In Memoriam

Paul Wilbur

The campus has recently learned that Paul Wilbur, Emeriti Professor of the Psychology Department, passed away on February 8, 2009. We are deeply saddened by the news of the sudden passing of one of our beloved former professors.

Paul was a colleague who was well-liked by both students and faculty and all who knew him.  He had a generous open spirit and always wanted the best for his students.

“Paul Wilbur was one of my favorite professors as an undergraduate student, because he took the time and effort to make SURE we all understood a concept before he went on to a new one.  My statistics comprehension was minimal at first, but he encouraged me every step of the way until the light bulb finally went on, and he led the class in a cheer for me.  I will never forget his generosity and kindness to me when I thought I was an idiot.  We have lost a great one...”

- Laura Brown

“Paul was a caring, sensitive, and kind individual--always willing to lend a hand to faculty, staff, and especially students.  He wanted each and every student to be successful in his classes, in their major, and in life.  He willingly came to his office in early morning and stayed until late in the day to help his students learn. He enjoyed being a professor but even more enjoyed being a mentor to students and a friend to faculty and staff.  I always found Paul to be a giving individual; one who was available to share and support colleagues. He was an exceptionally generous and considerate person throughout his many years at SUNY Oswego.”

- Paul Roodin

Paul would come into his office which always looked like a tornado hit it because he would have piles of books and papers on the floor, seats, desk top and shelves. He had one little 12 square inches in the center of his desk where he would always put his car keys. I would always ask him why he did not clean up his office and put things in order. He would reply that he was always in a hurry and did not have time. Well, usually by the end of each work day a pile of books and/or paper that surrounded the little 12 inch empty square of desktop would fall over on that one clean little area and hide his car keys. Thus at the end of each day Paul would spend 30 minutes looking for his car keys.  I guess he really saved a lot of time.

On a Memorial day department outing at the Wilbur cabins back in the early 1970s when twenty or more department members would spend the week-end, Paul goes stomping by the cabin that Glen Vaught is in and fires off a gun scaring the ### out of Vaught and saying dagnabit Vaught, it is time to get up.

But one of my fonder memories is Paul knowing that I am extremely scared of flying taking me up in his 4 seater plane with Marion as co-pilot. I had an old high school friend with me and we were "camping" at the Wilbur’s. It was during peak color season in the fall. Paul and Marion spoke to me over the headphones in the plane and got me through a beautiful flight.

Sitting around the campfires at night drinking beer or wine and telling fishing stories and skiing down Oak Mountain - even though at the time he was in his 70s.

- Rich Izzett

There are lots of things I could say about Paul Wilbur. I am still shocked he is gone.  He was a model of a person who loved life and really lived it.  Wherever Paul was there was energy and laughter.  I miss him a lot already.  It always seemed to me that even after long stretches of not seeing him we would just pickup right where we left off.  Paul was a dedicated, sincere, hard-working and hard-playing totally real person.  I will always treasure being one of his colleagues and friends.  His death is a great loss.

- Mark Morey

Paul Wilbur was responsible for many fond memories of events and activities for Carol and me that have occurred during the 38 years that we have known Paul and Marion.  These include day to day activities in the Psychology Department and Oswego, our visits to their home and cottages in Lake Pleasant, department guy weekends, and adventures involving hiking and fishing trips to ponds and lakes in the Speculator region with Paul as our guide.

The specific event that I would like to share, however, occurred much more recently. While we were vacationing in a cottage east of Old Forge a few summers ago, we noted a special event titled “Thursday Evening on the Lake at St. Williams on Long Point, Racquet Lake.” Since St. Williams is accessible only by water, we boarded a large pontoon boat with about 25 other people and enjoyed a beautiful half hour lake cruise.




We managed to get seated in the St. William’s chapel before the program without the guest speaker for the evening being aware of our presence. We really surprised Paul, who as the Hamilton County Historian, presented a wonderful program entitled “Vacationing in the Adirondacks 100 Years Ago.”


After the presentation, which was well received by all, we had a great time visiting before the boat left for the home trip.


The gentleman who won the special cake raffle presented it to Paul, so Paul and the cake joined us for the boat ride home.


It was a wonderful evening with a special friend!

- Dave and Carol Hertzler