Paul Alva Gosnell, age 71, of Fernandina Beach, FL, gently passed away in the arms of his loving wife, Valerie, on February 21, 2019. His son, Timothy, and daughter, Kelly, were by his side during his last weeks and shared their special thoughts and memories with him. He was also surrounded by the many friends whose lives he had touched and who meant so much to him.
Paul was born in Baltimore, Maryland, a son of Charles Lemuel and Helen Elizabeth Gosnell and was an avid Baltimore Orioles fan his entire life. In high school (Baltimore City College), 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 in 1964, graduating in 1968.
While at the Air Force Academy, he met his future wife, Valerie Ann Phillips, the eldest of the eight children of Colonel Frank V. (Val) and Margaret (Peg) Phillips. Valerie’s “Air Force brat” experience growing up made her a natural to join with Paul in his Air Force career. Paul and Valerie were married at the Air Force Academy Chapel on December 28, 1968, and recently celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary by renewing their vows at St. Michael Church.
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, 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 intelligence service, including a year in Vietnam. Afterwards, he 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, 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 his life to the fullest. Paul was a founding member of the Knights of Columbus Council 14295 at St. Michael Church. He was an altar server, parish money counter, Eucharistic Minister, and countless other ministries which were quietly and humbly rendered. Truly he was a Man of God. We will never know the scope of lives he touched.
He leaves behind his most precious wife, Valerie, their son, Colonel Timothy (Mairead) Gosnell of San Antonio, Texas, their daughter, Kelly (Colonel Mike) Shea of Burke, Virginia, grandchildren Katelynn and Connor Shea, Keira and Kylie Gosnell, mother-in-law, Peg Phillips of Parker, CO, brother Charles (Barbara) Gosnell of Glen Burnie, Maryland, 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 will be held from 5-7p.m. on Friday, March 1, 2019 at Oxley-Heard Funeral Home in Fernandina Beach, FL. A funeral mass will be held on Saturday, March 2, 2019 at 11:00a.m. at St. Michael Catholic Church.
If desired, memorials may be made to the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society or to your favorite charity in his name.