Written by Mick Trainor
Army life behind them, Paul Kavanaugh and his wife, Marjorie, decided to settle in a retirement community. But it had to be a military one. They did their homework, assessing the half dozen in the Metro area. Then they did a ground reconnaissance of each of them.
On a glorious spring day, they came through the gates of Falcons Landing and drove up to Founders Hall. Marjorie's eyes went wide when she saw the profusion of beautiful flowers in the Circle and said, "Paul. This is it. This is where we're going." They settled on a duplex when tragedy stuck. Marjorie suddenly became ill and passed away last August before the couple could come aboard. Paul then shifted berths and moved into an apartment in Building 1000.
New Englanders, Paul and Marjorie met when he was a cadet at Norwich University pursuing an engineering degree. Paul was a stud who ran his first marathon, the Boston Marathon, when he was only a teenager. His dad dropped him off at the start line and gave him a quarter saying, "If you need me, give me a call and I'll come and pick you up." It was the first of many long distance runs that Paul made without recourse to the quarter. He was commissioned in 1957 and married Marjorie the following year. The couple had three children, one boy and two girls, and four grandchildren.
While Paul's Army career was in the Corps of Engineers, it was also eclectic. He was both Ranger- and Airborne-qualified, and was well known in his branch as a long distance runner. He did two tours in Vietnam, serving in combat with ARVN engineers and with the U.S. First Cavalry Division. Later, Paul served as a defense intelligence analyst doing nuclear targeting assessments. He is a graduate of joint Marine and Air Force professional schools and was a classmate of Barbara Goodwin and Jerry Schumacher at the Air War College. Paul also attended Oklahoma State, where he earned an master's degree in civil engineering.
Paul had considerable military-civilian interface as a district engineer on both the East and West Coasts, as well as with the Department of Energy. He retired as a brigadier general in 1989. Paul then pursued his engineering interests in the business sector and established his own construction, management and claims company until he retired again in 2009. He and Marjorie bought a house in Fairfax City in 1989 and lived there until the move to Falcons Landing.
In addition to being a running addict, New England seaman's blood courses through his veins. Paul is a sailor par excellence. He has owned eight sailboats in his lifetime and has reefed many a sail in a storm. Of note was an adventure in Hawaii, when a storm wreaked havoc with his boat and knocked out his communications. He was listed as missing and was the subject of a three-day Coast Guard search. As Paul tells it, Marjorie didn't lose her head, but assuming the worst, she withdrew all their money from their joint bank account before it was frozen in place when Paul's corpse washed up on the beach. Happily, Paul made it safely ashore, needing nothing more than a shave, fresh underwear and another crack at Davy Jones.
Not surprisingly, Paul is an inveterate traveler, with England being his favorite destination. "There is something about Britain that connotes civility and well being" he said. Falcons Landing matches that in spades, Paul. We're delighted to have you join us. And put away your track shoes. You don't have to run around Falcons Landing Circle.