James Thomas Paul

October 13, 1951 - July 16, 2019


Obituary For James Thomas Paul

James (Jim) Thomas Paul, known as JPaul by his music family, passed away on Tuesday, July 16, 2019, at home. Diagnosed with congestive heart failure over sixteen years ago, Jim led a full life; strong in his faith, devoted to his family, passionate about his music, and generous to his fellow man.

He was born in Endicott, New York on October 13, 1951, son of the late Francis G. and Lillian E. Paul. Growing up in an active family of five children, Jim played golf, went snow skiing, excelled in scouting, and was a NY state high school diving champion.

A successful career of 30 years at IBM led him from Endicott, NY to Boulder, Colorado (where he earned his undergraduate and MBA degrees) and finally Raleigh, North Carolina in 1992.

Retiring in 2003, Jim spent time with family, played golf, cheered on his favorite football team – the Denver Broncos- every Sunday, and he never missed watching a Duke basketball game or a PGA tournament.

However, his avocation was music: a country singer, guitar player, and songwriter. He produced a CD “Simple Thoughts” followed by the Betty Swain Project CD recorded in Nashville. In his final days, Jim recorded eight songs he had written. The CD “Endless Thoughts” will be released soon. He shared his love of music, encouraged others to learn to play guitar; instilled confidence to participate in meet-up groups and open mics. He gave guitars to children and taught them to play in after school programs. During a recent stay at Wake Med, he did an impromptu concert for staff and patients.

Prior to his death about 150 musicians and friends honored him with a musical tribute at Saints and Scholars. Jim performed for the last time.
Jim will always be remembered for his infectious smile and sense of humor- that Colorado cowboy with the handlebar mustache. He saw the good in everyone and challenged them to pursue their dreams.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Rachel Hargrave Paul. He is survived by his wife of over 25 years, Sandra; his son, Ford Paul; stepsons, Brad Manning (wife, JJ) and Tucker Beck; his everyday companion, Connor, a 7 year old miniature goldendoodle; brothers, Stephen, John, David; sister, Becky Komokowski; and lots of nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to one of the charities important to the Paul family:

Alzheimers Association (act.alz.org)
Eastern North Carolina Chapter
5171 Glenwood Avenue
Suite 101
Raleigh, NC 27612
800-272-3900, 919-803-8285

Guitarists for Good (https://www.guitaristsforgood.org/) - There’s a “donate” button on the top right of this link.

From the organizer:
"Guitarists for Good is a volunteer, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization founded in Raleigh that shares its love of music by giving the gift of guitars, with a focus on those places serving the temporarily homeless in our communities. We find that the healing power of music offers peace of mind, the ability to cope with struggles, and comfort during a shelter stay. I started Guitarists for Good three years ago, in my backyard because, music and the Guitar Meetup Group RTP kept my sadness at bay when my daughter moved away (I'm sure it goes without saying that J. Paul's meet-up group did the same for many of us), so I wanted to make sure that homeless musicians could find a place to calm their sadness through music and guitar, too”


24 Jul


01:00 PM - 01:45 PM

Greystone Baptist Church 7509 Lead Mine Road RALEIGH, NC 27615 Get Directions »
24 Jul

Celebration of Life Service

02:00 PM

Greystone Baptist Church 7509 Lead Mine Road RALEIGH, NC 27615 Get Directions »
by FHW Solutions

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  • 09/01/2020

    I dont know where to start.... this was the fun loving man I first met 26 years ago with his son Ford and my best friend Sandra who became his wife. The descriptions of Jim are hard to describe....he came to your aid when had done something dumb and had go to the hospital. I had the pleasure of Jim trying to figure out how to get me in the car when I couldnt put weight on a foot I messed up....Jim did not laugh at me crawling in the car on my knees with my behind in the air....He was a man I truly loved....I enjoyed my time with Jim when he played his music :notes: he made me feel free. Jim was talented, giving man and many more traits. Until we meet again:heart::kissing_heart: I love you very much and will miss you :kissing_heart:

  • 09/01/2020

    I first met Jim when he was still at IBM at the RTP facility. We had occasional business related interactions prior to his retirement in 2003. After that we had several golf outings together which eventually evolved into a monthly poker game that went on for a few years. I greatly enjoyed sharing a golf cart with Jim for a few hours. I listened very intently when he shared his thoughts on the latest stock picks or other investments that he favored at the time. Moreover, he really embraced the retirement lifestyle and it served as an inspiration to me to try to "live large" whenever possible. When my son temporarily showed an interest in music, Jim offered to give him guitar lessons. When my son failed to follow through on his "homework" that was assigned by Jim, I told Jim not to return for more lessons. I didn't want Jim to waste his talent and generosity on a kid that clearly didn't respect it enough to follow through. RIP Jim and thanks for the many life lessons.

  • 09/01/2020

    Im honored and blessed to have Jim Paul as my friend. His love for Sandra and his family was the most important thing in his life. He was the most positive, talented, funny, giving man. Jim always saw the bright side, even when he knew the end was coming. I cherish my special time with Jim. He was and always will be an inspiration to all that had the pleasure of knowing him. I love you Jim Paul! Until we meet again:heart:

  • 09/01/2020

    I joined Jim's Learn & Share on July 1st 2013 at what was then the Luxury Box on Glenwood Avenue. Before that I had been playing the same dozen songs or so, alone at my house. That meetup awakened my long-dormant love of playing and singing. It changed my life! I've run the meetup for five years now, and Jim was unfailingly encouraging and supportive of me all the way. Jim never met a stranger. As soon as you came through the door he would greet you and make you feel welcome. With many of us, this meetup was a pivot point, where we could either blossom musically or retreat back into our private shells. Jim's encouragement was often exactly what was needed to make us blossom. I never forgot that and to this day I try to emulate his open-arms approach to leadership. Thank you so much Jim for everything you've done for me and the rest of the RTP music community. You will be missed!!!!!

  • 09/01/2020

    James, always lived on the sunny side of life. His humor was unmatched he would always make you laugh. My little brother played Amazing Grace our mother's favorite and How Great Thou Art for my late wife Arlene's memorial in 2012.

  • 09/01/2020

    Jim, we met over 40 years ago and I loved sitting and listening to you and your brother playing the guitars and singing. Keep that music going in heaven enjoy your next journey :heart: RIP Heather & Gene

  • 09/01/2020

    Sending condolences from Tippetts Mill. What an amazing musician. We are deeply saddened by this loss. His smile was so contagious. Definitely one amazing man that will be missed.

  • 09/01/2020

    There will always be a place in my heart for Jim. We worked together in Endicott, NY and moved to CO together in 1975. We shared a nice apartment in Gunbarrel. Oh the fun we had. Our bad boy activities were interrupted occasionally with skiing, golf, soccer and boating. Jim was an all-round athlete. Surprisingly good at sports. I always enjoyed being with him. I smile when I think of Jim. I am proud of what he accomplished with family and music after our time together. Farewell my friend. Ken Battaglini

  • 09/01/2020

    I first met Jim as a classmate in 7th grade, where I quickly learned of his fun loving spirit. We had the same group of friends...attending parties, school events, and frequenting local eateries. Jim was always the life of the party. Little did I know that years later, I would be privileged to know him as a brother-in-law and experience his talents as a guitar player, songwriter, and singer. It was such a joy to hear him perform; you could always tell it was straight from the heart. Im deeply saddened by the loss. I will remember Jims infectious laugh, his soulful music, and his joyful spirit....a special man from a very special family. Bill and I send deepest sympathy and prayers to all the Pauls. Love, Toni

  • 09/01/2020

    Lit a candle in memory of James Thomas Paul

  • 09/01/2020

    Doug and I so enjoyed seeing J. Paul recently at a tribute for him ! He was such a special Man and amazing Musician! We shall remember his sweet spirit and big smile always! We are so sorry for your loss and send our love and prayers ! He will continue to play and sing up in heaven for all the Angels !:pray::sweat:

  • 09/01/2020

    Sandra my heart goes out to you. This is a difficult time and please know that we are thinking of you and you have all of our prayers.

  • 09/01/2020

    I am so sorry to hear about Jim's passing. I knew Jim many years ago. He was a fun loving, sweet person that very much cared about friends and family. Reading the other comments showed the he continued to be that loving person with many gifts and talents throughout the years. I just contacted Jim a couple of weeks before his passing sending a picture showing his fun loving nature (attached) I hope it is a reminder of of a great guy. Vicki (Cannon) Howard

  • 09/01/2020

    Lovely words, Toni! Jim and his music will remain in our hearts and minds for as long as I'll be able to remember!!!

  • 09/01/2020

    Sending our love to Sandra, Ford, and family. We have been so fortunate to have you as our neighbors for the past 25 years, and continue to be here for you. Curt and I have enjoyed Jims music and hold onto his CDs with fond memories.

  • 09/01/2020

    I first met Jim 47 years ago as he welcomed me to the Paul family as his brother Daves girlfriend/fianc. From the very first day, his friendly laugh, wonderful family stories and caring personality made me feel part of his family. I treasured our growing relationship over the years, and especially loved how he welcomed our adopted daughter Tracey to the family: always caring, always fun-loving, and always inclusive. His incredible creativity helped to spark hers as well: hers in the fine arts, and his with his strong musical talent. I will always remember him singing at the Paul family events, with every child enraptured with his music, his songs, his singing and great guitar playing. Sending lots of love to the JPaul family here in Raleigh, and please know his impact and musical and loving legacy will live forever, just like his music. Love, Val

  • 09/01/2020

    I believe the measure of a man is determined in part by the number of people he has favorably influenced. Jim has touched so many directly and indirectly. He will be missed, not just by those who know him... but by those he would have undoubtedly come to know .... very happy to have known him Dave Hedrick

  • 09/01/2020

    1 file added to the tribute wall

  • 09/01/2020

    What a beautiful and talented man that touched so many lives. He will be truly missed. We are keeping his family in our thoughts and prayers. -Phyllis at Allen Tate Realtors

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