Howard Paul James, 69 of Overland Park, KS passed Wed. July 20, 2022 from complications due to renal failure. A celebration of his life will be on Wednesday, July 27th at 4:00 PM at the Overland Park Marriott Hotel.
Paul was born in Denver, Colorado to Howard “Bud” and Margaret “Vonny”James on November 8, 1952. His early life was in Estes Park, Colorado, crawling behind the front desk of his grandfather’s hotel, The Elk Horn Lodge. As his father’s career grew in the hospitality industry, they moved approximately every two years living in Boulder, CO, Bradenton, FL., Phoenix, AZ, Lake Tahoe, CA and Las Vegas, NV. Paul graduated from Ed W. Clark High School in Las Vegas in 1971. His first year of college was at the University of Utah as an art major. From there he transferred to Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, attending their Hospitality and Hotel School for 2 ½ years. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Florida international University in 1975.
Paul wasted no time in jumping into the hotel business. Two weeks after his college graduation, he was working in Brussels, Belgium as Project Manager for the Sheraton Hotel Management Corporation. His projects included building hotels in Africa and in Scandinavia. In 1978 he was promoted to Vice President and was the Director of Technical Services overseeing the expansion of Sheraton Hotels in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and India. Although he was based in Brussels for those 6 years, he was constantly on the move and on a plane!
Paul moved to London, England in 1982 and was the General Manager of the Sheraton Skyline Hotel as well as Area Manager, overseeing the Heathrow Sheraton, Belgravia, and Park Towers hotels.
He left London for San Diego, CA in 1987 and was the Senior Executive Vice President/Managing Director of La Costa Resort and Spa for three years. That is where he met Cyndi, who happened to be the Head Concierge. It was love at first site but for quite some time they had to sneak around and keep their romance a secret.
Paul left the hotel industry for a brief time, moving to Steamboat Springs, CO where he and Cyndi married, and where his first son Elliott was born. Paul really missed hotel life and was more than ecstatic to accept a job offer from Kevin Pistilli of the Raphael Hotel Group in Kansas City, MO as Director of Operations. Paul’s first project was to oversee the rebuilding of the Muehlebach Tower at the Downtown Marriott Hotel. Cyndi packed up the Steamboat house with toddler Elliott and pregnant with second son Christopher, and moved into the hotel making it their temporary home! Right before Chris was born, Paul and Cyndi decided to live in Overland Park, KS. Paul worked for the Raphael Hotel Group for 24 very happy years. As one of his friend’s so aptly said, “If ever there was a dedicated workaholic, Paul was it.” He retired this past December, 2021.
Paul loved animals and had an extensive number of pets over the years. He loved the outdoors, gardening, his pond, beach vacations, building models, and cooking. Most of all, he loved his boys, and was so very proud of the wonderful young men they had become.
Paul will be remembered for his hard work but also for his kindness and, of course, his sense of humor. He made the world a better place and will be missed by so many.
Paul is survived by his wife of nearly 29 years, Cyndi; and their children, Elliott (Hannah) and Christopher; sister Katharine Chase, brother Steven James, sister Nancy James, nephews Cameron Chase and his daughter Rowyn; niece Courtney Pakel and her children Harper and Lily; nephews Nicholas James and Nathan James; sister-in-law Zan Benham and her son Daniel Murch.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made in Paul’s name to KC Pet Project https://kcpetproject.org/donate/
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