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Obituary of Paul Augustus Westerfield, Jr.
Paul was born to Paul Sr. and Louise Rose (Weisenburger) Westerfield in Jackson, Mississippi, the oldest of five sons. He attended St. Joseph’s Catholic School through high school and was active in Boy Scouts. Paul graduated from St. Joseph in 1960 and from Mississippi State University in 1965, with a BS in Aeronautical Engineering.
After college, Paul went to work for Sperry Rand/NASA at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. He worked on the Saturn V moon-landing program. In this job, he worked with many of the WWII German V2 rocket scientists, including Werner Von Braun. While in Huntsville, he met his soon-to-be wife, Charlinda Marie Fisher, at the boarding stable where they kept their horses. Paul had a Tennessee walker and Charli a quarter horse. They were married on Charli’s 19th birthday, when Paul was 27 years old.
With the downturn in space efforts, Boeing hired Paul and moved them to the Seattle area in 1972. Paul and Charli traveled across the country with their 1972 International Scout II and a horse trailer, two Labrador Retrievers and a cat. Paul had rigged bunks in the trailer and Charli cooked on a Coleman stove in the front. Taking two weeks to make the trip, they stopped at several caverns (both liked exploring caves) and national parks along the way. Their first house in Washington State was in Federal Way in a rental, and then moved to eight acres in the Covington Area.
They lived in Covington for 35 years. While there, they raised two fine sons, various livestock, and managed their farm and boarding stable. Paul was Assistant Scout Master while the boys participated in Scouting. He led several 50-mile canoe trips and was instrumental in achieving an 80-mile hike through the Klondike area in Alaska. The sons are Jason Allen and Karl Anthony. Karl and wife, Nicole, live in Auburn, Washington. Jason is the father of their only grandchild, Jhett Orion, who will be 10 years old in April. Jason, Jhett and two step-grandchildren, Evania and Leandro Acosta, all live in Apache Junction, Arizona.
Paul retired in 2000 at the age of 58 after 28 years with Boeing, developing various top secret Air Force projects. Paul and Charli were active in many sports, including hiking, mountain climbing, skiing, cross country flying, fishing, archery, hunting, canoeing, and horses. Paul had been an avid hunter for all of his life. While living in Washington, he harvested deer, elk, bear and Caribou, often with his hunting buddy, Gary Grasher. His hunting high point was a very successful South African safari in 2001, accompanied by Charli. Paul, Gary and Charli attended many Washington Arms Collectors gun shows, where Paul purchased a lot of firearms. He collected Savage Model 99’s and had at least one of every caliber. He enjoyed black powder shooting and made many of his long rifles himself. He and Gary spent many hours at rifle and pistol ranges.
Much of their retirement lives centered on their travels in their Airstream trailers. Paul got the RV bug from Paul Sr., who was an active Airstreamer in Jackson for many years. After retirement, Paul and Charli purchased a home in a gated Airstream retirement community (the Washington Land Yacht Harbor) in Olympia, Washington. Here they served in many management capacities and participated in caravans and rallies and did all they could to support their community. Paul and Charli bought their first Airstream, a 1961 Spaceliner, in 1977 while living in Covington, Washington. After using it extensively for 35 years, they purchased a used 34-foot Airstream Excella 1000 in 2001. They towed this trailer from Alaska to southern California, the Gulf, Key West, the Midwest, the provinces of Canada, including Newfoundland, and many points in between. They put over 200,000 miles on their 2001 Dodge truck towing this RV.
Paul had always wanted a Dodge Power Wagon. While still in Covington, he purchased a 1954 M-37 (a 24-volt military version of a Power Wagon) and refurbished it. Sometime later, he added a military trailer to match. He really enjoyed fixing both up, frequently with Karl’s help. Unfortunately, he never got it out on the road outside his community. He and Charli decorated it with lights and joined the Christmas parade around the Land Yacht Harbor. Santa even got to ride in the back with carolers!
Paul slowed down the last couple of years, but still enjoyed walking his dog, Scout, and going to rallies (although sometimes reluctantly). He loved watching Seattle Seahawks games with friends at the Olympia Elks Club. He enjoyed going to Coffee & Rolls at the community hall (Harmony Hall) on Saturdays. He became much more social after moving to the Harbor, and liked to joke with neighbors and friends he and Charli met on his walks with Scout. Paul could fix almost anything. When he wanted to make something, he drew detailed plans, obtained all the needed supplies, got started on the project, and then sometimes lost interest. His favorite part was designing the project!
Paul fell on March 27, 2023, and somehow sustained severe brain damage without any external sign of injury. If only Scout could talk! He was the only witness. Paul passed away on Saturday, April 1, 2023, at 5:00 a.m. at Providence St. Peter Hospital without ever becoming conscious. Karl, Nicole and Jason were with Charli in the hospital, as well as his hunting buddy, Gary, as they said their last goodbyes in the days before he passed.
He will be missed by his family, community, and the many friends he met while Airstreaming.
In lieu of flowers, or to make a donation in Paul's name, please consider the National Parks Foundation by clicking HERE, or Olympia Elks Club - Lodge #186, 1818 4th Ave. E, Olympia, WA 98506.
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