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Monday, September 29

Farewell to Paul

On Friday, September 26th, 2008, Hollywood, all of America and the world, lost a treasured and deeply respected man. Paul Newman was 83 years old, when he succombed to his battle with lung cancer. Normally I don’t write about celebrities, but Paul Newman was anything but a normal celebrity. He was Hollywood royalty, but that in and of itself means little.

In a town where “till death do I part” usually means till I get bored, Paul Newman and his wife Joanne Woodward were married for 50 years. When asked about infidelity, he quipped, “Why go out for hamburger when I’ve got steak at home?” Throughout this long marriage, they both appeared to genuinely love, respect and enjoy each other always. He had 6 children, 3 (1 son who died from an accidental drug overdose and 2 daughters) from his previous marriage and 3 (daughters) with Joanne Woodward.

Paul served in the Navy during WWII. He became a professional race car driver in the 1970’s and actually did well at it. Paul was a political activist and while I personally disagree with his stance on many issues (particularly gay marriage), I wholly appreciate his class and honor in how he represented himself on sharing his beliefs.

Paul was also known for his philanthropy. He was not a celebrity who merely lent his name to draw attention to a cause. He did something about it and he did it big. Philanthropically, he is best known for his Newman’s Own line of food products, which donated all proceeds after taxes to charity. As of early 2006, this amounted to more than 200 million dollars. He is lesser known for co-founding the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in 1988, which is a summer camp for seriously ill children. One camp has expanded to become several Hole in the Wall Camps in the U.S., Ireland, France and Israel. The camp serves 13,000 children every year, free of charge.

Paul Newman was a prominent American. He was a distinguished actor, a loving and devoted husband and father, a great humanitarian; he loved life and lived his to the fullest. I don’t know his standing with God, but I sincerely hope that he was right with Him. He was truly a class act. And he will be missed.

Paul Newman, January 26, 1925 ~ September 26, 2008

Thank you, Paul, for the good works and the memories.