Cover photo for Paul Edward Compher's Obituary
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1956 Paul 2023

Paul Edward Compher

October 24, 1956 — March 12, 2023

A traditional obituary just won’t do. I knew that when I suddenly realized we had to write one for my dad, Paul Edward Compher. His life was so much more than general biographical information.

He passed away on March 12, 2023—2 years after his cancer diagnosis. Looking back over these past two years, I don’t think most would have survived that long. Anyone who knew my dad though would understand that his stubbornness alone could have bought him months more on this Earth with us.

In talking with dad during his last few weeks, he made it clear that he was most proud of his family. During his 66 years, he worked to build a beautiful life with the love of his—Nancy. As strange as it is to think of a world without Paul Compher, it may be even more bizarre to think of Nancy without Paul.

Once we welcomed a fourth person to our little family—Andy Rice (aka “That Boy”)—I am so grateful that Paul and Nancy insisted on moving to Tennessee. One of the greatest gifts of my life will always be having them nearby for so many reasons, but most of all so that my dad could enjoy being a Grandpa to Jake and Henry and that they could have a close relationship with him.

My dad was larger than life—and at 6’4”, certainly larger than most around him. In my life I’m quite certain I’ve never come across anything…I mean anything that Paul Compher could not build or fix. Cars, houses, electronics, plumbing, appliances—he could do it all. Although (seemingly) more of an introvert than mom and me, he made fast friendships. His giving and helpful nature, his kindness, and his sense of humor put people at ease (again, despite his intimidating size) and made people want to be in his life. I count so many of those friendships in the category of family, of which he took such pride.

Other than his family, he told me that he cherished his animals over the years. Clearly he passed that love and devotion on to me, because it does bring me peace knowing that he did meet Batman, Fatboy, Jack, and so many others on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge this week. His love of family and pets often overlapped—it took me longer than I care to admit that one of his favorite dogs and I shared a name (well, his nickname for me), “Jack.” To be fair, I apparently also adopted this trait—for a brief time we had a pet raccoon—named “Jake.” These are the little gifts my dad gave me. My parents bought and remodeled an old farmhouse when I was 10. I grew up surrounded by the wonders of a non-working farm, always with a slew of animals that included a kennel of dogs, cats, mules, 4-H animals, and for a brief time, “Jake” the raccoon.

I now know why people write memoirs and biographies—there is just too much. There are too many amazing memories to be preserved and recalled and shared. I have these flashes of memories that are like still photos that evoke such strong feelings—my dad at a coon hunt, racing his dune buggy, training his dogs, behind the wheel of his boat, looking so very dapper in a tux at my wedding, holding his first grandchild…and then his second, having a smoke on my front porch, giving Andy a hard time (and grinning when recounting it to me later), and always…ALWAYS by my mom’s side.

We say that we’ll miss a loved one when they pass. I think we need a new word because “missing” does not truly encompass a loss like this. I hope that those who knew my dad, whether as Eddie or Paul, will take a moment to pause and recall a story and share that memory with another. I hope I never forget his laugh and his hugs. I know that we will forever feel his love…and be grateful.

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