Paul Begnoche – A True Fighter!

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”   – John 5:24 (NKJV)


“Jesus said…I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die…”   – John 11:25-26a (NASB)


“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  – John 14:27 (NKJV)

A Memorial Service for Paul will be held on Tuesday April 28th at 3 pm for family only due to Covid-19. A live stream of the service is available.  In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that any donations be made directly to the American Cancer Society.


Memorial Service Live Stream:

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Paul Begnoche – September 18, 1963 to April 23, 2020

Paul and Wanda met while serving in the United States Air Force. Paul always joked that Wanda was older (although she did not look older) and she outranked him. After retirement, they moved to Austin, Texas and joined the Bluebonnet Miata Club. In 2016 they moved to San Antonio and became more active in the club.

Those who knew Paul know that he was determined to enjoy the days he had left on earth and live life to the fullest. He bought a new Miata 2019 RF, Machine Gray Metallic, and added many “bells and whistles” to include some custom painting. He made Miata runs, Christmas parties, Miata Round Ups, cruises, road trips, monthly club meetings, and other events when most of us would not likely step foot out of our bedrooms much less our homes. Many of Paul’s family and friends knew how much Paul wanted to be there for recent events in his sons lives. Thanks to God for answered prayer as He let Paul live long enough to attend his son’s (Justin) wedding last summer and his son’s (Trevor) swearing-in ceremony as a Texas Deputy Sheriff earlier this year.

Paul recently slowed down and enjoyed having his sons visit him. In fact, just four days before his passing, he, Wanda, his sons, and daughter-in-law gathered outside their home to enjoy a “Miata Drive-By” orchestrated by a few of his closest club friends. It was a blessing to see the smiles on their faces, especially Paul’s. As we drove out of the neighborhood, Dan commented, “That was the shortest and most blessed run I have ever driven.”

Paul often acknowledged that he was grateful for our love and prayers. We will miss him greatly, but we are thankful that he suffers no more and is now safely at home in the arms of Jesus.

Paul’s battle with cancer is finally over.

— The Bluebonnet Miata Club
Written by Betty Hicks

To show how much of a fighter Paul truly was – we thought we would reprint this email he sent out to the Yahoo Groups on January 1st, 2018:

As I sit back and  ponder 2017, I think about what to do. For those that do not know,  I was diagnosed with stage 4 bladder cancer in 2017 and my time is limited as 2018 may be the end for me. Therefore I do have a couple choices.  I choose to accept death as it is coming my way.   I cannot run from it but I can give it one hell of a fight.  I can live for every moment God gives me.

My hope is that each of you will live out each day to the fullest.  You never know what tomorrow will bring.  So I ask, that you be kind to the person next to you. That you do not lash out against the person next to you just because they have a different opinion.

PLEASE do not respond to this email as I am not looking for any type of sympathy. But I do wish that you take a moment to simply think about you about your own lives offer and how you can HELP your fellow member whether it be a family member or friend.

I wish each of you a prosperous 2018.  Think about the loved ones in your family.  Think about the ones who have strayed from your hearts. All will need the total amount of love you have to offer!

Paul Begnoche

Scroll to the bottom of the page and feel free to leave any favorite memories or comments.


  1. Craig and Lisa Martin

    Words cannot express how saddened Lisa and I are at Paul’s passing. Paul and Wanda were a joy to be with and around, and Paul taught me what it really means to hang in there and keep pushing. We will miss you, Paul. Wanda, we are here for you.

  2. George Lucas

    On my very first Head for the Mountains event, I had no idea where I was going to on runs. Paul noticed I was lost and he generously spent time with me pouring over maps of the West Texas area and before I knew it, all my plans were made! And he barely knew me!

    I didn’t have the pleasure of spending too much time with he and Wanda, but he’ll certainly be missed.

    God Bless Wanda in this difficult time. Know that you have lots of loving friends.

    George Lucas

  3. Jim Treat


    I am so sorry to hear about Paul’s passing. He put up a great fight all the way. I always enjoyed seeing the two of you show up at so many of our events, knowing how much he loved enjoying his Miata with you and your many friends and loved ones. Now he can drive all of heaven’s roads with no rain in sight and wildflowers and Bluebonnets and Painted Churches as far as the eye can see. And he’ll have a good time arguing with Freda now!!

    Love to you and your family through this mournful time.

    Jim Treat

  4. Judi Privett

    Wanda is like a true sister to me … and Paul a great teddy bear of a brother. Sometimes a pesky brother … but a true brother in every sense. The four of us have been friends since 2007 and it wasn’t long before we were great friends!

    Whenever we wanted to go on a vacation he was always the first to say “Count us in” … whether it was a Miata trip, a cruise or even just a driving adventure, or even a fun trip for lunch … Paul loved to travel, laugh and have a great time in his Miata!

    Paul was always there helping in anyway he could … he was even a Silver Sponsor of the 2019 Texas Miata Round-Up … it was extremely generous of him to help out in all the ways he did for the Round-Up.

    Paul and Wanda also loved to come over, sit on our deck, enjoy the view and drink wine … we would all talk for hours and hours! I will miss Paul greatly … and will cherish every moment we all had together. I know he is in heaven enjoying a better view now … and he can travel the world and see all its wonders from an incredible new vantage point!

    Paul you were a true warrior in your fight of cancer. I don’t know anyone that could have endured as much pain as he did, and yet he still kept on fighting.

    We love you Wanda, I will always cherish your friendship… and I’m here for you whatever you need. May you find comfort in your family and your friends during this sad time.

    Love, Hugs and Prayers
    Judi Privett

  5. Don Privett

    What can you say when you lose your best friend. It’s tough because I’m glad and sad at the same time.

    I’m glad Paul isn’t struggling against cancer any more but I miss him dearly as my friend.

    Paul was a friend you could count on anytime you needed him. He was always the first to say “Yes” if you wanted to do something.

    He had a generous heart that he did not expose very often but he was always there to help. He would rather be anonymous than be in the limelight.

    My heart is heavy now but I know that Paul is in a better place and I know I will see him when my time is done. He will be waiting with a big smile and warm hug.

    We love you Wanda, please stay close to your Miata family.

    Don Privett

  6. Larry Stivers


    You have our deepest sympathies. Although Paul advised us in the club of his diagnosis a couple of years ago, we were surprised at his passing. Since that email notification our admiration for him has grown steadily as he refused to give up, pursuing life with gusto.

    Pamela & Larry Stivers

  7. Cheryl Knight

    Losing a friend, a regular wine drinking and travel pal, is hard, especially when it happens against our cultural expectations of when death occurs. Paul was younger than many of us and it’s not supposed to happen that way. Not that you ever want to lose anyone, but it’s left us with a bit of “the world is out of order” dismay.

    On the bright side, over the last couple of years, Paul has been an inspiration to so many of us. Often he was the initiator of an outing or a trip, never one to just sit around and feel sorry for himself or focus on the negative. We will miss his forward looking approach to getting the most out of life. Wanda, we cherish you and support you with our love and friendship.
    Cheryl and Joe Knight

  8. Paul Wilson

    Like others who have posted, I’m saddened to learn of Paul’s passing.

    My limited contact with Paul occurred during Club meetings, runs, and extended trips. Though I didn’t know him well, I did know enough to determine the condition of his heart:

    • Paul had the heart of a warrior: Though the enemy came from within, Paul battled mightily; adopting new tactics when the enemy adapted to a particular treatment. Paul NEVER gave up or gave in.
    • Paul had a giving heart: Always ready to help when he saw the need; Paul gave of his time as well as his money. His contributions to individuals and to the Club are greatly appreciated.
    • Paul had a adventurous heart: Paul participated in many Club drives and numerous days-long trips – cruises included. The pleasure he experienced was written all over his face and evident in his body language.
    • Paul had a determined heart: Grim prognosis notwithstanding, Paul purchased a new Miata and customized it to his liking; determined to milk every remaining minute in pursuit of fun with his Miata family.
    • Paul had a mischievous heart: Quick-witted and always ready to lob a verbal zinger or rejoinder; Paul kept this sarcastic individual on his toes.
    • Paul had a practical heart: Knowing that time was limited and preparing for his eventual passing; Paul downsized the family home to reduce future expenses and maintenance.
    • Paul had a loving heart: Paul’s devotion to Wanda was clear for all to see. His love was manifest by minimizing the physical impact of his passing. We can only guess how the emotional impact was addressed; but I fully believe that it was done in love.

    Paul’s passing leaves a giant void in many lives. I pray that Wanda and the children can begin processing their grief as they trudge through the inevitable practical matters that ensue when a loved-one passes.

    May we all join in a virtual toast to Paul and to the memorable experiences we shared with him and with Wanda.

    Paul Wilson

  9. Stephanie Bell-Turner

    Wanda our hearts, prayers, and thoughts go out to you and your family during this difficult time. You and Paul gave this such a good fight and I know his life was so much better because of you. Please never forget your Miata family is here for you anytime you need us. May he rest in peace.

  10. Brenya Buchalski

    Dearest Wanda:

    Sweet Wanda:

    Much love and many hugs. Please accept our condolences for you and your family. Paul ‘s be-ing is missed. He always had a welcoming smile and kind eyes. He showed his love and protection of you.

  11. Betty Fields

    We hadn’t got to spend time with Paul in many years but the trips and gatherings we did in the past will always be sweet memories.

    He was a “one of a kind” kinda guy – you know where he stood on things even if you didn’t ask. Lol. We have prayed for him often but are thankful that God is always in control and he’s not hurting anymore.

    Wanda we love you and hope you know how sorry we are for your loss. It meant a lot to us to be able to pray with you when we saw you last. Please let us know if you need anything.

    Lifting you up!
    Ronnie & Betty Fields

  12. Rich Sandenaw

    I’ll miss Paul. I met him at Club events not long after joining in 2013. He often stood out for his strong opinions and for being quick and witty. We got to know each other better at a “Head to the Mountains” Star Gazing party. We sat with our wives in the fog at the observatory. After seeing no stars for long enough, we headed down the mountain back to the Hampton Inn in Alpine. Paul was in the lead going plenty fast in the dark and I tried to keep up. That trip was the start of our friendship. Paul gained my admiration over the past few years for his determination to be out with friends, to attend Club events, and to go on trips even though he was going through the misery of pain and cancer treatments of all sorts. We sometimes talked about the alternate choice which was staying at home alone feeling miserable. The rougher it got for him, the closer he and his friends became. I’ll remember the many good times and fun trips we shared.
    He was determined to the end.
    Rich Sandenaw

  13. Dan Hicks

    Betty and I visited Paul several times when he had hospital stays. Most recently, on Feb 4th, we met the on-duty chaplain at SAMMC. I was in the middle of telling a joke when he arrived. When I finished, he laughed and asked me if I had any more. (I think he collected the good ones.) We had a great time visiting for quite some time and then the priest said he didn’t want to intrude and would return later. As we did each time we visited, while holding hands with each other, I prayed for Paul before leaving the hospital. Wanda texted us later that the chaplain returned and administered the Anointment for the Sick. Since we are not familiar with the Catholic church, Betty looked it up. We were blessed to find that it was a prayer for physical and spiritual healing. I always tried to be upbeat around Paul and have a good joke to share. He was always quick to let me know whether it was good or bad. He especially enjoyed pulling my chain when the joke was on me! I didn’t mind, because it gave Paul a chance to smile and laugh. He was always ready to have me pray for him and seemed to appreciate it without verbalizing his own personal faith. I am convinced that Paul acknowledged Jesus as his Lord and Savior before his passing and is now present with the Lord and experiencing perfect joy.
    I will miss you my friend.
    Dan Hicks

  14. Carol Haughton

    Wanda, sending your hugs. I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Paul. May your memories bring a smile to you face through your tears. Wrap yourself in Jesus arms and rest in Him. Let Him comfort you like no one else can. Talk to you soon. Call me if you need to talk. I don’t care what time it is. Love you.

  15. Betty Hicks

    Today (Friday, Apr 24th) was the first day I prayed for Wanda and not for Paul. It felt so strange because almost every day for four years I prayed for both as they fought cancer together. No more reason to pray for Paul because he is in his eternal home, in the presence of Jesus Christ, where there is no more pain, no more sorrow, no more tears – only joy. I believe he will be there waiting for all his friends who believe in their hearts and confess with their mouths that Jesus is the Son of God who died for our sins and rose again. Until then, I will miss Paul’s genuine friendship, his determination to make the most of the time he had left, and his heartfelt bear hugs.

    Dan and I have been friends with Paul and Wanda since March 2016 when we joined them on a cruise to the Southern Caribbean. We did a lot of wining and dining, sailed together again in 2018, and made many trips over the past several years. We enjoyed each one even though he struggled at times with pain and health issues. On one trip, I took a soft fall while walking toward the group who had hiked on ahead. Since it was steep, I just kind of sat down as I lost my balance. Even after yelling I was okay, my friend–my hero, Paul, rushed to help me up.

    Paul came to my book launch in September 2016. As he walked up to the signing table (pushing Barbara Thompson in a wheelchair – thankfully only temporary), he said, “Wanda had to work today so she told me I had to come and get her a book.” I recall telling him it was an honor to have him there and how kind it was for him to push Barb over to the signing table.

    Wanda, I am so thankful for our friendship. And, so grateful that Paul encouraged you to attend church and ladies Bible studies with me. You are a wonderful, loving woman of faith and I thank the Lord for giving you wisdom and strength to care for Paul so perfectly all these years. Paul told us he trusted you to know what treatments and medications were best for him. And I know he trusted Dan and me, along with many other friends, to be there for you when he was called home. We will do our best to give you much love and support once your children return to their homes. I believe that someday you and I will stroll over heaven with Paul.
    Love You,
    Betty Hicks

  16. Barbara and Shan Ahmad

    Hi, Wanda

    So sorry about Paul.

    Fellow Miatas,

    Barbara and Shan Ahmad

  17. Marty Lege'

    I’m so very sorry for your loss. I know there’s little comfort from my words, but you’re in my prayers. ?


  18. Dave Hamilton

    Wonderful online service. It must have been difficult for you but we are sure that Paul was proud of you and all the family. It was an outstanding tribute. We are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers. As we told you the other day we are always here for you.
    Dave & Marilyn