Paul Williams

Obituary of Paul Richard Williams

Paul Richard Williams was welcomed into the arms of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on August 5, 2021, at Diakonie Hospiz Wannsee in Berlin, Germany. He died of pancreatic cancer a scant few weeks after diagnosis. On August 29, 1951, he was born in Fairmont, WV, at Fairmont General Hospital to Robert E. and Evelyn E. (Mullenix) Williams. Paul is survived by his former wife Cirsten Pahlke-Williams, their children: Kevin R. Williams; Eileen M. Jansen-Williams & her spouse Stefan Jansen; Robin P. Williams & his partner Jill Wynands; granddaughter Liv E. Williams (Robin’s daughter); and many close friends in Berlin. In the US, he is survived by his siblings: James F. Williams, son Aaron, & James’ spouse Susan E. Musick-Williams, Sarah A. Williams and daughter Marcia and son Daniel, Robert L. Williams and daughter Ami, Thomas W. & his spouse Teresa (Nolen) Williams and sons Steven and Scott, and many grand-nieces/nephews, cousins, and friends. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, parents, and sisters-in-law (James) Donna J. (Taylor) Williams and (Robert) Judy L. (Pekich) Williams. Paul was a National Merit Scholar at East Fairmont High School (EFHS), where he honed his chess-playing skills by loudly crunching pretzels while his opponent attempted to concentrate. He graduated from EFHS in 1969. He then attended West Virginia University (WVU) but left to enlist in the US Army, where he served from December 1971 to December 1974. He was a radio intercept operator in listening post Teufelsberg, typing the conversations he heard in Russian on a кириллица пишущая машинка (Cyrillic typewriter). Paul said that the radio he used was so advanced that he could listen to a basketball game on WMMN (920 AM) in Fairmont, then turn the knob and listen to Leonid Brezhnev brush his teeth in the morning. He would then say you now knew too much, and he’d have to kill you. He ended his Army service in Berlin, (West) Germany. Paul was honorably discharged as a Spec 5 and was the recipient of the National Defense Service Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the Army of Occupation Medal (Berlin), and a Sharpshooter badge (M16). Paul returned to WVU to complete his language studies, then moved back to Germany, remaining in Berlin for basically the rest of his life. Some might say he was typified by “Ich bin ein Berliner”. But, as Paul pointed out, this actually means “I am a jelly donut”. He was fluent in multiple languages, including English, German, Russian, Chinese, and others. After his military service, he remained in Germany working for the US Army. He met Cirsten at Free University - Slavic Studies on a student trip to Leningrad during white nights in June 1981. They missed getting back to the student dorm on Василевская (Vasilyevsky) Island, where they were staying, and spent the night together on a park bench. They couldn’t get back to the island because they raised the bridges from midnight to 4:00 AM for ship traffic in Leningrad. Thanks to these rules, they eventually had three wonderful children together, Kevin, Eileen, and Robin. Paul spent 60 weeks in military tech school learning Russian and the secret tools of radio intercept. He held a B.A. from WVU in Foreign Languages and an M.S. from the University of Southern California in Systems Management. Paul worked as a counselor for Gulf War veterans dealing with reintegration into civilian life. He was an Associate Lecturer in the English Department at the Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin up until his death. He owned and operated OneLeaf.Biz, providing language translation services and training to business clients. Paul also led numerous bicycle tours of Berlin and other parts of Germany. Paul was a member of the International Baptist Church Berlin (IBCB), where he served for many years as a greeter. He also attended services and supported the ministry of Christ Church Anglican Berlin, almost since its inception in 2016. Over the years, he was involved in multiple men's Bible study groups, including an ecumenical men's study at Matthew's Table. Over the past two years, he led a small weekly men's breakfast and study of the Anglican catechism: “To Be a Christian”. During the COVID lockdown, he conducted this meeting as a virtual breakfast via Zoom. Paul’s wish is to have his body repatriated to his hometown of Fairmont to be buried near his parents. A memorial service for Paul was held on what would have been his 70th birthday, Sunday, August 29, at 4:00 PM CEST (10:00 AM EDT) at the International Baptist Church Berlin (IBCB), Rothenburgstr. 13 12165 Berlin. This service was recorded, and may be watched at Internment will be at Grandview Memorial Gardens, 93 Grandview Cemetery Road, Fairmont, WV 26554 at 11:00 AM, Saturday, September 4, 2021. Due to COVID restrictions, the family requires that attendees wear masks and observe safe distancing procedures. The family will provide masks for those who need one. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to a charity of your choice in memory of Paul.
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Committal Service

11:00 am
Saturday, September 4, 2021
Grandview Memorial Gardens
93 Grandview Cemetery Road
Fairmont, West Virginia, United States