My beloved speaks and says to me: Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away, for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come…Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away.” – Song of Solomon 2:10-13
Paul Popwell, formerly of Birmingham, Alabama, heard this call from his Savior, and stepped peacefully into his Heavenly reward on January 25th, 2022.
Paul was the 4th of 10 children born to F. Iven and Mary Cagel Popwell in Clanton, Alabama, on September 10, 1924. He served his country in the 91st Infantry Division of the 5th Army in the World War 2 European Theater from July, 1944, until he was discharged in November, 1945, and was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.
After the war, he moved to Birmingham, Alabama, with his bride, Helen Olene Shaneyfelt Popwell of Jemison, Alabama. There, they built a home and family, raised three children, served their church and community, and shared 70 years of marriage before her death in 2012. Paul worked as a route man and sales manager for Farmbest (formerly Foremost Dairies of the South) from 1948 until 1969, when he began a career in management training and labor relations at Bruno’s Food Stores. He retired from Bruno’s in 1989, much to the delight of his children and grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren, with whom he freely shared his remaining years.
Paul Popwell, affectionally known by his grandchildren as “Dedaddy,” knew the value of a good education, and though his formal education was cut short, he was a life-long learner, seeking knowledge wherever it could be found, and he always encouraged his children and grandchildren to do the same. He especially loved gardening and was always eager to share both his knowledge and the fruits of his labor with others. When he wasn’t in his garden or at the farm, he could be found camping with the grandchildren, or taking his bride out fishing in his bass boat, The Miss Helen.
Paul also spent a great deal of time faithfully serving his church, Deerfoot Baptist Church of Trussville (formerly 85th Street Baptist Church of Birmingham), where he held many different leadership positions over the years and was eventually honored with the title Deacon Emeritus. Paul was also a gifted teacher and public speaker who blessed and changed the lives of countless professionals through his 53-year ministry as an instructor of the Dale Carnegie Course.
Paul was met in Heaven by his bride Helen Popwell, son Jerry Paul Popwell, 8 siblings, and 2 grandchildren.
He has left a legacy in his 2 daughters, Judy Knight (Gary) and Mary Hancock, 8 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, and 4 great-great-grandchildren. He is also survived by one brother, Dalton Popwell (Dana).
Paul always said that a good sermon was like baloney, “good anywhere you cut it off.” He would likely be disappointed in the length of this eulogy, and so we’ll end it here.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Deerfoot Baptist Church.