Obituary: Paul Robert Shelley 


Paul Robert Shelley (born Harry Earl Shelley) died peacefully at his home in Laguna Beach on October 14, 2023. He was a loving husband, brother, uncle, musician, teacher and veteran whose gregarious personality lit up any room. 

Paul was born in 1941 in Boston, Mass., the son of the late Jean Patricia Shelley and Albert Chester Clement. He leaves behind his husband and partner of 52 years, Theodore Mowery, as well as his sisters: Vickie Soffa of Huntington Beach, Calif., Pamela Osbrink of Scottsdale, Ariz., Patricia Beals of Amesbury, Mass., Jane McNeal of Newbury, Mass., and one brother, David Clement of Lakeville, Conn., as well as many nieces and nephews.

Paul grew up in foster homes in Massachusetts and graduated from the Don Bosco High School in East Boston in 1958. During his youth, He enjoyed studying judo and karate at the Karate-Do Academy in Watertown, Mass.  In 1959, Paul spent a year in seminary at the Sons of Mary Health of the Sick Mission in Framingham, Mass., but ultimately decided to pursue his passion for music and art. He attended the New England Conservatory studying voice from 1962 to 1965.

Paul then proudly served his country in the United States Air Force beginning in 1966. For his valiant service in Vietnam, he was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal and the Air Force Good Conduct Medal. Following his honorable discharge in 1969, Paul moved to California, enrolling in Sacramento City College. He graduated in 1970 with an associate in arts degree with an emphasis in vocal performance, having also taken courses at Sacramento State University. During his studies in Sacramento, he met his future husband, Theodore Mowery, in 1971. He completed his education at California State University, Fullerton in 1976 with a bachelor’s degree in music.

Paul went on to teach vocal performance at Our Lady of Assumption Grammar School from 1981 to 1983 in Claremont, Calif. He then spent a year as a music lecturer at Pomona College before moving to Laguna Beach in 1984.

In Laguna Beach, Paul had various teaching and musical engagements over the last decades of his life. He taught graphic arts at the Saddleback Community College, then performed as a singing waiter at the Ramada Inn’s Café Serenata in San Clemente. Paul loved his work at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott in Dana Point as their only tea butler from 1988 until 1995, when afternoon tea was discontinued. As a tea butler, Paul was featured in the View section of the Los Angeles Times on Jan. 19, 1994.  Paul then served as a concierge at the Marriott until he retired in 2003. For outstanding customer service, Paul received a rare Tiefel Award Certificate from Bill Tiefel, President of the Marriott Lodging Group in 2001. 

Paul married his longtime partner in 2008 in the Courthouse Annex of Laguna Hills. In 2010, with the aid of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, Paul was finally able to find his biological family, which was one of the highlights of his life. Paul loved the artistic, open and close-knit community of Laguna Beach.

“My Life, My Love, My Best Friend, My Angel, My Miracle, My Godsend.”

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