Paul Warren’s friends and coworkers shared their thoughts with Lumination about the loss of an “outstanding individual.”
Warren, a 2006 Lipscomb graduate, was killed Thursday morning when his car rear-ended an 18-wheeler on Vietnam Veterans Parkway. The wreck, caused by fog and an icy road, was part of a chain-reaction accident involving more than 50 vehicles on the Korean War Veterans Bridge.
Aaron Flener, a 2005 Lipscomb graduate, was on the golf team and in Tau Phi with Warren.
“I was immediately drawn to him because of his joyful nature,” said Flener. “I liked to surround myself with people that didn’t complain, and I was drawn to him because he was so happy.”
Warren graduated from Lipscomb with a marketing degree and then worked as a graduate assistant coach for the golf program during the 2006-07 season while pursuing his master’s degree.
Flener said Warren was a very talented golfer and guitarist but always maintained a humble attitude along with a great sense of humor.
“If I ever wanted to feel good about myself, I would go tell Paul something…he would always laugh,” Flener said. “He would always make you feel like you were hilarious. I don’t think he realized how funny he was to everyone else.”
Flener said Warren never spoke ill of people he knew.
Warren was employed at Volunteer State Bank, where he worked as relationship manager at the Shackle Island branch in Hendersonville.
Following Warren’s death, the bank posted his photo along with this message on its website: “VSB Directors and employees are deeply saddened at the loss of a dedicated employee Paul Warren October 25, 1983 to December 1, 2011.”
David Mueller, one of the vice presidents and a financial analyst at the bank, said he worked closely with Warren, crunching numbers and managing new accounts. Mueller said Warren was a pleasure to work with.
“Paul was one of the nicest people you could work with,” Mueller said. “He was pleasant to be around, a very astute worker. He wanted to do things right and he did do things right. He took pride in all of his work.
“He was just a joy to be around. I just can’t say enough positive things about his work ethic and his attitude. He was a pleasure to be around and to work with.”
Mueller said the bank staff was struggling to deal with the loss of Warren.
“We’re just kind of one big family,” Mueller said. “Here we are two days into this thing, and we are still shocked and hurting. He’ll be missed. He was a fine man, just an outstanding individual.”
After hearing the news of his friend’s death, Flener posted an entry about Warren on his blog. Just 10 hours later, 4,300 people had read it, Flener said, and by Friday morning, 2,500 more had viewed the site.
“Over 7,000 people have read about his life, that did know him or didn’t know him,” said Flener. “It has nothing to do with me writing it, but it is a testament to how many lives that he touched.”
Flener said he wished he could have spent more time with Warren after they graduated from college.
“I don’t have a ton of recent memories with him,” Flener said, “but the ones I have from college are really special.”
“We’ll never look at our friendships the same way ever again,” Flener said, considering life’s sudden, unexpected changes. “The friendships that we have and developed over the years, we cannot take them for granted.”
Visitation will be on Sunday, Dec. 4 from 2 – 8 p.m. at Hendersonville Funeral Home and on Monday, Dec. 5 from noon – 2 p.m. at Hendersonville First Baptist Church. A life celebration service for Warren will be at Hendersonville First Baptist Church on Monday, Dec. 5 at 2 p.m., officiated by Pastor Doug Varnado and David Gregory. Interment will follow in Hendersonville Memory Gardens. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the First Tee Foundation (Tennessee Golf Foundation 400 Franklin Road Franklin, TN 37069 (615) 790-7600).
Emily Snell contributed to this story.