This obituary originally appeared on Memorial Funeral Home.
Architect Edwin Haley Paul, 95, died of natural causes at his home in Newport, RI. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Judith Page Paul, and four children: Alison (San Diego, CA), Meredith (Portsmouth, RI), Andrew (Houston, TX) and Sara and son-in-law Dan Krewson (Oakland, CA); three grandchildren: Clara Gabriel (Providence), Aidan Gabriel and wife Sima Aziz (Dana Point, CA), and Pierson Palmer (San Diego, CA); and sister June Ritchie (Cape Carteret, NC).
The son of John (Jack) Paul and Edith (Midge) Haley, Ed grew up in White Plains, NY. At age six he contracted polio and overcame the impacts of that disease for the rest of his life. He graduated from White Plains High School, and then Columbia College, where he was president of his senior class, and the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he earned a Master of Architecture degree. After graduation Ed worked for Perkins and Will as lead designer on several award-winning projects.
Ed was passionate about sailboats, and he spent as much time on the water as he could.
In August 1951, he introduced himself to his future wife by sailing smartly past her anchored boat and inviting her for a ride. They celebrated their marriage on a dock in Rye, NY on June 14, 1952, and sailed off on their honeymoon. Six years and three children later, he started construction of a house for his family in Greenwich, CT.
The contemporary family home he designed was featured in articles in The New York Times Magazine and House & Garden magazine in 1965. This publicity allowed Ed to quit his office job and start his own practice, based out of that house.
For the next 40 years, the contemporary houses he designed in and around Greenwich were distinctive for the area, and are now seen as inspired examples of mid-century modern architecture. Many of his clients became life-long friends.
In 1967, shortly after the arrival of daughter Sara, Ed and Judy bought a cottage on the water in Clinton, CT and the extended family created many sunny memories in the rocking chairs on the front porch and formed great friendships at the water’s edge.
In the early 1980s, he became enamored with an unusual catboat – the Nonsuch – which was recognized for being broad of beam and very roomy below deck, yet remarkably easy to sail with minimal crew. Cruising World Magazine called Ed “the self-appointed leader of the Nonsuch class” as he created an extended family of boat owners that he brought together through an entertaining newsletter, personal outreach, and by organizing several boisterous regattas. He founded and served as president of the International Nonsuch Association for many years. In recognition of the efforts he put into bringing the boat into the mainstream, manufacturer George Hinterholler gifted Ed a brand new boat at a rendezvous in 1985.
He gradually retired from his full-time architectural practice and he and Judy bought and renovated an old building on Thames Street in Newport, RI. Judy opened an antiques shop – Prince Albert’s. Ed helped in the store, expanded his architectural projects to include new homes and renovations in Rhode Island and sailed Narragansett Bay in their Nonsuch ‘Magnificat’.
Music – opera and jazz – was always playing in Ed’s home office. The Newport Jazz Festival weekend often coincided with Ed’s birthday, and listening to the opening night of the festival while feasting on ice cream from a nearby parking lot was an honored tradition.
When the home he designed for his own family was recognized by the Greenwich Historical Society in 2017, it gave him an opportunity to produce a retrospective of some of his architectural works and reconnect with old friends. His study – titled A Quartet of Mid-Century Houses – was published in 2019.
During their 68 years of marriage, Ed and Judy observed cocktail hour at 5:00 pm (even if no alcohol was involved) to socialize and share stories of the day. Over the years, many friends and family joined them in countless memorable gatherings, both large and small.
Ed picked up the habit of saying, from Judy’s college roommate, of saying “Rabbit Rabbit” on the first of every month to bring good luck. He carried on this unique tradition via phone, text message and personal greetings until the last day of his life.
In lieu of flowers, the Paul family asks that contributions in Ed’s memory be made to your favorite charitable organization. Services will be private.