Paul Reed Givens (92) passed away quietly in his sleep on March 22, 2022, after a lifetime of adventure and an ultimately fast, pain-free, and peaceful decline.
Paul was born in Galax, Virginia on October 29, 1929 to Ray Givens, Sr. and Ethel “Pearl” Smith, the sixth of seven children, five of whom would survive to spend their childhood on the colonial family farm. It was Black Tuesday, the day that precipitated the Great Depression, in a small town still known as a center for American roots-based music–two details that would be critical in shaping the course of his life.
Financial difficulties in the coming years would send Ray, Sr. away for work and the three youngest siblings to a work farm. At 12, in the early years of World War II, Paul was adopted by his aunt and uncle, Ethel (Givens) and Harris “Pete” Riley, who lived near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He would go on to graduate high school from Greenbrier Military School in Lewisburg, West Virginia and to obtain a degree in mechanical engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute.
Paul served in the Army 101st Airborne Division during the Korean War and later served as a cryptographer in the Army Signal Corp. Upon leaving the Army, he embarked on a career in engineering that would take him all over the globe.
Among the opportunities for which he was most proud:
Working on one of the world’s first industrial computer applications at Reynolds Metal Co. in 1961;
Managing the engineering, construction, and “start-up” of Amax Mining’s Henderson Molybdenum Mine/Mill near Kremmling, Colorado in the early 1970s before serving as the first facilities manager;
Overseeing the system requirements of mechanical rotating machinery on the Alaska Pipeline for Stearns-Rogers Engineering in the mid 1980s;
Supervising reclamation procedures, methods, and equipment for Waste Management/Amoco Oil on oil spills in Kuwait following Desert Storm in 1992.
Paul retired in 1995, just in time to launch the next phase of his life as an RV nomad and dance virtuoso. He spent 32 years living in one or the other of his motorhomes, traveling from the air shows in OshKosh, Wisconsin to the live music capital of Branson, Missouri to the beaches of Baja, Mexico; back and forth between his seasonal home-bases of Yuma, Arizona and Kremmling and/or Westminster, Colorado; and every spot offering fun in between and beyond.
Paul treasured music, especially classic country and traditional bluegrass music. He could win a dance competition on skates and would sweep any willing woman across the dance floor. He loved planes and was a licensed pilot. He prefered good Southern cooking. He was seduced by the American West and the traditional ranching lifestyle. He was an avid outdoorsman. He was a lifetime member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and the National Rifle Association.
And Paul was a master storyteller, sharing any/all of his fascinating experiences with many a rapt listener.
Paul is survived by three children: Clay (Bluemont, VA) with first wife, Dorothy; and Marissa Lorenz (Kremmling, CO) and Noelle Gatto (Louisville, CO) with second wife, JoAnna; and three grandchildren (Sebastian, Aydia, and Torin). He was predeceased by his biologic parents; his adoptive parents; six biologic siblings (Edward, Howard, Virginia, Clinton, Joseph, and Ray, Jr.); his adoptive brother/biologic cousin, David M. Riley; and too many friends and family members for one person to see pass.
Paul Reed Givens will be interred at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver, Colorado with full military honors at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, June 20, 2022, to be followed by a Celebration of Life/BBQ/reception at a location TBD.
Cards can be mailed: Care of Aspen Mortuaries, 1350 Simms St, Lakewood, CO, 80401. Donations can be made in his honor to the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting wounded veterans/service members and their families, at woundedwarriorproject.org/donate.