In Memoriam

Paul Alva Gosnell
February 28, 1947 - February 22, 2019

Paul Alva Gosnell, age 71, of Fernandina Beach, Fla., gently passed away in the arms of his loving wife, Valerie, on Feb. 21, 2019, after a near 20-year fight with non-hodgkins lymphoma. His son Timothy and daughter Kelly were by his side during his last weeks and shared their special thoughts and memories with him.
          Paul was born in Baltimore, Md., and was an avid Baltimore Orioles fan his entire life. In high school, he was an outstanding baseball player and was recruited by the Pittsburgh Pirates. At the same time, he was awarded an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado. With many mixed feelings, Paul chose to enter the Academy Class of 1968.
          While at the Academy, he met his future wife, Valerie Ann Phillips. Valerie's "Air Force brat" experience growing up made her a natural to join with Paul in his career. Paul and Valerie married at the Academy Chapel on Dec. 28, 1968, and had recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
          During his Air Force career, Paul and Valerie were stationed in Colorado, Texas, England, Hawaii, Okinawa, Japan and California, and traveled to the Caribbean, Italy, Greece, Spain, France, Austria, Germany, Belgium, and Holland.
          Paul earned a master's degree in systems management and a master's degree in human development counseling. His career included a few years in the intelligence service, including a year in Vietnam. He then entered pilot training and became an F-4, O-2 and finally an F-15 pilot.
          His service awards include: Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Air Force Organizational Excellence Award, Combat Readiness Award, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with Four Bronze Stars, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
          After leaving the Air Force in 1991, Paul worked in management services with ServiceMaster for 10 years. Despite his many health issues, they never kept him from travel, golf, church commitments, master gardening, or living life to the fullest. Paul was truly a man of God. He was a founding member of the Knights of Columbus Council in his parish, an altar server, parish money counter, Eucharistic Minister, and countless other ministries which were quietly and humbly rendered. Paul was a kind and gentle soul who never met a stranger.
          Paul leaves behind his most precious wife, Valerie; their son, Col. Timothy (Mairead) Gosnell of San Antonio, Texas; their daughter, Kelly (Colonel Mike) Shea of Burke, Va.; grandchildren Katelynn and Connor Shea and Keira and Kylie Gosnell; mother-in-law Peg Phillips of Parker, Colo.; brother Charles (Barbara) Gosnell of Glen Burnie, Md.; sister Nancy (Harvey) Brock of Dayton, Ohio; pre-deceased brother-in-law Richard (Meg) Phillips; brother-in-law Bruce (Monica) Phillips; brother-in law Brian Phillips; brother-in-law Chris (Cathy) Phillips; sister-in-law Les Phillips; sister-in-law Denise (Chet) Elder; sister-in-law Jenni (Scott) Peavy; and 19 nieces and nephews.
          A vigil and visitation was held on March 1, 2019, at Fernandina Beach, Fla., with a funeral mass on March 2, 2019. Paul was interred at the Air Force Academy on Monday, July 1st at 10 a.m.        (Bud Templin, classmate and career-long friend)

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USAFA Cemetery

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