ELKINS — Paul Robert Grindle, 91, a well-known florist, passed away peacefully at home on May 26, 2017. Paul was born July 27, 1925, in Keego Harbor, Mich., a son of the late William Dodds Grindle and Helen Mildred Folk Grindle. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 65 years, Barbara Ellen Phillips Grindle and daughter-in-law, Rosilee Brick Grindle. He was the last surviving member of his immediate family.
He is survived by one daughter, Beverly Diane Reger and husband David, Buckhannon, and one son, William “Bill” Grindle, who was associated with his parents in the family business, Elkins; grandsons, William “Paul” Grindle, Elkins, and Matthew Reger and wife Carrie, Cornelius, N.C.; three great-grandsons, West, Hutch, and Will Reger, Cornelius, N.C.
Paul was a graduate of Elkins High School with the class of 1943 and attended Davis and Elkins College following his military service. He was a veteran of the United States Army Air Corp enlisting in 1943. Paul always had a “Love of Flying” and would share that the United States Army Air Corp later became the United States Air Force under President Truman. As a young man at the age of 13, he began building model planes. In 1941, while in high school, Paul won the right to keep the perpetual trophy offered by Senator Jennings Randolph, due to competing at a scheduled air meet and being in first place 3 years in a row. In 1946 and 1947, he was State Champion of Model Aircraft out of Clarksburg, due to three perfect flights of 10 minutes each using three different aircrafts. Through the years, he continued to win many Model Aircraft contests and awards. Paul shared his passion for constructing and flying model aircraft with young men in the community and formed the Elkins Model Airplane Club. His “Love of Flight” continued until his death with his Best Buddies, Vincent Johnkoski, Kenny Talbott and others. Flying models was his lifelong hobby.
In 1946 returning from military service, Paul joined the family business, Dodd’s Florist, and was a master floral designer working with family members until his retirement. Paul loved to share stories with customers purchasing flower arrangements and those who became regular customers were like family members to him. His stories were an extra that came with the flower purchases. One favorite World War II military memory shared was being a flight engineer on B29 bombers. On some practice flight runs in the desert, the trajectory of fire bombs was measured and ignition problems were corrected. Later Paul discovered that the fire bomb flight practice was in reality test runs for dropping the Atomic Bomb. He was proud of his military service and was a former member of the H. W. Daniels Post 29 American Legion. Paul loved his community and served as secretary/treasurer of the first city Cable Company in Elkins, was an 18-year member of the Elkins Volunteer Fire Department advancing from fireman to assistant chief, was instrumental in developing and filing the charter for the Elkins Volunteer Fireman’s Association, and was the last living member of the Izaac Walton League who purchased the 850 acres for the club. He was a Tygart Valley Shrine Club member, an Osiris Shiner, a 1948 member of the Scottish Rite and Masonic Lodge in Clarksburg and a member of BPOE Elks Lodge 1135. He was a past member of the Floral Telegraph Delivery Association and Teleflora. Paul was a member of the First United Methodist Church. His nickname was “Pappy” to those who knew and loved him and he never met a stranger.
In addition to his “Love of Flight,” he enjoyed the beauty of the outdoors, hunting, fishing, archery and boating. At the age of 88, he killed a turkey with four beards and confirmed the age of the bird with the DNR. He proudly shared with others, stories of his hunting and fishing adventures. Reading the Charleston Gazette and Elkins Inter Mountain were morning rituals, as well as, watching the sports’ channels. He enjoyed and loved life.
The family would like to thank Dr. Sam Roberts and staff, Carolyn Talbott of Ultra Care, and the staff of WV Caring, especially Marlayna Nestor, for their compassion, thoughtfulness and care.
The family will receive friends at the Lohr & Barb Funeral Home of Elkins from 5 to 8 p.m., Thursday. Final rites will be conducted at the funeral home, Friday, June 2, 2017 at 11 a.m. The Rev. Dallas Forren will officiate and interment will follow at the Maplewood Cemetery at Elkins, where the H. W. Daniel’s Post 29, American Legion, the Tygarts Valley Post 3647, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the West Virginia Army National Guard Honor Guard will conduct full military honors and the Elkins Lodge 108, A. F. & A.M. will conduct Masonic Graveside Rites. The Lohr & Barb Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements. Condolences may be expressed to the family at www.lohrbarbfuneralhome.com.