Paulek, Albert Victor CARLSBAD -- Albert Victor Paulek, 96, our Dad, passed peacefully on April 22, 2015. He often said he had a wonderful life. Dad was born September 22, 1918 in Durango, Colorado to Victor and Geneva Paulek. He had many fond memories of growing up on the farm near Hesperus with his sister, Emma, and his brothers, Johnny and Eddie. He went to a one room schoolhouse, graduated from Durango High School, and was raised with a strong work ethic and a joy for life. He joined the U.S. Navy as a young man hoping to see the world just before the start of World War II . His ship, the fleet oiler USS Neosho, was moored on Battleship Row in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. After surviving the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Neosho continued to operate in the South Pacific. During the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942, she was attacked and set ablaze, the victim of seven direct hits and a suicide dive by one of the bombers. The heavily damaged Neosho kept afloat for four days until the rescue of the survivors. Dad suffered burns and was awarded the Purple Heart. He remained in the Navy until his retirement in 1960 as a Chief Petty Officer. While in the Navy, he met our mother Mary McGrath. He tells us it took him some time to gather the courage to talk to her, but he knew very shortly after meeting her that she was the one for him. They had the four of us - Maureen Farr, Tom Paulek, Jean Fisher, and Kathy Paulek. After retirement from the Navy, Dad a man of many skills, worked in maintenance at UCSD for 15 years. He and our mom traveled back to the family farm in Colorado after retiring again where Dad built a fabulous two- story house. Then it was off to Bend, Oregon to be with granddaughters, Kristin Costello and Rebecca Farr, then back to Southern California to share time with their other children, grand- children, great-grand- children, extended family and friends. Our Dad was a world traveler, a master gardener, a craftsman, a superb cook, a builder, and a beekeeper. He leaves us a legacy of curiosity, determination, humor, and courage. Dad was a survivor; loved by all who knew him. His wife, Mary, preceded him in death. He is survived by his children and their spouses, Peter Farr, Susan Nash, and Ross Fisher. Albert and Mary will be joined in interment at Miramar National Cemetery at a later date.
Published in San Diego Union-Tribune on May 1, 2015.