Paul E. Trejo, 93, passed away at his home in Newburgh, Indiana, with his wife at his side on September 15, 2020. Paul grew up in the coastal town of Pacific Grove, California where he lived until his graduation from high school.
As a boy during the Great Depression, he contributed to the family finances by selling sacks of pine cones, huckleberries by the quart, magazines door-to-door as well as packing eggs at Holman’s Department Store. At the end of the week he was permitted to keep ten cents for the Saturday matinee. During these formative years he was a Cub Scout, Boy Scout of Pacific Grove Troop 92 and a Sea Scout. At the age of 12 he worked on a commercial fishing boat named the Two Brothers during the summer which helped fuel his love of the sea and the life of a sailor.
During high school Paul excelled in athletics, lettering in track and football three years and winning his class number three years in intramural track. His senior year he was elected captain of the track team.
In July 1944, Paul reported to the Naval V-5/V-12 Unit as an Aviation Cadet at the University of Redlands. When that unit was decommissioned in 1945, Paul was transferred to the University of Southern California where he earned a bachelor of science degree in Naval Science in 1947. He was then commissioned a Midshipman under the Navy’s Halloway Program. He served aboard the USS McCook (DD-496/DMS-36), USS Floyd B. Parks (DD-884), USS Blenny (SS-324), USS Bashaw (SSK-241), and USS Barbero (SSG-317). In 1955 Paul attended the prestigious Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, California where he earned a degree in electrical engineering. He joined the Naval Reserve in 1959 after leaving the regular navy and retired in 1984 with the rank of Captain after forty years of service. His greatest love and accomplishment in life was serving in the United States Navy. During his service Paul earned the following personal decorations: The Presidential Meritorious Service Award and the Navy Commendation Medal. He also earned the following service medals: American Theater World War II, World War II Victory Medal, Navy Occupation Medal with Asian Clasp, China Service Medal, National Defense Medal with star, United States Korean Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and Armed Forces Reserve Medal (Gold Hour Glass), United Nations Service Medal (Korea) and Republic of Korea Service Medal.
During Paul’s reservist years he attended San Jose State University where he earned a master’s degree in physical science. While attending the university he was asked to teach physics as well and after two years left the university and began teaching for the Foothill-De Anza Community College District. His primary subject was astronomy, but would fill in when needed to teach physics and engineering circuit analysis. He installed and ran the planetarium at the Foothill campus and later at the De Anza campus, retiring from the District after twenty-eight years. He authored an astronomy textbook as well as three math books during his years at Foothill-De Anza Community College.
Paul was affiliated with the following organizations at various times throughout his life: United States Submarine Veterans, Inc., Veterans of Foreign Wars, Naval Order of the United States, Military Officers Association of America, Fleet Reserve Association, Navy League of the United States, U.S. Naval Institute, Theta Zi Fraternity, Chi Sigma Chi Fraternity, Masonic Lodge 331 of Pacific Grove, California, Masonic Lodge 680 of Carmel, California, Masonic Lodge 1 of Vincennes, Indiana and the Order of the Scottish Rite, San Jose, California.
Paul was preceded in death by his newborn son, Paul, Jr., his brother Ernest and half-sister Margaret. He is survived by his devoted wife of 32 years, Kathleen, his son Lesley (Miami), his daughter Catherine (Marti), grandchildren Oceana (Leif), Sky, Natashya (Edward), Ruth and Tamara (Shawn) as well as ten great grandchildren. He is also survived by a half-brother Glen (Nathalie) and two half-sisters Hazel (Carl) and Dorothy (Edward).
Paul was a man who achieved so much, asked for so little and will be greatly missed by those who knew and loved him.
Sharon Terry Ollie Dalton says
A great man. A modest man for all of his lifetime achievements, Paul remained humble. He once told me that when he “croaked”
(as only Paul could put serious things and made me laugh.)
He only wanted 4 words on his headstone.
” I did my duty”
Hasta la Vista Querido Pablo mi primo. Mil gracias por tu Vida.
Herb Roach says
Kathleen, I am so sorry to hear that I have lost the best shipmate I ever had. Paul and I had so much in common, especially the sea stories. I was sorry that I lost track of you and Paul when you moved to Evansville. At the Lodge someone was alway inquiring about you and the four stripper. I feel like I never thanked Paul enough for the gun he gave me. I have three children, all of whom are shooters more or less and when my time come to join the SOHF. (Senior Officer of the Heaventh Fleet), one of them who gets the high card will get the rifle and a lot of sea stories about the Floyd B. Parks. I can’t tell you how much I really cared for Paul. Herb Roach
Natashya Sumitra says
My grandpa was one of the most brilliant, hard – working people I’ve ever met. He encapsulated the American dream, coming from a disadvantaged place and scraping his way and leading our family to a higher one. I’m so grateful for his example and legacy that he’s left behind for our family and the many others who were impacted by his translation and authentication services for the missions. His memory was immaculate. He could visualize and see everything from the past. And what a story – teller he was! I won’t forget you, Grandpa. Kathleen, you have been a perfect counterpart to him all the years you’ve been together. Thank you for your constant love and support. The second half of his life was blessed by your dogged devotion and witty quips that also kept him down to earth. Much love to you and to Grandpa Paul’s memory.
Tamaya Trejo says
Said Goodbye to my Grandpa at Neskowin State Recreational Area, OR yesterday. He was a man of many talents and achievements. I thank him for passing down the tenaciously disciplined gene so I could become a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. He was dearly loved by Kathleen who took such great care of him. I’ll never forget all the random people shaking his hand in Indiana thanking him for his service when he sported his veterans cap. He was a humble hero of his generation. He loved his generation. I think he greatly looked forward to meeting with his friends In heaven that he had lost in years prior. I sensed one of the greatest sadnesses of his life was losing most of his high school classmates in WWII. I enjoyed his stories over the years. One of my favorite days visiting him was when he was still living in Monterey, took me to visit the Catholic Diocese, and showed me the entry written in Father Serras’ writing the marriage of Emmanuel Butron. He helped a lot of people trace their heritage through his talent to read Latin. He is missed. Tamaya Trejo
Alejandra Hernández Clemente says
Siento mucho la muerte de Paul Edgar Trejo.
Desde el año 2018 he intentado contactar con él, pero ha sido imposible.
Mi nombre es Alejandra Hernández Clemente, soy española y he nacido en Rafal (Alicante), el mismo pueblo donde nacieron en el siglo XVIII sus antepasados, José Butrón y Josefa Ros, padres del soldado Manuel Butrón, que fue a California con fray Junípero Serra, y que se quedó para siempre en esa tierra donde se casó con la nativa India Domínguez, que son sus ancestros. Soy historiadora y estoy investigando sobre la vida de Manuel Butrón. Por favor, si quieren comunicarse conmigo pueden hacerlo a través de la página web http://arcarafal.es
Con mi agradecimiento por su atención, reciban mis condolencias y mi cordial saludo.
Catherine Trejo says
My father, Paul Trejo, lived a life of adventure. I have many memories as a youngster of trips across the country, fishing, watching his Navy vessels dock and playing Big Brown Bear! As adults, we enjoyed reviewing his years of research on family history, as well as discussing his years as an astronomy teacher and stargazer. He loved hearing about the wildlife my camera captured on the property he left to me, always concerned about health of the Sierra foothills.
My children, Oceana and Sky, loved his Navy stories and his love of animals.
Now dad, you are in the Cosmos, where you and Carl Sagan can explore new worlds.
Paul Dangreau says
Paul was one of the finest men we have ever known. A dear friend and proud sailor. We loved hearing his stories almost as much as he loved telling them. Paul and Kathleen may have moved away to Indiana but they will be forever in our hearts. Until we meet again, may God hold you in his arms, free from pain.
Rest in peace,
Paul and Cheryl Dangreau
Christine Schwald says
Rest In Peace Sir.
Thank you for such distinguished service to our country and to the youth of America.
May Perpetual Light forever shine upon you.
Sincerest condolences to those left to mourn.
Christine Schwald, Mountlake Terrace, Washington
Fellow Los Californianos member # 1875
Glenda Parkin says
The days may be sad at the moment because it’s hard to let our parent’s go. We pray that you and your family share many happy memories. Let those memories be a testament to the amazing man you called Husband, Dad, Grandpa and Friend.
Sending you Blessings of Comfort,
Alan and Glenda Parkin
Lynn Adams, Los Californianos says
Paul’s knowledge of early California history and genealogy was greatly appreciated by many. My sincere condolences to the family.
Wade D Willingham says
My condolences to Captain Trejo’s family. I just saw in my FRA Naval Affairs magazine, where the Captain had passed away. I am a retired Navy Command Master Chief and after retirement, I moved to PG and eventually became assistant principal at Monterey High School. I joined the Fleet Reserve Association Branch 178, Monterey, CA. That is where my friendship began with Captain Trejo. I always enjoyed his sea stories and just rubbing elbows with him. Always a pleasure to see him. after 18 years in Monterey, I relocated to Norfolk, VA. I lost touch with many friends. The Branch 178 members were great folks and Captain Trejo was at the top. Again, my condolences to the family. “Fair Winds and Following Seas, Captain.”
Priscilla Sandoval says
Our cousin Paul was always busy. He wrote a book about The Garner family which was an extension to the book Letters from California. Paul and my father, Wm. R. Garner, were close in age and good friends. I appreciated all the visits and e-mails from our dear cousin. He worked for the Mission Diocese in Monterey as a record keeper. We had great talks about our family’s history over great family bar-b-ques in the backyard. He is fondly remembered and will never be forgotten.
D VanPraag says
Sorry to hear of his passing.
I was inspired by Prof Trejo’s command of science topics and good natured stories from the Navy. I attended his Astronomy and Meteorology classes at De Anza College during Summer term of 1971 . It was my first college classes and I always looked forward to his excellent lectures .