Paul Maschhoff

Paul MaschhoffPaul Maschhoff was a lifelong resident of China Lake and Ridgecrest. His parents were both naval officers who had actually met and gotten married at China Lake. They had three boys and one girl. Paul was the youngest child. His family, like almost all civilian workers lived in a large duplex on the base. He joined the first Scout troop in the area, attended Catholic church and enjoyed bowling at the local lanes and going to the pool on the base.

Then, when he was 7 years old, his parents divorced. He and his sister moved into a tiny trailer with their mom. His two brothers lived with their father. Paul’s life changed drastically. He stayed in Scouts, but treats like movies and bowling disappeared. Even food became short.

When Paul was 10 years old, his mother remarried to a Navy cook. Once again, his life changed. The house became packed with food and new clothes. He also learned to cook and soon could be seen driving his motorcycle up the alleys to the old Sandwich Shop and later the Hideaway.

He was big for his age and did school sports and Boy Scouts. He went on 50-mile hikes through the Sierra and saw petroglyphs and other sights that most people never knew existed.

After Paul graduated from Burroughs High School, he enlisted in the US Navy. He did several tours and was one of the only a few Boy Scouts to receive his Eagle Scout rank while stationed in Vietnam. He also spent Christmas in Bethlehem.

When Paul left the Navy, he worked for Immanuel Baptist Church. Then he was hired by the city of Ridgecrest. Paul loved this job. It was his life.

I met him in 1993, and he was constantly talking about meeting someone he knew from his job. He was the only person l knew who never had a bad day. The city parks were, in a way his Shangra La — “his parks” — and he took pride in each one. I remember riding beside him on the mower at Rocket Park. He loved mowing and smelling the fresh grass. Paul could recount the entire history of Ridgecrest and China Lake. He always talked about the people he had met and their stories. We could not go anywhere without him meeting someone he knew.

Paul and l were married in 1996 in a balloon during the first Ridgecrest Balloon Festival. Paul also gained two stepchildren when he married me. Between Scouting, work, and his help with my daughter’s chronic illness, Paul was constantly busy. But he loved both Scouting and his work.

Sadly, things began to go wrong as he got older. Through a combination of poor health, city funding cuts and politics, Paul was pushed into early retirement after 20 years. There was no retirement party or warning, just a “do not come back.” He went into a deep depression. Even his life-long friend, Mike Kinkennon, could not cheer him up.

In 2010 his stepson Alex had to have an emergency liver transplant. This was due to undiagnosed liver failure despite constant visits to his childhood doctor, his childhood PA and the ER. We were forced to move to L.A. due to his constant rejections. Sadly, Paul decided to stay in Ridgecrest although he visited us a lot. He did not want to leave his beloved desert.

When he came to visit in August 2017, he slipped in the tub. The ambulance came and he went to the hospital, but was released. On Aug. 3, he was feeling sick. We called the ambulance. He was awake and asking for his ID and VA cards. The paramedics decided they could carry him down the stairs although we begged them to bring the gurney. There was a sharp crack as his head hit the stairs — and then silence. We begged the drivers to let us accompany him in the ambulance, but were not allowed to. Paul never regained consciousness and passed away in the hospital.

Paul was a kind and giving person who never hesitated to help anyone. He allowed them to stay in his spare room, rarely asking for anything in return, that’s just the person he was. He loved animals, especially his cat Mittens (who sadly passed a month before he did) and our dog Sunny who would sit on his lap for hours. To this day, Sunny still looks around for him but cannot find him.

Paul — we think of you all the time. You were one of the kindest people I ever knew. I wish you had been with us longer. You are truly missed by more people then you know. The world needs more people like you.

There will be a funeral mass will be held at St. Ann on Saturday, Oct. 27, followed by a burial with military honors at Desert Memorial Park.

Paul is survived by his wife and two stepchildren as well as two older brothers and an older sister and numerous nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Ridgecrest Animal Shelter in memory of Paul. Thank you.

— Submitted by Linda Malnassey

Story First Published: 2018-10-26