Paul Tendler: My Friend, My Hero

A personal tribute to Jawonio's Paul Tendler


Dear Editor:

At first he was just the guy who lived across the street from Lynne and me. We waved to each other as we drove out of our respective driveways; just the way neighbors do who are not yet friends. How could I ever know how important his friendship would be to me?

One morning we both joined Goody Katzen for breakfast and I was introduced to Paul’s smile and the twinkle in his eye; I was hooked. Our relationship evolved into a friendship and so much more. 

Paul was my mentor, as he made me aware of people who had challenges that I had given little thought to before we became friends. He didn’t set out to do this, however his commitment was contagious and eventually Lynne and I became involved in some small way either through Jawonio or in sponsoring special services at Temple Beth Shalom. Our daughters Lauren and Randi got involved with Jawonio and it was because of this that Lauren went on to become a teacher of the deaf.

Paul was my confidant and to some degree I was his, as we both confided lots in each other from the good, the great and the not so good.

In addition to his family, Jawonio was his life and for many years he would not let cancer stop him from continuing the journey of building this fine organization to serve as many people as possible. Because of Paul’s continuous dedication, an unbelievable number of people were helped with the challenges they face every day. He was their advocate and his name will always remind us of his tremendous devotion and accomplishments.

Paul’s family was his life and he made certain they always knew it. I knew it as he made me feel like family as well.

What will the world be like without my friend Paul?

  • It will have one less advocate for those in need of help.
  • It will have one less man who put others first.
  • It will have one less husband, father, and grandfather who put his family above all else.
  • It will have one less guy with a wonderful smile and a twinkle in his eye.

And finally, I will have one less friend that I have loved dearly and I know he loved me; as one of the last things he asked me in the hospital was “did I ever tell you I love you?"

Paul was my friend and hero and always will be.

Michael Goodman
Higland Beach, FL 

Diana Hess July 24, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Thank you Mike on behalf of all of us who feel this loss deeply as well-your words are so beautiful and heartfelt. I know this will be a great source of comfort to Sandy and family as well as us in the larger Jawonio family and community. Your letter is a gift to us all. Diana Hess Chief Communications Officer Jawonio
RUTH HESS July 24, 2012 at 04:04 PM
That was both a beautiful and a "heart-tugging" tribute to Paul. I knew Paul and Sandy first as parents of Robin, who was a student at Link School when I was a principal there, and later I knew him as Diana's "boss" at Jawonio. Jawonio occupied a large part of his heart.
kerry July 25, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Very nice tribute. I attended College with Paul's daughter Laura. I did not really know him but his daughter is a great person.


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