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Paul David Rich

Dec 15, 2010

Paul David Rich of Cape Coral died unexpectedly Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010 at home. He was 34.

Born in Springfield, Ohio on April 12, 1976 to Vicky Rich, he was raised in Springfield before moving to Cape Coral in 1983, calling the city “home” until his death, despite his many years abroad serving in the U.S. military. He was a 1994 graduate of Cape Coral High School, entering the U.S. Army three days following his graduation ceremony. His basic training was completed at Fort Benning, Ga.

During his 15-year career in the military, he served first as a company armorer for the United Nations Command Security Force in PanMunJom, South Korea; in the 5th Battalion 87th Infantry in Panama; as a crew chief for a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with the 236th Air Ambulance Company 421st Medical Evacuation Battalion in Landstuhl, Germany, and at Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo; a rifle team leader in Charlie Company Second Battalion 30th Infantry Regiment 10th Mountain Division in Ghazni, Afghanistan; and then on security detail with the same unit in Baghdad, Iraq.

When not assigned overseas, he spent time stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., with the 82nd Airborne Division and Fort Polk in Louisiana. In all, he served two tours in Afghanistan, once with a Florida National Guard unit, and one tour in Iraq. He was honorably discharged twice, in 2003 when he joined the Florida National Guard, and then finally August 2009 after reinlisting. He retired at the rank of sergeant, E5. He was awarded numerous service medals and ribbons.

Upon leaving the military, he returned to Cape Coral and was attending Edison State University in Fort Myers.

He is survived by his parents, Chris and Vicky Strine of Cape Coral; two sisters, Sarah (Aaron) Hardy of Pine Island and Kacie Harris-Strine of Cape Coral; his two beloved nephews, Caleb and Isaac Hardy; grandmother Hallie Strine of Ashland, Ohio; aunts, Barb (Mark) Camp of Medina, Ohio, and Debbie (Bob) Valentine of Ashland, Ohio; one uncle, Doug (Sally) Strine of Ashland, Ohio; and numerous cousins.

He is also survived by his grandmother, B.J. Duwelling of Murfreesboro, Tenn.; and aunts, Kathy Sinibaldi of Cape Coral and Cyntheia Rich of Wisconsin.

He was preceded in death by his beloved great-grandmother, Cherri “Bubba” Rich; grandfather, Don Duwelling; and his uncle, Lance Rich.

Paul left this world much too early. He was a beloved son, grandson, brother, uncle, nephew and friend. Memories of him will be cherished by all who loved him here and around the world.

A celebration of Paul’s life will be held Saturday, Dec. 18 at 11 a.m. at Gendron Funeral Home, 4224 Cleveland Ave., Suite 1, Fort Myers. Visit www.gendronfuneralhome.com to leave online condolences.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Hope Valor Program for Veterans, Hope Healthcare Services, 9470 HealthPark Circle, Fort Myers, FL 33908