Paul Allen Kidder, Korea vet, family man with a great sense of humor, advocated kindness

By on October 4, 2017

Paul Allen Kidder, of Lititz, a Korean War veteran, passed away Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017.

In his younger days, Paul bore a striking resemblance to Telly Savalas. Adoring fans of Kojak would stop Paul and ask for autographs. Paul would deny that identity, but fans would insist, and eventually Paul obliged and signed them anyway. These were fair exchanges: fans truly believed they met a famous person, and Paul had a funny story he could share for the rest of his life.

Paul brought much humor and happiness to every family gathering, and he brought the same joy to just about everyone he met. For a time, I was blessed to spend one night every week bowling with him before going out for wings and beer at a local tavern where he held the attention of all he met with his great stories and charming personality. There was one joke of which he was particularly fond.

He went peacefully, leaving this earth before the more painful effects of pancreatic cancer could take hold. In the hospital, when he found out he would not be physically able to return to live at home with his beloved daughter Kathleen, he accepted his fate and made a swift entry into Jesus’ waiting arms. He was a family man and adored every second he could spend with his child, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchild. To not return to those environments was a death in itself.

His close family was fortunate enough to say goodbye. In Paul’s final hours, as the members of his family said goodbye throughout the day, he awoke from rest each time and exchanged a deep, loving goodbye while displaying an energy level that seemed impossible in his state, before immediately returning to his deep rest.

A few weeks ago, he expressed a wish that we, as people, would remember the gift of kindness. To paraphrase a speech he gave at the time: “Everybody in the world would start using that gift, if you start using it. Simple kindness. Recognizing another human being. You go ahead with that kindness in your life. Be kind and calm when you start talking to each other, because most of us react defensively, and we don’t get into the problem at all to try and solve it. It’s a real thing that will tear you up, getting mad all the time. So if you can conquer that with kindness, things will get better. Just love people. It don’t hurt you. Instead of getting mad, be kind. And that will reciprocate, too. It all comes back. And just imagine if the whole world could do that. If we were able to communicate, it would happen. In fact, I feel good when I do something kind. I’m happy when I do something kind. And I want to see you all happy.”

Smile more. You will light up the world if you do.

And by the way, what do you call a fish without an eye?

Fshh…

Paul was preceded in death by his wife: Margaret McNeil Kidder, who died in October of 1995.

Surviving is a daughter: Kathleen A. Calkins, owner of Calkins’ Vine and the Branches, wife of Steven Calkins of Lititz; three grandchildren: Beth, Mark, and Russell; eight great-grandchildren; a great-great-granddaughter; a brother: David “Herkie,” husband of Janice Kidder, Belleview, Fla.; and two sisters: Nancy, wife of Donald Jones of Elkhart, Ind.; and Marilyn Holden of Michigan.

A gathering of family and friends to celebrate Paul’s life will be held at his home, 286 E. Oregon Road, Lititz, on Saturday, Oct. 7. People are welcome to visit nd share stories from 1 to 5 p.m. Interment will be private.

To place a condolence online, visit BuchFuneral.com. The Buch Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Lititz, handled the arrangements.

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