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Obituary: Borrelli, Paul Augustine

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Published: Nov. 26, 2021 at 6:11 PM EST
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Paul Augustine Borrelli, 93, of Parkersburg, WV, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, November 24, 2021.

Paul was born to Vincent A. Borrelli and Mary (Verno) Borrelli on July 3, 1928. Paul was born in the family home on 6th Street and later moved to the site of the original Artcraft Studio located on 7th Street.  As he grew up, Paul was active in the family business of both family photographs and photographs of the city of Parkersburg.  He graduated from PHS in 1946 and was later drafted into the Army in 1952. While in the military, Paul was put in charge of the photo lab at his barracks and learned more about photography. Upon his discharge, Paul resumed working in his family’s business.

Upon his father’s death in 1981, Paul discovered that his father kept a negative of nearly every photo he had taken of the city since opening the business in 1925, thus he had the “History of Parkersburg in Photographs.” With a passion of preserving the history of Parkersburg, Paul continued to collect numerous photos of the city utilizing newspaper microfilm and receiving photos from many people who thought the photos they had were trash. To Paul, they were treasures. This passion led him to collect nearly 10,000 negatives of the city.

Artcraft Studio moved several times over the years eventually settling in the basement of the Dils Center where Paul displayed nearly 700 photos. In 2013, he was recognized as a West Virginia History Hero by the WV Division of Culture and History for his photographic collection along with volumes of newspaper articles providing information and details about major events and important buildings in Parkersburg.  Due to declining health, Paul closed the Studio in 2017.

Paul was a lifelong member of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus, serving as Financial Secretary for nearly 40 years. He and his father began a bingo game on Saturday evenings in 1954 to help fund the K of C’s efforts to help those in need and to provide scholarships to children of members. He was active in bingo until 2019 and enjoyed fellowship with members of the club and the bingo players.

Paul was enthusiastically devoted to St. Louis Cardinals baseball and Notre Dame football his entire life.

Paul is survived by his son Jim (Terri) and his daughter Gina. He is also survived by four grandchildren, Katie Waters (Rob) of Erie, PA; Laura Borrelli (Adrian) of Arlington, VA; Tony Borrelli (Anna) of Little Hocking, OH;  and JP Lewellyn (Melissa) of Columbus, OH. He is also survived by two great-grandchildren, Freya Lewellyn and Oliver Waters, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife Ruth in 1992 and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Paul’s family wishes to thank Housecalls Hospice for the care and attention they gave to Paul for the last several months.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donation be made to the Knight of Columbus Scholarship Fund through Parkersburg Council 594, 1010 Market St., Parkersburg, WV 26101.

Visitation will be Monday, November 29 at Leavitt Funeral Home in Parkersburg WV from 2-4 pm and 6-8 pm, with Rosary at 8 pm.

Mass of Christian Burial will be Tuesday, November 30 at 11 am at St Francis Xavier Catholic Church with Father John Rice and Father Bill Matheny.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.LeavittFuneralHome.com

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