless you during this time, and may you find peace. Shirley, if there is anything I can do to help you or your children, please do not hesitate to contact me. I understand where you are, and where you will go. Please know that I will be happy to support you in the days to come. Despite my reputation, I can keep my mouth shut and just listen! Sometimes that's all that someone needs, especially when the listener is not emotionally involved.
It's been my privilege to know you, Paul. I will miss another good human being taken way too soon from this earth. May your transition be peaceful, and continue to watch over your family and friends for eternity. Your children will continue your legacy...