Paul Edward Leopold, a man of immeasurable faith, departed our earthly world to join his Lord and Savior in Heaven on September 19, 2023. A devoted Christian, on the day of his passing his well-worn Bible lay open to a serendipitous passage-1 Corinthians 1:1, “Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of our God;” a deeply resonating verse, echoing not just his name but encapsulating his life’s purpose as a beacon of God’s unconditional love.
Born on November 29, 1956, to Edna L. (Gunter) Peters in Crab Orchard, TN, Paul quickly became the ringleader of family mischief and quickly won over the hearts of all around him. And while his mischievous side was always at play, he was the rock his sisters, Marilyn Mims, Crystal Dotson, Deborah (Gary) Sherrill, Tammy Gerstner, and Barbara Godsey, could rely on. The deep fraternal bond was not just confined to childhood, as they grew older, it never lost its essence, embodying the familial love and unwavering support that are the hallmarks of a tight-knit family. His role within the extended family was much the same as it was within his immediate family, a beacon of stability, a source of irrepressible humor, and an enduring example of how to live life to the fullest.
Paul relished his role as a father, taking immense pride in the men his sons had become. The boys knew that their father was more than just a parent: he was a mentor, a confidant, and the true north on their moral compass. Whether it was a broken toy in childhood or a broken heart in adulthood, Paul had the uncanny ability to fix things-tangible or otherwise. Though the void Paul leaves is immense, and his physical presence is irreplaceable, his sons Paul Michael Leopold, Joshua (Sashia) Leopold, and Benjamin Adkins, find solace in the indelible marks he’s left on their lives. Paul will be missed, not just for the love he gave but for the way he made each family member better by being himself. As his sons continue their journey, Paul’s unwavering love and guidance will continue to carry on through his legacy and imparting life lessons of family, hard work, and faith.
To Paul, the title of “Granddaddy” wasn’t just a label; it was an honor and a role he relished wholeheartedly. If his sons were his legacy, then his grandchildren, Taylor (Zach) Anderson, Tristan (Michala) Leopold, Trenton Leopold, Allie Johnson, and great-grandson Parker Anderson, were his crowning achievement. Each held a special place in his heart, lighting up his world like the first rays of dawn breaking the horizon.
Being a grandparent allowed Paul to unleash his inner child, making him the most coveted playmate. Whether he was was wrapping them up into a bear hug or a rowdy wrestling match leaving everyone in giggles, Granddaddy’s antics were the main event. But the same hands that could repair a tractor engine, could seamlessly transition into a softer mode, comforting tears or as a guest at a tea party. His impact on these young lives was transformative. He not only provided them a role model of what a man should be-strong yet tender, practical yet playful-but also armed them with life lessons that would go on to shape their own moral landscapes.
The epitome of his mischievous spirit was his legendary pranks. Many in the family can recall occasions where Paul would remove his prosthetic leg and place it in unexpected locations. The initial shock, followed by the realization that it was another one of his pranks turned ordinary moments into uproarious laughter. He had a special knack for entertaining children. Often at the dinner table, he would unexpectedly pop his dentures out and the look of surprise and innocent laughter from the little ones was his ultimate reward. These stunts were more than mere pranks; they were an expression of Paul’s philosophy that life is too short to be taken too seriously. Paul was a living testament to the transformative power of laughter and joy.
Paul’s gruff exterior was a façade that those who knew him best could see right through. Behind his memorable grumpiness was a heart of gold. His reputation for reliability wasn’t just a cliché; it was an earned accolade that had been proven time and again. Whether it was an emergency repair or a shoulder to lean on, Paul was the one you could count on to show up with tools in hand and ready for action.
His passion for tinkering was more than a hobby. Paul would spend his free time under the hood of a car, fiddling with tractors, and resuscitating old lawnmowers. He could solve any mechanical puzzle with his craftsman’s touch.
True to his nature, he would grumble at the notion of raising a fuss or shedding a tear over his passing. His wish would be for his loved ones to celebrate his life in the way he lived it; with a focus on family, a commitment to hard work, and a sense of humor that could find light in the most challenging times. May his memory serve as a reminder to embrace every moment with a playful spirit and a heart full of love.
Although Paul’s earthly journey has come to an end, his spirit endures through his legacy. He will be put to rest in his childhood home, Crab Orchard, TN. Yet he will forever remain in the hearts of those who loved him.