Paul E. Price, 68, a longtime pillar of the Everett community in many ways, died Tuesday in Pittsburgh after a brief illness.
Price was an advertising account manager and director of creative services for the Bedford Gazette and Shopper’s Guide, an active emergency medical technician with Raystown Ambulance, the Everett Volunteer Fire Company, and was universally known for his portrayal of Santa Claus on many events in Everett.
“Where to start with someone like that?” said Everett Fire Company Deputy Chief Chuck Stone, who said he served with Price on the fire company, Raystown ambulance, church and Christmas lighting committee.
“He was everywhere,” Stone said. “The community as a whole has lost a valuable asset.”
“Paul was not just a colleague for over 20 years, but a good friend,” said Gazette editor Joe Beegle. “His kindness and love for family and community was contagious. His drive to help his clients succeed was second to none. I will miss the morning chats and sharing photos of our families. Words cannot describe how much he will be missed.
Some of Price’s other activities included The Everett Jaycees, The Lions Club, The Jaffa Shrine, The Knights Templar, Everett Masonic Lodge F.&A.M. No. 524, and the Everett Christmas Lighting Committee. He became a board member of the Raystown Ambulance Service and the Southern Alleghenies EMS Council.
“Paul has volunteered his time as a board member of the Southern Alleghenies EMS Council,” said Gary Watters, president of the Southern Alleghenies EMS Council. “He was a lowly advocate for emergency medical services in Bedford County and the southern Alleghenies region. During Paul’s short tenure, he provided meaningful and impartial input. Her goal was to improve EMS in her community. We are honored and better to have shared our time with Paul.
Shaun Akers, owner of Akers Funeral Home Inc. in Everett and Saxton, was one of Price’s Gazette advertising clients, though he said their business relationship was overshadowed by his sense of loss because Price had done so much for the Everett community. .
Still, he said, working with Price “was just a great experience.”
“He put his heart and soul into my ads,” Akers said. “He took pride in displaying the image that was best for my business.”
Over the years, Price has been recognized as the Lions Club Citizen of the Year, The Bedford Elks Citizen of the Year, Everett Volunteer Fire Company Fireman of the Year, Top 100 Outstanding Everett Graduates, recognized by the Bedford County Sports Hall of Fame for his life’s achievements, and multiple Best of the Best Bedford Gazette awards for his weekly Shoppers Guide column, “A Gift From the Heart.”
Although he was not a member of the Gazette newsroom, he was a significant contributor almost daily.
“I couldn’t begin to guess how much advice he gave us,” said editor Paul Rowan. “Everything that happened, he knew.
“And he was always there to get the news – fires, accidents, whatever. It wasn’t his calling, but he could have been a great journalist if he had chosen to. He was certainly a great photographer,” Rowan continued. “And he was a friend and mentor to everyone in the building.”
His portrayal of Santa Claus brings to mind a vivid memory for associate editor Ryan Spring.
“I can’t remember the exact year, but the first time my wife and I took our son to Everett during the Christmas season, I remember so many young people lining up to meet Santa at the library,” Spring said. “We have waited long enough. Now it’s normal for rows of kids to see Santa anywhere, but I really believe Paul’s way with people was a reason for the attendance. I’m sure it was like that every year he did it.
“In terms of working with him at the Gazette, Paul was a valuable asset for sure, certainly in the few months I’ve been in the newsroom after years on the beat sport.”
Facebook posts flooded Price’s personal page and that of Raystown Ambulance.
• “Many moons ago you were my wedding photographer and you helped make this day special. Recently I was desperate and you were in the transport. I was so scared you held my hand. hand, which was the greatest comfort to me. Thank you Paul. May you RIP. — Darla Clark
• “May God richly bless the family of Paul Price. When I had to go to the hospital, Paul helped transport me. I was in a lot of pain and Paul helped me play the game that if you can take the pain for one minute, you can take it for two. If you can stand it for two, then you can stand it for four, and so on. He spoke to me and assured me that everything would be fine. Paul has done so for many and has been a pillar of our community in myriad ways. Walt Whitman once wrote, “The powerful piece continues and you may contribute a verse.” Well done, Pau, you brought your verse…” — Jan Zimmerman
• “My heart is broken. Paul made human interaction an art and the culmination of this was his annual stint as Santa Claus from Everett. As a friend and colleague, Paul was a crate of resonance, an inexhaustible source of information and a source of common sense in a mad world. Simply put, Paul was a person whose mold was broken the day he was created and his absence is going to be felt in Bedford County. — Katie Smolen
Price is survived by his wife, the former Sharon Foor; children Amanda, the significant other Jason Snyder and Jennifer, married to Andy Clark; six grandchildren: Kyle, Owen, married to Savannah; Wyat and his significant other Maggie; Emma, Ivey and Cami; great-grandson Jaxon; and one sister, Pamela (Price) Rote and her husband Marvin Rote and family.
After Friday’s funeral, there will be a procession from First Christian Church on Providence Street to Akers Funeral Home at 299 Raystown Road.
Raystown ambulance units will be lined up near the church with one unit in front of the church. All aircraft wishing to participate in the procession must line up behind Raystown units on Providence Street and West 3rd Avenue.
The processional route will begin at the church heading east on West 4th Avenue to State Street. Then on East South Street through Raystown Ambulance Hall and turning onto Spring Street. From there, the motorcade will travel to Akers Funeral Home where all gear can depart northbound on Raystown Road towards Route 26.
Following the services, a meal will be served at the Breezewood Volunteer Fire Station.