In loving memory of Paul...
Memories of Paul (Emma)
Dad had 4 grandsons – Oli, Alex, Charlie and Oscar, all under the age of 10. Dad was very close to each of the boys. They definitely kept Dad busy and when they were altogether Dad would develop a nervous twitch. They were all so excitable and energetic and he was always worried that ‘someone was going to get hurt’. He was very protective of his grandsons and he loved them, dearly. The grandkids will have fond memories of their Grandad and, in Charlie’s eyes Grandad will come and visit him as the tooth fairy.
Dad had always enjoyed playing golf. His interest was always apparent with his regular golf days through work and more recently playing golf regularly as a hobby in his retirement. Growing up I always remember the work golf days as they became yearly events at Mill Ride Golf Club, which became very big, full of booze and big donations being given to chosen charities.
More recently, Dad had become a regular member at Bearwood Lakes golf club and he played golf every week. He had met some good friends, which he played with at the golf club and, no doubt, a round of golf would end with a few drinks in the clubhouse after the golf had finished. That’s normally how Dad ended a round of golf. Dad’s interest in golf was so strong that he continued to practise his golfing skills when he first went in to hospital at the beginning of his illness. He used his walking stick as a putter and the nurses got him a ball to practise with while on the hospital ward.
Another sport that Dad has always been fanatical about was Formula 1. I remember events and holidays being planned around when the grand prix was on (if he could) as he would never want to miss watching a race. If he couldn’t watch it live he wouldn’t listen to the news so that he didn’t find out who the winner was! I remember a particular holiday when we went to Nice. We took a day trip to Monaco. If any of you watch the grand prix you will know that the Monaco grand prix is not on a race track. It is on the main road through Monaco. If it was left to Dad then he would have walked us round the whole lap of the Monaco grand prix. This particular day was fairly cold and windy and wasn’t really the weather for outside walking but Dad insisted on walking us up the hills and round the bends, regularly telling us that the cars would be zooming round those bends. It was an experience that Dad was really happy to encounter.
Dad appreciated the luxuries in life. He loved nice holidays, fine wines and top notch restaurants. Dad’s choice of restaurants was always top quality, which was great for those that dined with him. It did sometimes cause problems though. In particular, when we were on holiday, if Dad didn’t know the restaurants we would spend the first hour walking up and down the street lined restaurants trying to find the best one. It would normally end up with us going back to the first restaurant we saw at the beginning after searching every other one a long the street. Dad would always want the best.
When we were in a ‘nice’ restaurant Dad would be the first to look at the wine menu. He would spend longer looking at the wine menu than he would at the food menu. He knew the different wines well and enjoyed tasting different wines from different regions. Even at home Dad enjoyed trying various wines and could have set up his own winery with the large selection of wines he had at home. Many times were spent at home sitting round the dining table enjoying these fine wines. When having an afternoon/evening at the Whiting household drink and food would be flowing a plenty but I have never ever experienced a time where things have run out. Dad’s drink measures were big. A single measure of brandy was not your normal measure. He was extremely generous with his measures yet never managed to run out of drink – I do believe he had a secret cellar underground!!
So Dad enjoyed his fine dining but when he was at home alone, with no one to cook for him, the most luxurious item of food he made for himself was a peanut butter sandwich. Otherwise he would treat himself to a takeaway. Cooking for himself was something he did not do. However, he did cook some lovely BBQs and was quite the chef when using the BBQ, very often with a drink of ouzo in his hand.
Dad had 2 jobs to do before having dinner at home. While Mum was cooking the dinner he would 1. Choose the fine wine and 2. Choose the music he would play while eating dinner. Now that wasn’t necessarily an easy job for Dad to do as he had a huge amount of music to choose from. His love of music was so clear in so many ways. The music around the dinner table would begin as background music and would often result in listening to the many song choices that were always a ‘favourite’ of Dads. Many times were spent outside in the garden after a BBQ listening to a range of music types. Very often the music would go in to the evening with the volume gradually getting louder until Mum would intervene and say that the neighbours will start to complain!
Dad loved listening to music and loved a wide selection of genres. Dad also loved to dance and was always on the dancefloor at a party. He always had a good time at a party having a drink and a dance. If a microphone was nearby it would always result in Dad singing a few of his favourites. You were lucky if you got hold of the microphone while he was singing. He would always love being the main singer and the loudest heard. Dads singing became a well known memory of Dad through his working career and in his personal life. Unfortunately, we did always have to listen to those high notes he sung, which were not always in tune and could end up with us putting our fingers in our ears!
This has been the most shocking and saddest thing that our family have ever had to deal with and I am still in total shock that this is happening to us. We will stay strong for each other as I know Dad would have always want us to do that. Dad was always someone who supported others and that is something we will follow by supporting each other through these difficult times, and always. We are so lucky to have so many friends around us all, which is very comforting during these challenging times. Dad, we will always keep you in our hearts a long with lots of wonderful, happy memories.
Paul's Career (Alison)
Dad had a career that many could only dream of but started, as they often do, in a much more humble setting. Dad originally wanted to be a sound recordist and worked in a local school as an AV Technician in 1973.
The following year Dad started at Hayden Labs where his friend from school was working as a service engineer at the time. Over the 15 years at Hayden as a Sales Engineer Dad met and bonded with many people that would later help shape one of the longest and most memorable parts of his career.
It’s with some of them, in 1990 he set-up Sennheiser UK. We are often reminded of it all starting in a garage, fax orders coming in via the hall, stock building in the garage - Mum, more than anyone was happy to see them move from home to office in Loudwater shortly after.
Dad never forgot those that helped him achieve this, those loyal during this time he stayed most closest to over the years. Too many names to mention but many are here with us today.
In the 25 years at Sennheiser, Dad quickly became one of the companies most valuable leaders. From UK General Manager, to VP, to President of Global Sales and a trusted member of the Executive Management board during which time he helped double the companies turnover.
Dad was an inspiration to many and was always a key part of the team. Dad was selfless in his strive for success. Nowhere was this more apparent than his work with LIPA where the collaboration with Sennheiser gave so many young talents the opportunity to showcase themselves, which still continues to this day. Dad had a reputation for hard work, and he expected the same of his colleagues, but he always knew how to have fun. This led to many memorable events including Sennheiser UK’s Golf Day. Paul loved to play golf and this event combined his generosity to help others by raising money for multiple charities, most notably the ‘Caron Keating Foundation’ and ‘Diabetes UK’.
More recently at D&B, Dad found an organisation that he could put his many years of experience into and thoroughly enjoyed investing his time in seeing them grow. He made many friends there and we’d like to thank them for their generosity after hearing the news of Dad’s passing.
Dad put everything into his work. He had such a passion for the audio industry, and it was that passion and attention to detail that inspired so many to follow him. He got the best out of everyone, but with an excellent sense of humour to go with it.
The comments from Dad’s colleagues since his passing says it all, someone who truly believed that enjoying what you did would result in you never having to work a day in your life:
“The significant leader of a versatile and diverse orchestra”
“A north star in the Audio Industry, a real business professional, credible and authentic”
“Friends are the family you choose”
“Sometimes we laughed until we cried”
“Paul was one of the very few real friends I made during my career”
“Amazing sales guy, able to win a deal that was lost:
“Paul made everything fun, work hard and play hard”
“We never forgot to celebrate, to laugh and enjoy life”
“The Maharajah of good times”
“His leadership, unsurpassed. His guidance, peerless, his friendship, a blessing!”
Dad’s secret sauce in business was people. Dad knew that his success would always come from working with the best, being around the best, but most importantly, investing in those that wanted to be the best. The reward from all of this was creating a family, a team and a bond that lasted longer than any employment contract.
No doubt there are lots of us that would like to close the night with Dad over ‘Angels’ one last time. But for now, I’m sure you’ll be raising a toast when convenient to someone we called a leader and friend, in an industry we are all had the luxury of working with him in.