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June 25, 1930 - December 13, 2017
Paul was born to Agnes Kelly and Henry Reyff in San Francisco, California. He grew up in a very close-knit Irish community with his cherished brothers, Louis, Albert and Robert and the many cousins that he so adored. He attended Star of The Sea, St. Ignatius, and the Seminary before graduating from California Maritime Academy in 1952.
Paul excelled in the sport of adventure, training for which, started early. Too young to join his older brothers in the military during World War II, at 14 he managed to convince the US Postal service he was old enough to drive a mail truck, carry a revolver and deliver mail along the San Francisco waterfront. Following college graduation, he traveled the world as a Third Officer aboard merchant ships before joining the Navy.
After seeing the world with the Navy, Paul returned to San Francisco where he met and married Marlene Kuhlman in 1962. They raised son Paul Jr. and daughter Lisa in Atherton, California. Not one to sit still, Paul continued work for the Navy at the Pentagon, Annapolis and other parts of the world. Several small businesses, maritime consulting and recreational residential building rounded out his professional career.
Throughout his life, Paul was always on or close to the water. He was a ship-handler extraordinaire, and fed off the energy generated from piloting ski boats on Lake Berryessa, Navy ships in the Pacific and yachts on the San Francisco Bay, Hawaiian Islands, Caribbean, Mediterranean and the Pacific Northwest. These adventures continued to be a great source of material for the storytelling that he, his brothers and close friends loved to share.
Paul retired as a Captain in the US Navy, and Captain in the US Merchant Marine. He published his first (and only) book, Code Red, in 2010. He has written his final chapter, and his personal book of life is now closed. Paul was a fun-loving person who meant well and had a caring heart. He will be sorely missed by his kids and those close friends and relatives that new him well.
At 87, Paul has Crossed the Bar and is now Finished With Engines.
Paul is survived by his daughter Lisa, grandson John Paul, and his son Paul Jr, granddaughters Nicole and Natalie. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Cancer Research Institute (CancerResearch.org), Mission Hospice in San Mateo (MissionHospice.org), or a charity of your choice.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Dec. 18, 2017