Paul Popenoe Jr.




Paul Popenoe, Jr.
May 22, 1922
June 1, 2020
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Paul Popenoe, Jr.
1922-2020
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Portland - Paul Popenoe, Jr. died on June 1st in Portland Maine. The son of Paul and Betty Popenoe, he grew up Altadena California. He served in the South Pacific with the US Army Signal Corps as an electronics specialist during World War II. After earning a B.S. degree in electrical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, Paul moved to San Francisco. He had a 35-year career with the California Public Utilities Commission, finally as Telecommunications Chief of the Rates Division. He played a leading role in launching teletype (TTY) relay service, earning an award from Gallaudet University. Paul retired to Lafayette, California and moved to Maine at age 94 to be near his daughter.
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Paul’s early electronics fascination was nurtured in the backyard “ham shack”. He built radios and his family’s first TV and later was a ham radio operator. Paul was a maker and creator, from soap to analog electronic toys. An avid gardener, he grew rare fruits and was a respected member of the California Rare Fruit Growers. Paul loved hiking, taking his children, their friends, and nieces on summer backpacking trips in the Sierra Nevada and later was trip planner for the Berkeley Hiking Club.
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Paul was a member of the Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church. He supported his family’s education, ensuring all had opportunity for college. Paul contributed to women in politics, continued his wife Norma’s contributions to Planned Parenthood and supported the Sierra Club. His sense of justice led him as a youth to oppose his neighborhood’s racial restrictions and later keep his family in integrated schools when others fled.
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Paul is predeceased by his parents, brother Oliver, wife Norma, and friend Hella Fluss. He is survived by his daughter Ellen Popenoe, son-in-law Jerrold Edelberg and granddaughter Abigail Popenoe; son Darwin, daughter-in-law Flora Mbasha Popenoe, and granddaughters Subira Popenoe and Aisha Popenoe; brothers David and John; beloved nieces and nephews; and dear friend Joan Lautenberger. ~His family is thankful to the staff of 75 State Street, who cared for him in his last years. Their gentle, compassionate, loving care was more than one could ask for.
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If you would like to honor Paul, please consider donating to one of his favorite causes: Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, 75 State Street Independent and Assisted Living, or your favorite Democratic woman politician. A future memorial service will be held when we can come together.  


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