Michael J. Higgins Funeral Service Inc.

321 South Main Street, New City, NY


Paul A. Valdes Jr.

September 9, 1963September 18, 2019

On September 9th, 1963, at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, Paul Anthony Valdes Sr. and Ann Patricia Thomas welcomed their third child and first son into the world. Paul was affectionately known as “Paulie.” As an adult, he wanted to be called Paul. This was hard for us to do.

Anyone who knows Paul, knows his love of food started as a very young boy. His mother tells the story of finding eaten chicken wing bones hidden is his toy box. And Rhonda remembers Paul taking over her Easy-Bake oven and always asking for food-making gifts like Mr. Peanut Butter Maker and a toy grill for Christmas.

He attended St. Mary Elementary School in the Bronx, New York with his two sisters, Donna and Rhonda, and a host of cousins; Nathan, Marion, Lorena “Pammie,” Dalroyce, Desiree, Leonard, Teddy, Patricia, Jesse, Paul, and Terrance. Our beloved Mama Gert instilled in our family to always stick together. Paul lived by this and by his early training in both the Catholic and Baptist churches. Paul believed in the teachings of God. So much so, he was an Alter Boy, which Paul loved especially because of the added bonus of being able to receive communion.

He began his culinary journey in high school spending half his day at Rockland BOCES learning Culinary Arts and the other half of the day at Clarkstown South as number 72 on their football team. From the beginning, football and food went hand in hand. In fact, this week Paul reminded us that his coach used to bribe him with pizza. His first job was at Ponderosa followed by Red Lobster and the Costco Bakery. He continued his passion for food and culinary arts as he attended and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America.

His professional career began with a position at the prestigious Tavern on the Green. For the following 35 years, restaurants and kitchens across the country were graced with his humor, passion, and creativity. His passion continued with his belief that everyone deserved delicious food. He dedicated his life to serving others in the food industry, at Manhattan College for the Marist Brothers and most of his career managing food services in assisted living facilities. He also started his own catering business --- Rent-A-Chef.

Paul had a strong work ethic. He believed: “No boss will ever fire you for being 10 minutes early to work.” This was demonstrated from his early days when he held the school bus for Rhonda (who was often late) to being early for his chemo treatments despite knowing he would have to wait.

His commitment to his family, blood and otherwise, was shown through his endless generosity. Whether it was shoveling your driveway in the dead of winter, bringing you way too much delicious food, or his comedic words of wisdom, Paul was always there to support family and friends. His generosity was not just for family and friends, Paul always volunteered to work on Christmas Day so his coworkers with kids could be at home with them. He also gave away his earned sick time to a new mother who did not have enough maternity leave time. Even through his illness, he was always making sure that everyone else was okay.

Paul always enjoyed a party. He was the party. Any Sunday during football season he could be found in “The Cave” with a buffet of homemade food and at least three televisions playing the games. He would showcase new culinary creations every Sunday to delight those who attended. All were welcome - he would never turn anyone away. However, controlling the remote on game day was an earned responsibility not for the faint of heart.

Paul lived for competition, whether with others or by driving himself. This was demonstrated by his over 25 years as a cyclist, in POKENO games, Ping Pong matches or Step Challenges with friends and family.

Roddee joined his life in 2008 and was his constant companion and friend. Paul thought of Roddee like the son he never had. When Paul could not walk Roddee, he hired a dog walking service. When he got picked up, Paul said it was like watching his kid go off to camp. One of his greatest concerns in the recent past was Roddee’s future wellbeing.

Paul met Dana Lennon in 2013 and they quickly became inseparable. Their love and affection for each other was obvious to all who knew them. They ultimately became engaged to be married in 2016.

Dana’s expression of her feelings for Paul: “Paul, the love of my life and the life of every party. I will always remember our dancing in the fun room. When the police responded to the neighbor’s noise complaint, they were surprised to find it was just the two for us. You called me your eternal love and I will love you eternally.”

Dana was by his side when our dear “Paulie” courageously transitioned from this life on Wednesday, September 18th, 2019.

Paul leaves behind to celebrate his life: mother Ann Thomas, sisters Rhonda (Carlton), Donna (Ed) and Dana (Zach), brother Darren, fiancé Dana, aunts Ruth and Odessa, uncle Snooky, nieces Shannon (Byron) and Lahna, great nephews Aiden, Avery and Chance, great nieces, Godsons Hunter, Chad and Cameron, and too many cousins and friends to name!


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