Paul Felopulos
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FELOPULOS, Paul One of the heroes of the greatest air-sea rescue in maritime history passed away last Thursday in Cambridge from complications related to leukemia. He was 47 years old. Mr. Felopulos hasdjust graduated from high school, and was traveling with his mother aboard the M.S. Prinsendam in October 1980. As the ship steamed through the Gulf of Alaska on a scheduled month long voyage from Vancouver to Singapore, fire broke out in the engine room. Mr. Felopulos and his mother Carol were roused from their room and directed to join the other passengers on deck. By 6 am, an abandon ship order was issued and the 320 passengers and 200 crew members were evacuated into lifeboats and lowered to the sea. Mr. Felopulos, an experienced sailor found himself in a small lifeboat designed to accommodate 28 people, but overflowing with 50. With temperatures well below freezing and 25 foot waves pummeling the vessel and its passengers, the inexperienced captain of the lifeboat, a maitre d' from the ship's restaurant, began to panic and direct the craft into the path of the foundering ship. Recognizing that this maneuver would place his lifeboat in imminent danger, Mr. Felopulos assumed leadership and immediately directed those rowing to reverse direction. After enduring 13 hours of life threatening conditions, rescue helicopters began hoisting evacuees to safety one by one. The situation threatened to become chaotic when a number of unruly passengers in his lifeboat attempted to exit simultaneously. Mr. Felopulos again calmly assumed control and organized an orderly and safe evacuation. Amazingly, all 520 people were rescued before the burning hulk of the Prinsendam sank several days later. Paul Felopulos was born in Gloucester, MA in 1962. He attended Newton South high school, and graduated from Emerson College in 1989. Throughout his life Mr. Felopulos worked as a cabinetmaker; musician and fine artist, producing a formidable body of work. Mr. Felopulos also worked professionally as a screenwriter and collaborated on several screenplays for Hollywood studios, including the film Novocaine starring Steve Martin. "He was an artist to the very end", said his brother Peter. "More than anything, he truly loved his children." In addition to his brother Peter of Waban, Mr. Felopulos is survived by his three children, Theo, Chloe, and Phoebe, and their mother Gretchen, all of Natick, his mother Carol, sister Kim, niece Georgia, and nephew Cole, all of Fredricksburg, VA. A Funeral Mass was held in St. John the Evangelist Church, Wellesley Hills, Wednesday, May 26, 2010. Remembrances may be made in Paul's memory to the Durham Home, 65 Chilton St., Cambridge, MA 02138 Burke & Blackington Funeral Home 1-800-585-6939


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Published in Boston Globe on May 30, 2010.
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17 entries
April 27, 2011
I met Paul when we both attended The New England College together , He was a DJ there _ He was my first real boyfriend _ We were very young I could not of asked for a kinder friend . I am terribly saddened for his family I am sure he was the most wonderful Father and husband _ I am so sorry for your loss all my prayers Claudia
claudia o'sullivan
December 25, 2010
I did not know Paul very well but I am quite close with Gretchen and his children; they are a wonderful family. I was heartbroken to hear about their loss this past May, but I am glad to see that the children are coping well and are relying on each other in times of need. My condolences are sent their way and Best wishes to Paul's three beautiful children, Phoebe, Chloe, and Theo. May his ashes bring smiles to those who shall pass where he was set free.
unknown unknown
November 14, 2010
I just saw in the Emerson alumni magazine the sad news of Paul's death. I lost contact with him over the past several years and have always thought of getting back in touch but of course now it is too late. I shouldn't have waited. I met Paul through my brother, who worked with Gretchen. He introduced us because I was a fledgling screen-writer. Paul helped me tremendously with a project I was working on at the time. He was so giving of his time, insight, and amazing energy and he taught me a lot about writing and the writing life. At the time I was married without kids and I remember thinking that I only hoped I could be the same type of parent he was someday. I now have three kids of my own. I will always be grateful for the time that I knew Paul and only wish I had reconnected with him. My deepest condolences to his family, Gretchen and his kids.
Kim Ablon Whitney
November 2, 2010
I just heard about this and am saddened. I only knew Paul by helping him with one of his accounts where I work. He was very sweet and I know will be missed by his family. My prayers to his brother Peter and all his family.
Jennifer Dolde
September 4, 2010
I light this candle with a peaceful heart, in hopes that the love and kindness Paul had for ALL, is remembered and cherished, over and above all else.
Claudia Gale
September 3, 2010
Paul was a dedicated volunteer for TCAN, The Center for Arts in Natick. He organized and hosted a monthly "Kids Dance Jam" for two years, as a way of making a connection with two of his passions, children and music. The staff and volunteers of TCAN will miss Paul, along with all the children and parents who so loved his positive energy.
David Lavalley
June 28, 2010
I knew Paule when he was a little boy, and his sister Kim and I would "babysit" for him at their Nana's in Framingham. He looked up to Kim and the love they had for one another was palpable, even back then. I remember one Saturday, in Newton, when we spent all day trying to scrape up enough money and even bummed a quarter from a stranger so we could buy him a gold fish. He was SO delighted, one would have thought the fish was made out of real gold.

God bless ALL the Felopuloses. May their memories of Paul comfort them at this very sad time.
Claudia Gale
June 11, 2010
Paul, you were an AMAZING Father, wonderful brother & friend ! I use to tell you all the time that when I come back in my next Life I want to come back as one of your kids ! Rest in Peace little brother I LOVE & MISS you VERY MUCH !
Peter Felopulos
June 7, 2010
Paul was a fellow classmate of mine. He had a great passion for art and shared that enthusiam with me. He often spoke lovingly and proudly of his family.
My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this most difficult time.
Adrienne Der Marderosian
June 4, 2010
Paul was a student of mine in both drawing and sculpture. From the first class, he was bursting with good energy. I found him to be remarkably delightful to work with and he had the the heart of a lovely, excited child.

He was overflowing with smiles and one of the most dedicated, passionate students I have known. His manner in class was so focused and profound in its earnestness, he inspired my own artistic sensibilities. I would help him and his response would inspire me. I liked to watch him drawing, barefooted, totally immersed in concentration and fearlessly putting it all on the paper.

His talent was very obvious and there wasn't a person in class who did not take note of the good natured, helpful, hard working man in their midst.

He was kind to me and had a sense of humor I will not forget.
My heart goes out to his family and anyone who knew and loved Paul. I am truly sorry for your loss.
Richard Lagasse
June 3, 2010
I have known Paul since the early 90's when he met Gretchen. I can't believe he is gone and feel such sadness for his kids. How I wish I could have talked with him over the last year - we always had such good talks. My prayers go out to Theo, Chloe and Phoebe.....
Kristin Guadagno
June 3, 2010
Paul was an extremely engaged member of a printmaking class of mine this past fall, at the Museum School. His energy was immense and intense. I am so saddened to hear about his death. My heart goes out to his children, family and friends.
robert siegelman
June 2, 2010
My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.
Patricia Galvin Crane
June 2, 2010
We are so saddened to hear the news of Paul's death. We shared a once in a lifetime experience with him when we adopted our daughters in China in Fall 2003. We remember him as a wonderful father and husband. Much love to Gretchen, Theo, Chloe and Phoebe during this very difficult time-
Evemarie & Michael Davis
June 1, 2010
"as a flower blown out by the wind
goes to rest and cannot be defined
so the wise man freed from individuality
goes to rest and cannot be defined.
gone beyond all images–
gone beyond the power of words"
from: Sutra Nipata

Paul and I were in the Post Bacc Program at the SMFA. Paul was always generous with his knowledge and loved to help others. He inspired all of us with his enthusiasm and dedication until his last moments.
Unju Goetemann
May 30, 2010
I only knew Paul for a short time while he was enrolled in the SMFA Post-Baccalaureate Program, but it was clear that he was a committed and talented artist who had a passion for life and art, and especially for his children. I really enjoyed working with him, as he made a wonderful contribution to the class and to the school. To his family and friends, please accept my deepest condolences for your untimely loss.

Julie Graham
Julie Graham
May 30, 2010
Paul was a student in my intermediate sculpture class at the SMFA. His high energy, enormous enthusiasm, focused work habits and colorful outspokeness provoked wonderful discussions shaped by passion and humor. He was an inspirational person for all of us.

Fritz buehner
Fritz Buehner
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