Paul Joseph Mudie of Westport, NY passed away suddenly on August 27, 2022.
Paul was born in 1951 in South Buffalo, NY. After high school he enlisted in the US Navy where he served honorably until being discharged in 1973. He attended Buffalo State College through the GI Bill, and then went onto Ball State University where he had a Teaching Assistantship and earned a Master’s degree in Technology Education.
He met his wife, Kathy Kelley, when they were both 16; they married in 1975. Their daughter, Sara, was born in 1979 and their son Adam followed in 1982. Loving Kathy and his children was at the core of who Paul was and everything he did.
A job at Westport Central School, misfiled in a folder labeled Westport, MA, brought the family to the Adirondacks in 1987. They moved into an old farmhouse that would be a “five year project” to fix up. Paul spent nights and weekends renovating the house from the inside out and turning it into a home. After 30 years of this “five year project” he decided to build his own home from the foundation up. Paul always loved having a project and this project brought him tremendous joy. His excitement was contagious, and many friends helped him in whatever way they could to make his dream a reality. Paul was the kind of person people wanted to help.
Paul had many different jobs throughout his life, but at his core he was a teacher. He taught at Westport Central School for 27 years and inspired generations of students with his humility and humor. If you were to ask Paul what he taught, he might say he taught 7th and 8th grade technology, photography, journalism, video editing, architectural drawing and computer aided design (to name just a few). He’d probably also talk about how much he loved coaching the girls’ modified basketball team. If you were to ask his students what he taught, they would say he was a mentor who taught them to find something they were passionate about, and how to push themselves to excel at what they did. If you ask the players on his basketball team, they’d say he nurtured and developed their skills no matter what abilities they showed up with. If you ask his family, they’d say he taught them how to live in the moment, how to appreciate the world around you, and what it is to be loved and appreciated unconditionally for who you are.
Paul was the Secretary/Treasurer for the Wadhams Fire Department for over 25 years and was often a calming presence in what could be a chaotic situation. He enjoyed the community spirit he got to see while driving the fire truck in 4th of July parades.
Paul loved life and he loved where he lived and he loved to share that with everyone. He looked forward to any opportunity to share the Adirondacks with family and friends when they visited. Paul also loved to travel and take the time to get to know different places, the people who lived there, and see how beautiful the world is.
Paul’s smile, and his laugh, came right from his heart. He hated being the center of attention, but always made you feel like you were the center of his attention. He loved to sit down with people of all ages and ask them about their lives - whether that be their regular workdays, a trip they had taken, or memories from their younger days. When he talked with little kids he treated everything they said with the seriousness it deserved.
Paul is predeceased by his mother, Carol Zeis and his father, William Mudie.
Paul is survived by his wife, Kathy; children, Sara and Adam; grandchild, Zeke (who brought him great joy), brother Ken (who helped Paul in more ways than we can list) and sister-in-law Donna and their children, Tim (Maggie and their sons Colin and Jacob) and JoAnna (Andy and their daughter Molly); dear aunt, Mary Zeis; dear mother-in-law, Irene Kelley; along with aunts, uncles, cousins, and numerous siblings-in-law, nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of Life will be held from 12:00-4:00, with Remembrance at 1:00, on Sunday, September 25th at Camp Dudley in Westport, NY. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations in Paul’s memory be sent to the Wadhams Volunteer Fire Company, Westport Emergency Squad, or an organization doing work in the Adirondacks.