PAUL EELLS, R.I.P.
BY DAN MILLER
August 1, 2006
I had just arrived home Monday night, and settled behind the computer to write something for this column.
The phone rang.
It was around 11.
Whenever the phone rings at that time, there's always the chilling possibility that it might be bad news.
An acquaintance in Little Rock had called the Channel 4 newsroom.
He wanted me call him.
He told the newsroom he had some sad news for me.
I quickly sensed what it might be.
Paul was the sports director here at Channel 4 when I first arrived in 1969.
We worked together for nine years, until 1978, when he moved to Little Rock and became "The Voice of the Arkansas Razorbacks".
We had become fast friends.... but then everybody who met Paul felt like his best friend.
That's the way he was.
He never turned his back on anyone.
He seldom turned down any request to help the community, an organization, a friend, or a stranger.
If he couldn't help.... it pained him.
I know, I know.... it's easy and appropriate to say wonderful things about a person when they die.
But that's not true with Paul.
While he was alive and well, many of us often spoke about his kindness.
Just last week, Rudy Kalis was in my office telling me about Paul being elected to the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.... and our conversation quickly turned philosophical, delving into the amazing character and generosity of the man.
I'll resist the temptation to write on and on about Paul.
I could tell you about the first time I went fishing in Nashville, with Paul.
I could tell you about a highly publicized golf match, where I threw the ball from tee to green, while my opponent -- Paul -- used his clubs.
I could tell you about our station basketball team, The Holy Smokers, named for Paul's favorite phrase when he was doing play-by-play as "The Voice of the Vanderbilt Commodores"....
I could tell you a lot...
But tonight, I'm sad.
A true gentleman has died.