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October 24, 2013

Remembering Dr. Paul Skalski

Friends gathered to continue celebrating how Paul lived.

By Daniel Herda

The song ‘In my life’ by The Beatles played in MU 107 while friends of Dr. Paul Skalski gathered together to continue to honor his memory by celebrating how he lived.

Skalski was the author of 35 journal articles and book chapters, as well as nine published conference proceedings, 13 encyclopedia entries and more than 70 conference papers and presentations.

“Paul was more than my son, he was my best friend,” said Paul’s mother Sheila. “I never knew all the things he did at school, because when he was with me he was just Paul.”

Dr. James Denny delivered the opening remarks.

At Paul’s funeral, Denny spoke of Paul’s open-mindedness, positive competitiveness, and his enthusiasm for life, and re-instated those qualities before he added a fourth.

“Another quality has come apparent to me since then,” Denny said. “It was Paul’s kindheartedness, to the extreme.”

Denny told a story about how Paul came over to move him and his wife Laura into their new house and how he had to leave Paul alone when they had to run to the store and get mattresses.

While Paul was alone in the house he heard a knock at the door, which turned out to be Denny’s father-in-law, who mistakenly identified Paul as James Denny.

“For ten minutes, Paul pretended to be me,” Denny said. “Never wanting Laura’s father to realize he had made a mistake, and that was the kindheartedness of Paul.”

Dr. Kimberly Neuendorf, a frequent co-author of Paul’s, honored Paul’s academic memory by focusing on his curriculum vitae and making sure that anyone was able to access it on The School of Communication website.

The link to the School of Com website can be found here http://www.csuohio.edu/class/com/

Nuenendorf urged all attendants to explore Paul’s 28-page-vitea and mentioned that his academic legacy and contributions to the mass communication field will continue on for years to come.

Jeffery Bolt, who studied with Paul at Michigan State, re-joined his friend and colleague when Bolt was hired at Cleveland State, using Paul as a reference on his application.

“Paul loved Cleveland so much and helped me get my dream job here at Cleveland State,” said Bolt.

Bolt mentioned how he and Paul had very similar styles and that they were both very adventurous.

“He was a man of so many different hats, usually backwards.” Bolt said. “To me he was a TA, a research instructor, a reference, a colleague, and most importantly a great friend.”

Paul’s students also spoke, mentioning how he was one of their favorite teachers.

Kara Radar, undergraduate student at Cleveland State, said she remembers Paul as her teacher and FRAMES (film research advanced methods for empirical study) researcher.   

She said when she first met Paul she thought he was a fellow undergrad, because he was always dressed in causal clothes and wearing a backwards baseball cap.

“Whenever he talked about videogames his face lit up like my baby brother on Christmas morning,” Radar said. “It was just unforgettable.”

Dr. Leo Jeffries read the same eulogy that he delivered to the Faculty Senate.

Jeffries mentioned many of Paul’s accomplishments and said that Paul was impressive as a young scholar.

“Paul Skalski was the quintessential Cleveland State University success story,” Jeffries said. “He was awarded tenure in 2011 and looked forward to a long fruitful association with his beloved alma madder.”

Lori Kahoe, Paul’s fiancé, joined the many speakers and mentioned more ways that Paul lit up the lives of so many individuals. 

As Lori spoke, she said she would not wipe her tears, nor would she pretend that her heart was not breaking as she spoke to the many gatherers.

“I love how much his work made him happy and how you all made him happy,” Lori said. “You guys gave him a purpose, his students, his colleagues, his friends here.” 

The Paul Skalski gathering ended with comments from Dr. George Ray, director of The School of Communication.

“Paul cared deeply for his teaching, research and his writing,” Ray said. “So it’s fitting that we acknowledge and pay a tribute to the fine work he did, and honor him in the importance that we see in his work.”