Paul Ellis Popplewell was born September 9, 1928 in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. He served two years in the United States Navy and was honorably discharged on July 20, 1950 and soon after he married my mother, Grace Helen Vradenburg in Reedley, California and they had three children. Daddy was always a very hard working man. He worked on various ranches when he was very young and helped to support his family. He worked as a plumber and then in construction. Dad also became an electrician and worked on many large projects for IBEW Local 428. For several years he worked in the oilfields in Bakersfield, California. The field changed ownership several times. When he first started working there it was Tidewater Oil. Later it became Getty Oil and after that it was Texaco Oil. Today it is Chevron Texaco. Dad was a foreman in the field and had the respect of all who worked under him. “You can take the boy out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the boy” is a term that fit my father very well. My parents bought an old farm house in the country and Dad enjoyed raising rabbits, chickens, goats, a steer, a pig and horses. Those animals just loved him and would start making all sorts of noise when they knew he was coming. It was priceless to watch. His love for his grandchildren and great grandchildren was very apparent. He loved to rock his babies and could calm a fussy baby faster and better than anyone I ever saw. They just loved to cuddle up and sleep on his stomach and that’s usually where you would find them when he was around. After he retired he just couldn’t sit still when he could be working so he developed a home business selling various products. He also enjoyed taking things to the swap meet for a few years. He loved planting flowers and tending to his garden. Daddy was a quiet, unassuming man whose needs and pleasures in life were simple and he will be missed more than words can ever express. He passed away on December 3, 2002 after a valiant battle with Melanoma. A man stepped forward to speak at his funeral and referred to him as “A Gentle Giant” and that is how most will remember him.
God looked around His garden
and He found an empty place.
He then looked down upon this earth
and He saw your tired face.
He put His arms around you
and lifted you to rest.
God's garden must be beautiful.
He only takes the best.
He knew that you were suffering.
He knew you were in pain.
He knew that you would never
get well on earth again.
He saw that the road was getting rough
and the hills were hard to climb.
So He closed your weary eyelids and whispered
"Peace Be Thine."
It broke our hearts to lose you
but you didn't go alone.
For part of us went with you
the day God called you home.
You left us beautiful memories.
Your love is still our guide.
And though we cannot see you
you are always by our side.