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Demoss, Paul  
Paul Demoss It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden passing of Paul Norris Demoss at his beloved home in Novato, California, on the morning of April 28, 2015. Paul Demoss was born to Samuel E. Demoss and Stella L. (Cunningham) Demoss on a farm in Camp Point, Illinois on January 14, 1927, the fifth of nine children. From March 1945 to March 29, 1950, Paul worked as a waiter on ships of the American President Line based in San Francisco, as a member of the War Shipping Administration, United States Maritime Service (U.S. Merchant Marine). Paul joined the U.S. Army on November 29. 1950 and was assigned to the U.S. Army Occupation forces in Japan, located at Camp Haugen, Hachinohe. Japan. His most significant duty assignment was with the HQ Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Division. He was promoted to Sergeant, and spent his remaining time in service at the Sixth Army Food Service School at Camp Roberts and the Presidio, graduating in April, 1951. He was honorably released from military service on August 22, 1952. Eventually, Paul arrived in San Francisco where he decided to stay. He took on waiting jobs at Fisherman's Wharf, settling on Fisherman's Grotto No. 9, where he remained for several years. In the mid-1950's San Francisco he met and married his wife of more than fifty years, Della Lowe, a dancer with culinary talents, which was a perfect match for Paul. He became the father of Della's daughter, Harriet, aged ten. Paul and Della were frugal and eventually saved up sufficient money to look around for a place of their own in San Francisco, but a word from a friend sent Paul to Sausalito, California, on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge, to buy a bar. When he arrived there, the bar had already been sold. However, the seller told Paul there was another bar for sale across the street, on Bridgeway, which led Paul and Della to first lease the existing establishment, and a few years later in 1958, the Seven Seas Restaurant opened for business, a business which lasted some 57 years, serving generations of Sausalitans and visitors with good food, good drink, and lasting cheer. Paul greeted all visitors to the Seven Seas personally with warmth and gusto. The funny thing was that while Paul thought he was buying a building which contained a restaurant and an apartment, it turned out that the property was larger than that. He found out that he had bought two buildings instead, which over the many years housed a series of retail shops and even a cookie store, all of which helped pay the bills. For many, many years he and Della had live music at the Seven Seas, opened a Garden Court, and fed everyone generously. It needs to be said that Della closely shared life with Paul, both the good and the less good, and Paul, during the years that she spent at The Tamalpais visited and cared for her for several days each week of his life until her death. He was, as we have said, loyal to a fault, which is not a sin, but is a mitzvah, as Della might have put it. The restaurant to Paul was much more than a place in which you feed people. The Seven Seas became a very part of him. Just as a house, if you live long enough in it, becomes a living part of you. The cooks, bartenders, waitresses and waiters, and staff became to Paul a part of his family, and so it remained to the day of his death. The Seven Seas also served what was undoubtedly and absolutely the best bouillebaise in the Bay Area, if not in the world. Eventually, Paul expanded the restaurant into an outdoor dining area with a retractable roof, which still works. Paul was caring to a fault, perfectly willing to overlook the possible sins of others. He had a great many friends in Sausalito, including Sally Stanford, the Madam and Mayor of Sausalito, and to the end of his days enjoyed the comfort of a Victorian love seat from Sally in his bedroom. Most friends have since passed away, but if there are restaurants and bars in Heaven, Paul now simply joins them in an eternal glass of wine, or two, or three. Paul enjoyed holding court in the back seat of the front room, next to the bar, and greeting friends and strangers alike, sharing a glass of wine (or many more), and watching over the restaurant like a proud eagle surveying its nest. One of Paul's many talents was cracking very wry jokes, often in a deadpan and ironic way so that you didn't know, at first, whether he was serious or not; but Paul was really only and always joking or telling stories about his life, or yours, if he knew you well enough. After many years, he and Della built two homes in Novato the last one more than 35 years ago, and in that house to the end of his days, Paul lived a life to the fullest, gardening extensively, and bringing the vegetables to his friends for them to enjoy, even to his lawyer. He had a peaceful view over the hills of Marin County, and behind his house he enjoyed acres of open space. For recreation, Paul traveled often to Brazil with his cousin and friends, where he participated in Carnival and other pleasures of the day and night, outdoors and indoors, and he did so for many, many years, enjoying the beaches, the sun, and catching fish and other things. Paul was a real father to Harriet Cherin, the daughter of Della Demoss, since she was 10 years old, and her death in her early sixties brought a real time of sadness to them both. As things sometimes turn out, Paul had no children of his own. and most of his relatives lived back in the Midwest, occasionally coming to San Francisco, and whenever they did, he was a warm, loving and generous brother and uncle to his many nieces and nephews. He leaves behind two sisters, Mona Demoss Jarman of Hunnewell, Missouri and Lois Bequette of St. Peters, Missouri, and many nieces and nephews scattered all over the United States. A special note of appreciation is appropriate to Ofa, Meliki, and Emosi, for their care in the last year of his life. Paul greatly enjoyed their company and succor. All of his friends and acquaintances are welcome to a memorial service and celebration of Paul's life, to be held at the Seven Seas Restaurant on June 27, 2015, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. Yes, food and drink will be served, for Paul wouldn't have wanted it any other way. Or, as Paul once put it. "He Who Does Not Love Wine, Women and Song Remains a Fool His Whole Life Long."
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Published in Marin Independent Journal on May 24, 2015
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