Paul was born in Afton, Oklahoma on March 5, 1921 to John Fred and Edna (Harris) Rector. He was 8th generation in America in the family lineage. He was youngest of eight. Earl Rector; Mary Fern (Rector) Atwood; Lottie Bernice (Rector) LaFuze; Dennis Rector; Orton Rector; John Henry Rector; Leo Harris Rec…read more
Paul was born in Afton, Oklahoma on March 5, 1921 to John Fred and Edna (Harris) Rector. He was 8th generation in America in the family lineage. He was youngest of eight. Earl Rector; Mary Fern (Rector) Atwood; Lottie Bernice (Rector) LaFuze; Dennis Rector; Orton Rector; John Henry Rector; Leo Harris Rector.
He grew up in Urbana delivering both the Courier & News Gazette. He was an active Boy Scout and always enjoyed visiting Camp Drake. He was proud to be an Eagle Scout and was so proud of his son Jim and grandson Dale that also achieved that honor. He was a State champion wrestler for Urbana High School. He graduated from Urbana High School in 1940 and after three semesters at the U of I studying Business and Accounting he was drafted into the Army.
After receiving his commission as 2nd Lt. in 1943 he could afford to marry his high school sweetheart, Billie West, from Sidney, IL. They married in the family home and later renew their vows in front of the same fireplace 67 happy years later. Paul & Billie had three children. Sharon Rector, James (& Gail) Rector, Sue (& Skip) Inskip. Paul counted his blessings in his eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Paul completed basic training at South Camp Polk, Louisana. Pay was only $21.00 a month. His Eagle Scout rank helped him qualify for Officers Training School which he completed at Fort Knox, KY. He served in the 775th Tank Battalion in Papua New Guinea and the Philippines.
Service was a Rector family affair. Paul had 2 brothers in uniform. Leo Rector served in Europe and Orton Rector received a medical discharge. His parents went to Ohio to work on the gliders that took soldiers behind the lines to protect the bridges. Brother John Rector was a machinist at the Hanford Project in Richland, WA, helping to craft the plutonium sphere for the second atomic bomb…the one that was dropped on Nagasaki and forced the Japanese surrender.
Paul was discharged as a 1st Lt. and returned home to Urbana on Christmas Day, 1945. That is when his wife found him with another lovely lady in his arms…he was just getting acquainted with his daughter, Sharrie on her 1st birthday.
After his discharge from the Army, Paul first went to work as head inspector at the R.H. Bishop Co. He became a member of the Local 149 Plumber & Steamfitters Union in 1949. He also worked for F.R. Inskip Plumbing and Heating as head of the Service Department. He and Billie also worked together in restoring their rental properties. Between the two of them, they could repair just about anything. Together, they were always working on a fix-up project.
Billie retired from Robeson’s department Store where she sold jeans to teenagers. She was a dedicated volunteer to the First Presbyterian Church and to the Girl Scouts. She also had quite a reputation in our family as a poet and seamstress.
It was a longstanding tradition in the Rector family to gather for family reunions. From earlier gatherings in Smithfield, Illinois where his parents lived, to the current family tradition of gathering in different destinations, He has not missed one. He continued to travel well into his 90’s with family reunions trips to Hawaii, Puget Sound of Washington to Outer Banks of North Carolina & Branson, Missouri just 2 years ago. Travelling the U.S. was his hobby. He loved to drive across the U.S. and explore and visit family members along the way. He took his family on many camping trips to just about every state park in Illinois and Indiana. Paul & Billie enjoyed being close to other family members and were active in the First Presbyterian Church in Champaign. They went on several mission trips for their church and enjoyed their bible study groups.
If you asked him, Paul would say his greatest accomplishment was his three children. Through Paul and Billies’ examples of caring, support and love, they created a close family bound by love and loyalty. The world is a better place because he was in it. He will be greatly missed. He will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Private family services will be on Monday with burial in Sidney. The family is requesting no flowers, but if you would like to make a donation to Wounded Warriors or your charity of choice in Paul’s honor it would be appreciated.
Condolences may be offered at www.morganmemorialhome.com.