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Paul Dampman Garrett DeVries

Died: January 6, 2014

Paul was born September 18, 1944 in Baltimore, Maryland but for the most part grew up in the Buffalo, New York area. At Yale he lived in Saybrook College and majored in industrial administration. He played several intra-mural sports for Saybrook, including football, baseball, and hockey, and was the college captain for Alpha Phi Omega in 1965. He also participated in the Political Union and Army ROTC. Reflecting on Yale many years later, Paul would say that he felt lucky at having been admitted, that he genuinely enjoyed his four years there, finding many life-long friends and acknowledging his growth as a person.

Immediately after graduating, Paul spent two years as an Army officer in the Engineer Corps, stationed for most of the time near the DMZ in South Korea and, for a short time, at West Point, where he taught a demolitions course. After discharge, Paul obtained an M.B.A. from University of Pennsylvania’s Wharten School and began a career in marketing. In 1980 Paul, his wife Emily, and their young family (eventually three boys) moved to Switzerland, where Paul worked for three years at Nestle headquarters in Vevey. Paul and Emily enjoyed their Swiss life, finding the country beautiful (and terribly expensive) and also finding the people there to be far more educated, aware of, and concerned about world politics and economics than most people in the United States. In 1983 Paul returned to the Cleveland, Ohio, area, working for Stouffer’s, a Nestle subsidiary, for the following 20 years. He had several managerial positions, including promotions manager, media manager, brand manager, director of new products, and director of marketing services, but downplayed his successes, reflecting disappointment with what he considered to be a lack of significance to what he was doing.

In 1997 Emily began to experience severe pain in her abdomen and two years later, in 1999, was finally diagnosed as having pancreatic cancer. She died two months later. Understandably, those two years were the most traumatic and difficult of Paul’s life. He became very frustrated and critical of the medical system in Cleveland, which is supposedly one of the most highly regarded in the country, but it failed Emily and Paul’s family miserably.

Perhaps worn down by Emily’s illness, and also because he found work to be boring and unfulfilling, Paul took early retirement from Stouffer’s in 2002. For the next several years, Paul worked at fixing up his home in the beautiful Western Reserve village of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and caring for his children. One of Paul’s lifetime goals was to give his sons the opportunity to attend Yale, but in this regard he was disappointed. He wrote that his sons would not even consider applying to Yale because New Haven did not measure up as a place to live. Yet, he was proud they chose Cornell and did exceptionally well there.

Paul passed away of melanoma on January 6, 2014.