Obituaries » Paul Childress

Paul Childress

November 17, 1946 - August 18, 2023

Paul Childress, 76, of Forest, VA passed peacefully on August 18, 2023.  Paul was born in Matneytown, WV to Leon and Nan Childress.  He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Sandy Childress, of Forest, VA; children Becky (Rob Solomon) Fritz of Blacksburg, VA, Beth Anne (Donovan) Bort of Apex, NC; grandchildren Lauren Fritz of Arlington, VA, Sydney Fritz of Providence, RI, Rachel Bort of Asheville, NC and Nate Bort of Apex, NC; sister Betty Davidson and niece Teri Davidson of DeLand, Fl; sister-in-law Sue Childress of Spotsylvania, VA and nephew Derek Childress of Ashburn, VA; and his wife Sandy’s family.  He is predeceased by his mother, father, and brother Richard Childress.

Paul graduated from Oceana High School in 1964.  He then attended West Virginia University and graduated in 1969 with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering.  He later obtained a MS in Applied Mechanics from the University of Virginia.

Paul began his career at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft, where he worked on jet engine development for the F-15/16 and SR-71 Blackbird.  He spent the remainder of his career spanning the globe on critical energy and nuclear projects.  He worked on multiple nuclear disarmament projects in the former Soviet Union, assisted with Russian submarine decommissioning, managed weapons grade plutonium disposal projects, worked in the Arctic evaluating nuclear waste management systems, and worked with the US Department of Energy for the development of Engineered Barriers for the disposal of used nuclear fuel.  Paul also managed multiple programs dealing with the design, transportation, and management of nuclear fuel for electric power, naval and space propulsion, and medical diagnosis and treatment. Paul holds a US Patent for a Nuclear Material Shipping Container.

Paul was a member of Timberlake Christian Church for over 48 years, and he held his Christian faith and his family as his greatest accomplishments.  Paul was a proud member of the Sons of the American Revolution.

The celebration of life for Paul Childress will be held at Timberlake Christian Church at 11am, October 21, 2023.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Lewy Body Dementia Association at

Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Lynchburg is assisting the family.

Condolences & Tributes

Celebrate Paul's life with a short message, photo or video!

Dear Sandra, I was saddened to hear of Paul’s passing. Wonderful memories of our times together, though long ago, remain a part of me. Paul was always amazing during those years. His intelligence, kindness, and intuitiveness was well known. Though we drifted apart over the years, those memories will always be a part of us from a time that was far more simpler. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers as you celebrate Paul’s life. With kind thoughts and memories, Roger Webster

Posted by Roger Webster on September 13, 2023

Our condolences' to Sandy and the family. We had the privilege to know Paul through working together on nuclear power projects. Paul was honest as the day is long. When he committed to help the promise was as good as gold. He was also a good friend, respected by many who worked with him. Our hearts go out to Sandy who many of us loved and respected.

Posted by Joe and Susan Sapyta on August 30, 2023

My deepest condolences to Sandy and family. I am praying for you all. Paul was a wonderful person, a brilliant man and I can with honesty say that if the world had more Paul Childress’s, it would be a far better place to live. I look forward to our meeting again in that land of endless day.

Posted by Randall Topping on August 25, 2023

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