Oxley-Heard Funeral Home has been serving the community since 1931.
Paul Alva Gosnell

Paul Alva Gosnell

February 28, 1947 - February 21, 2019     Age: 71

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.

17 Condolences

  • Carol Ann Atwood Posted February 22, 2019 5:29 pm

    I’m so sorry. PAUL and I had a special ROSE bond ?

  • Susan Markiw, PT Posted February 23, 2019 3:14 pm

    I am sorry to learn of Paul’s passing. I had the pleasure of working with him during physical therapy and enjoyed our conversations about so many topics. May he rest in peace surrounded by beautiful flowers in the Garden of Heaven.

  • Juanita Jean Posted February 23, 2019 4:34 pm

    We are so sad that this strong and loving soul has passed. He lived his life fiercely and loved his family so very much. Paul’s was a life demonstrating that adversity does not have to stop the enjoyment of family and things he loved. We will miss his indomitable spirit.
    Nita Jean & Joey Cruz

  • Josie Hamm Posted February 25, 2019 5:34 pm

    Our heart felt condolences to the Gosnell family & friends. His daughter Kelly and I met while our husbands were stationed at Beale AFB, CA. May he Rest In Peace.

  • Margo J Story Posted February 26, 2019 9:01 am

    May the perpetual light shine upon Paul…..my deepest condolences to the family.

  • Pat and Nita Russell Posted February 26, 2019 1:43 pm

    We are deeply saddened by the passing of Paul and our thoughts and prayers go out to Valerie and all the family and friends. We were so fortunate to be with Paul and Valerie at our 50th Reunion from the AF Academy.

  • Sheryl Wilkes Posted February 26, 2019 3:36 pm

    Paul was a very sweet man. I am sorry for your loss and pray for peace and comfort for the family .

  • CAPT John Pulsinelli, USN (ret) Posted February 27, 2019 10:53 am

    Our Brother in Christ, Paul, is not gone. His Spirit lives on in the hearts and minds of all who knew him. Paul showed us All how to live our Faith and accept God’s Will with courage, resolve and dignity. He was a True Patriot, who served his country with the same passion, dedication, and committment that he served his God, Family and extended family at St. Michael’s. May our Brother Paul find eternal peace and rest in the Arms of his Good Shepherd.

  • DJ Stoddard Posted February 27, 2019 3:57 pm

    Brother Paul was a true Catholic gentleman. Never have I heard him speak ill of any man. His dedication to the Knights of Columbus was ever present, his being a founding member of the local council and fourth-degree assembly in Fernandina Beach left a lasting impression on me and others of how a truly Catholic man lives his life.
    You will be sadly missed, my friend.

  • Van Dyke Walker Posted February 28, 2019 8:37 am

    Paul, I celebrate your life, love and friendship. While our paths didn’t cross everyday, but oh boy when they did…I will never forget your calling my name, jumping out of the car and we stopped traffic in front of the theater on Lime St for a big bear hug. Then you taught me servant-leadership through the hundreds of volunteer hours you gave to the County mastergardner program. You planted, weeded, pruned, installed, repaired micro-irrigation in so many gardens. Our time together in demonstration garden at the government center taught me the joy of watching flowers grow and florish with proper care. Well, you filed your final flight plan, flew up in the wild blue yonder for the final time and landed at your eternal home not built with hands. Paul, I salute you, rest in peace.

  • Jody Mackle Posted February 28, 2019 2:09 pm

    I knew Paul as a mentor in Take Stock in Children, a role he filled admirably. He would be happy to know that his student completed his college degree and is now serving in the US Coast Guard. My condolences to Paul’s family and friends.

  • Glenda, Kevin, Michael and David Lynch Posted March 1, 2019 8:04 am

    Dear Kelly and family, May the fond memories of the wonderful times you shared with your amazing Dad and our heartfelt condolences, love and prayers bring comfort and lift you all up during this difficult time.

  • Catherine and Ron Turner Posted March 1, 2019 10:45 am

    …and the greatest, is Love. Thank you, Paul.

  • Stephen Craig Posted March 3, 2019 9:27 am

    My condolences and prayers. I remember Paul from the Intelligence and maybe F-4 days. Always the helpful professional and a great mentor. “Here’s a nickel on the grass.”

  • Stephanie Higbee Posted March 17, 2019 7:13 pm

    Dear Valerie,
    Mr Gosnell touched my heart and I am so sorry to just find out about his passing. My heart goes out to you! He will be missed more than words can express. i love you

  • Joel Miller Posted March 20, 2019 5:17 pm

    Paul helped me thru UPT @Resse AFB …ultimate officer & gentleman

  • Charlie Schoening Posted April 23, 2019 8:51 pm

    Our families were stationed together at Kadena in Okinawa, Japan. Tim and Kelly were my childhood friends (Go Barracudas!). My condolences to the entire family.

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