Paul A. Erskine
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March 16, 1926 - February 20, 2013
Paul Anderson Erskine passed away February 20, 2013, of heart failure. Born at home during a blizzard in Buffalo, New York, on March 16, 1926, Paul and his extended family moved during the years of the Great Depression, to Detroit, Toronto, and eventually to Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan. After graduating from Grosse Pointe High School in 1943, he was awarded a scholarship to study mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the first member of his family to attend college. After a year at MIT he was drafted into the U.S. Army and sent to Infantry Replacement Training Center at Camp Roberts, California. While in basic training he was given an examination to qualify for the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP). He was the only solider selected from the 80,000 men in his camp to join the program and serve his country while continuing his education as an engineer at Stanford University. After the war ended, he was stationed at Fort Belvoir, Virginia until he was discharged from active duty in 1946. Grateful for the GI Bill of Rights he was able to return to MIT to complete his degree, graduating with the Class of 1948. Later that year Paul, with an ASTP buddy, set out to go west again, to seek his future in the land he felt was full of promise: California.
Trained as an engineer, Paul was endowed with an acute mathematical ability to work with figures and a lifetime interest in emerging technologies. He joined the Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corporation, moving to Newark, Ohio for a training program and then was among a team that opened a new plant in Santa Clara, California. Thus began Paul's career in glass fibers and reinforced plastics. He worked for Hess, Goldsmith and Burlington Industries before establishing the Erskine-Johns Company in 1962. During those early business years, Paul met Georgianna Bray. They married in 1957. As his company grew, Paul was recognized for this for his keen mind, his business ethics, and his kindness and generosity to his employees. After more than three decades of leadership in the plastics industry, he sold the Erskine-Johns Company. His retirement years have been devoted to his other life passions, his wife and family, travel and education, financial investments, the arts, and dear to his heart, food and wine, his home and garden.
Courageous, optimistic, and generous, Paul was an inspiration to his family and friends. Paul saw the good in every person and believed in the transformative power of education, supporting many in their pursuits to improve their lives through learning.
Paul is loved deeply and missed by his wife, Georgianna, his children, Eugenia Jesberg, Stuart Erskine, and Martha Erskine, and their spouses, Don Jesberg, Anita Erskine, and David Del Principe, and his grandchildren, Emma and Peter Jesberg, Hannah, Chandler, and Chase Erskine, and Ofelia and Sebastian Del Principe.
A memorial service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, March 15, at the Church of Our Savior, 535 West Roses Road, San Gabriel. After the service, all attending are invited to a reception at his home.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Boys and Girls Club of Pasadena, 3230 East Del Mar Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91107 or the Huntington Memorial Hospital. Cabot and Sons Funeral Directors
Published in Pasadena Star-News from Feb. 24 to Mar. 3, 2013