Today I attended the memorial service for Mr. Paul S. Devrouax Jr. he was a principal in Devrouax & Purnell, one of Washington’s largest black-owned architecture firms. He and his partner, Marshall Purnell, designed the Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center, the first major building to rise on U Street in decades. It was at the vanguard of an entire neighborhood’s revival… For more than 30 years, Paul S. Devrouax Jr. helped weave the urban fabric of Washington. He and his firm worked on some of the region’s largest and most significant buildings, including the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, the Pepco building, what is now Verizon Center and the Freddie Mac headquarters in McLean. Along with HOK Sport of Kansas City, Devrouax & Purnell designed Washington’s Nationals Park, which opened in 2008.
Most importantly Mr. Devrouax was the father to my friend Lesley. The memorial took place at the Historical Society, Mount Vernon Square, Washington, DC. (Note he also designed this location). As I stood at the service yes I stood the ENTIRE time. The place was packed wall to wall, people were standing everywhere and even into the over flow rooms. As I looked over this crowded building I couldn’t help but notice the Who’s who of Washington, DC. I saw multiple former Mayors, one of which spoke, Mr. Devrouax’s business partner, New Channel 9 and many others. I listened to story after story about how great of a man Mr. Devrouax was; all that he achieved, testaments of his character, and humorous recollection of memorable moments. I felt proud, proud of this man’s accomplishments most of which I was unfamiliar with until now.
It made me wonder what will be my legacy. What would people say about me? Will I achieve my expected level of greatness? Have I accomplished what god has in mind for me?
While I never physically met Mr. Paul S. Devrouax, Jr. he has left a lasting impression on me. I wish him a peaceful journey and when it’s my turn I can’t wait to see the redesign of the Pearlie gates. (You had to be there)