A Celebration of Life for Bruce Paul will be held Friday, November 18, 2022 at First Cumberland Presbyterian Church in McKenzie, TN at 6:00 p.m. Bruce’s family will receive friends before and after the service.
Bruce Frederick Paul, dedicated community member and loving father of three, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 68 on Wednesday, October 19, 2022 in McKenzie, TN.
Bruce was born June 19, 1954 in Inglewood, CA to Ernest Paul and Jeanne Hunsicker. For over 40 years he ran an exceptional landscaping business, “Yardworks” and was nominated “Best Landscaper” in a local reader poll.
As he was growing up in southern California, he displayed talent for many different things, especially surfing and skateboarding; he likely could have been a professional surfer if there was a pro circuit in the 1970s.
Bruce was passionate about the outdoors. In his early adulthood he outfitted a VW van with a stove, and on the interior roof he created a nature scene of a snow-capped mountain overlooking a sailboat, floating on a lake, all made out of carpet. He used that van to travel up and down the west coast, surfing at many different beautiful Pacific Ocean beaches.
Later, he bought a motorcycle and traveled across the country, camping as he went. Bruce shared many photos and stories of these adventures with his family, including one about a hike in which he was approached by a deer that stayed with him for some time, while butterflies landed on his shoulders. In the words of his brother, “You have to have something good going on with you for animals not to fear you.”
Bruce was an avid music lover and had a wealth of knowledge about many classic bands. He would tell stories about how the Beach Boys used to practice in a garage in Hawthorne, the same town where Bruce lived and went to high school, before they were famous – he really “got a kick out of it.” His sister even recalls a memory of him as a toddler sitting in front of the record player in his little chair and listening to the 1812 Overture “over and over.”
He also enjoyed woodworking and became a professional finishing carpenter, creating many beautifully crafted items, such as furniture, which survive today.
Bruce moved to Tennessee with his family in 1999 and remained living in the state for the rest of his life, spending the majority of that time in McKenzie. He became well known within the community and deeply cherished the friendships he developed with not only members of his church, but also his landscaping clients, neighbors, and others. He was a loyal friend to many people locally and across the country – if he couldn’t sit down with you in person, he was always available for a long phone call. He would sit and listen to someone share, good or bad, happy or sad, and then with his gentle heart, he would offer a prayer. He loved to regale family and friends with countless stories of his vast life experiences and many passions. He could chat for hours with anyone about any number of topics, but his favorites were baseball, family, and marveling about the beauty of nature.
He was also a skilled amateur photographer. His photographs would often serve as thoughtful gifts that have been cherished by many of the lives he touched. He loved photographing the wildlife that would regularly visit him at his home in McKenzie. One of his proudest accomplishments was a photography series from his cross-country motorcycle adventures that he set to pieces of his favorite music; Bruce entitled his production “Seasonal Moods: A View of God’s Handiwork.” He was tickled to share copies of the arrangement with anyone he could.
Fittingly, he shared the final photo he took with his brother and friends hours, perhaps minutes, before he passed.
Bruce’s greatest love was being a dad, and he was immeasurably proud of his three children. When his kids were growing up he would spend all his time (when not out working hard) playing games, teaching them a multitude of skills, and using his photography talents to compile countless hours of home videos and thick albums of pictures documenting their childhoods. Even once they grew up he still considered them his “kiddos” and always told anyone he knew all about them and their lives. As his family grew into a new generation, he would continue this tradition with his grandchildren as well.
Bruce is survived by his brother and sister, Clark Paul and Nancy Jengo; his three children, Abigail, Ryan (and partner Christie), and Robert Paul; the mother of his children, Sara Maynard; and his grandchildren, Jonah and Emerald Paul. He was preceded in death by his parents.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Bruce’s honor to an organization he would have thought was very special: Surf & Turf Therapy out of San Juan Capistrano, CA, an organization that uses surfing and horseback riding as therapy tools to help children and other individuals. Donations in Bruce’s memory can be made at the following link: https://surfandturftherapy.betterworld.org/campaigns/loving-memory-bruce-paul