Obituary - Last World War One Veteran Aboard Battleship Texas

World War I Navy veteran Paul Elliott passed away on January 14th 2005 at the Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center in Chula Vista, CA after a brief illness. He was 105. Paul Elliott served in World War I as a Pharmacist’s Mate aboard the battleship USS Texas (BB-35) during 1917-1919 and was her oldest living veteran. He later again served in the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman in World War II.

Paul was born in Terre Haute, Indiana on February 6, 1899. He had 3 brothers. Paul enlisted in the Navy in 1917, did basic training at Great Lakes Naval Station, Illinois and was then assigned to the USS Texas. On the USS Texas he participated in patrols with the British Grand Fleet in the North and Baltic Seas (webmaster note - TEXAS was never in the Baltic Sea). After the Battle of Jutland, the German Fleet stayed in port for the rest of the war. At war’s end, he witnessed the German Fleet surrender at the Firth of Forth in Scotland. In mid December 1918, the USS Texas set out to sea from England and met up with the USS George Washington and escorted her to Brest, France. On board was President Woodrow Wilson, who was en route to the Paris Peace talks. In March 1919, he witnessed the USS Texas launch the first aircraft ever from a ship, a British Sopwith Camel. A wooden plank runway was used for takeoff but it was too short for attempting landing. Paul was discharged from the Navy in September, 1919.

After World War I, Paul resided in Detroit and St. Louis and eventually ended up in the Los Angeles area in 1928. He recalls driving out to California in a Chevrolet and using dirt roads most of the way. During his working career in Southern California he resided in several communities including Inglewood, Baldwin Hills and Arcadia. Paul reenlisted in the Navy during World War II, serving as a Hospital Corpsman in the San Diego area in 1943-44. Paul and his first wife, Violet had two sons, John and Albert, both of whom served in World War II. Violet passed away in 1960 about the time of his retirement from the May Company where he had a long career as a fabric salesman.
During his retirement, Paul spent a 30 year sojourn in Baja California, Mexico living in a beach community about 40 miles southwest of Tijuana. After his second wife Dorothy passed away in 1991 he moved in with his older son John in Riverside, California who was also a widower. Paul and John were known as the proverbial "Odd Couple". Paul was an avid golfer for a good part of his working and retirement years. He enjoyed many a round of golf in his sunset years at Jurupa Hills Country Club and was known to beat his two sons on occasion. In January 2004, at 105, he played in his last octogenarian golf tournament and won a golf bag as the oldest player. He knew how to enjoy the finer things in life such as a good cigar every day and a glass of red wine in the evening. Paul’s most favorite President was Theodore Roosevelt and the most vivid moment he remembers is the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941. As for the computer he says: "The damn computer … it’s the most dangerous thing the human race ever invented. It has upset the apple cart. Life would be so much simpler without it." When his son John passed away in June 2004, he moved down to San Diego to live with his son Al and daughter in law Verna. In November 2004, he was moved to California’s newest State Veterans Home in Chula Vista to get more specialized care. He very much appreciated the attention he received there and the beautiful setting it provided. Paul supported veteran and Masonic causes and in 1993 traveled back to Chicago to the Veterans of World War I convention during which he received the World War I 75th Anniversary Commemorative Medal. Paul Elliott’s extended family includes his son Albert, four grandchildren, eight great grandchildren, and seven great great grandchildren. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 22 at 1pm at the Chula Vista Humphrey Mortuary, 753 Broadway, Chula Vista, CA 91910. A private burial is planned. Memorial gifts may be sent to the American Red Cross Tsunami Fund. Please limit your contacts to the undersigned or to Albert Elliott at 619-662-0171 between the hours of 8:30AM and 9PM Pacific time.
Thank you.

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