Everybody liked Paul, even when his suspenders were tight
What can I say about Paul Cesar? Or, should I say, what can’t I say about Paul Cesar, the Harrison County coroner and owner of Beanblossom-Cesar Funeral Home in Corydon? He died Dec. 30 after a long struggle with cancer.
Paul was unique, and I think anyone who knew Paul would say the same. He had a jovial, outgoing, friendly personality. He always treated people as if they were special, even when he was trying to be stern — at least that’s how he came across to me.
Oh, sure, he’d call me and tell me I had really messed up an obituary and tried to be the tough guy, but by the end of our conversation, he couldn’t keep up the tough guy act. I would tell him to “loosen his suspenders — they were too tight.”
Or, when he made a mistake, he’d try to let on like it was my fault, knowing it was his. We’d both get a laugh out of that — quite a character, that Paul.
He called Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor, my co-worker and friend, and me “the goofs.” I think we probably earned that one.
I do the obituaries at this newspaper, so I dealt with Paul each week for about 10 years, but during those years we became friends. Paul meant a lot to me and I will miss him dearly. He’d call me at work just to tell me some silly joke, and he’d just laugh. He did that with other people, too. That I’ll miss — the laughter. He had a hearty laugh. Even if the joke wasn’t funny, you’d end up laughing with him. It was contagious at times.
There were more serious times, too. If I was having a hard time or something wasn’t quite right at work, I’d walk across the street to his office and we’d talk. He was a busy man, but he always found time to sit and talk. His door was always open. He was a good person — a good friend.
I remember one Halloween at a local nursing home. Paul was there with his grandkids, and I told him he was a little big to be trick-or-treating, even though he had the scariest costume there. He just looked at me for a minute (he wasn’t in costume), then laughed. It took him a minute to understand that I was joking. But he was visiting with everyone, young and old, and having a good time. That was Paul.
Paul did several things in the community that he never bragged about. He played Santa at the nursing home for about the last 10 years, delivered hot meals to shut-ins on Thanksgiving morning, donated goodies at the Corydon Jamboree, and supported many things, including the AAU basketball teams, two of which my sons played on for several years. He was always doing for others. That was Paul.
At his funeral last week, there were several stories about the funny things Paul did — like walking shirtless along the Florida beach in swim trunks, white socks and black wingtips.
Once he gave the Rev. Richard Ryan a certificate for a free, complete make-over with the stipulation that he’d have to get it lying down.
I can see Paul now, with a twinkle in his eye and a hearty laugh, as he presented the “gift.”
In addition to the gags, I remember all the kind acts and time he devoted to his friends, family and the community. That was Paul.
At his funeral, the comments I heard seemed to be exactly the way I knew him, and the way I will always remember him — funny, kind, gentle, caring — and a good friend.