Clayton Chamber of Commerce
Created in 1984, The Paul E. Dee Hospitality and Tourism Memorial Scholarship was established by the Clayton Area Chamber of Commerce. In a letter written to Beth Dee, Paul Dee’s widow, the Chamber of Commerce’s former President Allen S. Benas wrote:
‘As a token of our respect for Paul and all he stood for, our board of directors has chosen to create the Paul E. Dee Memorial Scholarship at Jefferson Community College. The scholarship will be awarded to a deserving second year student at the College who is enrolled in the Hospitality and Tourism Curriculum. It is our intent that the enthusiasm and dedication to this field that Paul so grandly demonstrated will be made available for others to share in future years.’
Paul E. Dee was born on August 6, 1954 in Watertown, New York, the son of Vincent J. Dee Sr. and Mary McCormick Dee. He graduated from Clayton High School, Clayton, New York, and Jefferson Community College in Watertown, New York.
Mr. Dee began working in the family business, McCormick’s restaurant in Clayton, as a teenager. Eventually, he became co-owner and operations manager of the restaurant. Among his employees, he was known more as a friend than a boss. In a commemorative poem, one of his employees wrote this about him:
‘In the long hours and busy confusion, I’d wonder if I’d make it through the day. But there you were, with a pat on the back and a smile on your face, to relieve the pressure we all held inside.’
According to Mrs. Dee, ‘Paul cared about people. When he knew that someone in the community was down on his luck or sick at home, he’d invite him into the restaurant to eat dinner or have a meal sent home to his house.’
Mr. Dee occasionally was a substitute teacher for the Jefferson/Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services in Watertown.
He was a communicant of St. Mary’s Church in Clayton and a member of the Clayton Lions Club, and the Clayton Knights of Columbus.
Paul E. Dee died December 29, 1983, at the age of 29.
The Jefferson Community College Foundation is thankful to the Clayton Chamber of Commerce for establishing this scholarship.