Dr. Clifford Paul Group passed on 01/06/2024 at the age of 83 after a lifetime that might have looked, from the outside, unremarkable. But the clear simplicity of the man, his unabashed ability to enjoy life and be delighted by the smallest things, endeared him to all who knew him. His remarkable and unique life was quite impressive! Especially if you were one of the lucky individuals to hear about it since he rarely shared the details. His politeness and gentleness, even in the face of significant health challenges, stayed with him until the very end.
Cliff grew up in Buffalo, New York. Much to his parents’ delight, Cliff was going to become a priest after attending parochial school. As Cliff tells the story, he decided to correct that course and pursue his interest in the medical field. He attended the University at Buffalo and received his undergraduate degree; was accepted to graduate school and earned his PhD in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. Cliff was extremely modest about his academic accomplishments and preferred not to be recognized for his academic achievements. Cliff always spoke so fondly of his parents, siblings, nieces, and nephews and we know they were proud of his accomplishments, even though he didn’t become a priest.
Approximately 40 years ago Cliff decided to move to Kansas City because he felt it was a ‘beautiful green city’. He wanted to experience something new in his life so off he headed here, Kansas City. Cliff loved Kansas City and equally loved his career working in a toxicology laboratory. He would often talk about how his dedicated career at Health Productivity Systems gave structure and function to his life. Cliff was very appreciative of Phil hiring him at HPS and referenced it many times. Cliff worked for HPS for approximately 30 years as the Director. After his retirement he loved meeting with the HPS Gang, as he called it, to enjoy breakfast.
Most did not know this, but Cliff was a very well-known collector of art and comic books…Mix in a lot of loud rock-n-roll and Cliff felt at home. Attending Woodstock was one of his favorite experiences along with countless rock concerts. At one time Cliff owned several pieces of original cell art by Walt Disney. Cliff had also owned extremely rare Karl Marx comics. As Cliff would tell the story, he traded a rare comic for a Walt Disney art cell from the movie Dumbo. He often sold his collectibles at Sotheby’s Fine Art in New York. Cliff acquired these rare pieces of art by writing letters and calling people. Cliff was not a fan of technology and always trusted the ‘old fashioned’ way of doing business. Additionally, Cliff held some of the rarest pieces of Fiesta Dinnerware. The abundant facts he had regarding these interests were astonishing. It was always heartwarming to see Cliff get so excited to share his expertise especially in the company of someone with like interests. He was an intelligent man not just about these topics, but about everything.
While enjoying life, Cliff was walking back from the grocery store December 2022 and was struck by a ‘hit-and-run’ driver leaving him severely injured. Despite extensive injuries, Cliff rallied back with a persistent fight for life and refused to be defeated by these injuries. All were amazed at his progress! It was a miracle! While he had a great recovery, during the past month he encountered some additional health hurdles.
Over the past year Cliff has repeatedly talked about the people who have cared about him and how it has made him feel. He said everyone deserves this feeling and he was so glad he got to experience it. Dean, Kathleen, David, and additional neighbors who have faithfully looked after his home and have taken care of his precious cat, Gwen. Janet, Ron, Connie, Blake, and Ashlyn regularly visited Cliff and entertained him with vivid art all over his walls. With Cliff’s love for art, he helped us understand that all pieces of art must be signed. Of course, each piece is signed on his wall, and he was proud to point that out to visitors. Janet who provided her unconditional love and care for Cliff. Keith & Judy and Barbara and Gale with a showering of cards that Cliff repeatedly admired. Chris and Kate helped Cliff walk through this medical maze with patience and kindness each step of the way and truly cared about his wellbeing. St. Anthony’s Assisted Living who has provided gentle support during his final months and for Hospice for swiftly stepping in during his final days.
Cliff, you started as a mere acquaintance and became part of our family for many years. The four of us had an unbreakable bond. Life has its unique way of putting people together and we are grateful we were able to share ‘living life’ with you. Because of you, our life was better. We thank you for helping us learn about the many ways a ‘family’ can be defined. We will miss the daily phone calls, visits, and journeys we took together ~ Mike, Lori, and Jake.
Cliff was preceded in death by his parents, brother, sisters, and his friend, Rosalyn, from his earlier years. He is survived by his extended family located across the country.
If you wish to honor Cliff’s life and legacy, please adopt an elder. Help someone who might not ask for help. Cliff cared deeply about those less fortunate and faithfully provided support to many organizations each year that helped marginalized individuals. Equally, he cared about endangered and extinct animals and would ask you to help protect them. Cliff would always pick up litter. He was a fanatic about recycling and would say ‘I want to leave the world in a better place’. So, don’t pollute and recycle to keep Cliff happy. Lastly, he would ask you to vote. He followed politics like a religion and would always emphasize ‘you must vote’. For those who knew Cliff, we’re sure you can hear him saying these things with great vigor and articulation as you read this.
Per Cliff’s request, there will not be a service. His ashes will be spread across his cherished requested location.