‘He was the kind of guy you strived to be.’ Area Realtor dies at 37 from COVID-19

Paul Jewett, who died Saturday at 37 from Covid, with his wife and sons. PROVIDED
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Paul Jewett, who died Saturday at 37 from Covid, with his wife and sons. PROVIDED

He encouraged Hamilton naysayers to be more positive about the city, wife and friends say.

The COVID-19 disease struck down 37-year-old Paul Jewett, an otherwise healthy man whose friends say was one of the proudest people to be a resident of Hamilton.

“He was the kind of guy you strived to be,” Rob Scruggs, a friend since ninth grade. “He was just happy all the time. He was always smiling. There was always this positive outcome — even if you came with something negative, it was, ‘There’s a different way of looking at it. You’ve got to look at it this way.’ ”

Jewett, a RE/MAX real estate agent, stayed in contact with friends, and had a knack for encouraging people who were down, his wife and friends said. He also worked hard to encourage Hamilton’s naysayers to be more positive about the Butler County city.

For friends, the 6-foot-2 Jewett “wasn’t a rock, he was a mountain to everyone,” Scruggs said. “And people gravitated to him, just for those reasons. He could walk into a room of strangers, and 10 minutes later, everyone loved him.”

Jewett had been healthy before the disease struck him, and had no pre-existing conditions, said his wife, Christina Jewett, who was expecting to give birth to Jewett’s fifth son, Benjamin “Benny,” on May 9. It now appears the process of delivery has started and she will give birth even before Paul’s May 1 memorial service at Hamilton Christian Center. A visitation will be there from noon to 2 p.m., with the memorial service at 2 p.m.

“I had 10 years of the truest love that anyone can ever know,” said Christina Jewett. “I’m definitely blessed for that time.”

Christina, a nurse, is encouraging people to take precautions against the disease. Paul first developed a temperature March 4. He was admitted to Mercy West Hospital on March 11 and later was flown to Christ Hospital, where he died at 1:23 p.m. Saturday. A doctor there said, “he had one of the top three worst sets of lungs he had seen in his career,” Christina said.

One of his final Facebook posts told how proud he was of his 16-year-old son, Austin, who made the junior varsity baseball team at Talawanda High School, his wife said. “He was very proud of his boys. His family was his world.”

“He was such a voice for the community of Hamilton, and positive parts of Hamilton, promoting business and telling people, ‘Keep it inside the community. Don’t give your money to big business. Let our community thrive,’ ” Scruggs said.

Tim Fightmaster, who like Scruggs became part of Jewett’s “crew” of a half-dozen guys in ninth grade, when Jewett moved to town, noted his friend “had a strong, deep voice,” and enjoyed singing karaoke, with his specialty being his own version of “Blue Suede Shoes.”

When he sang, “everybody in the bar, they would stop and listen,” said Fightmaster. He and Christina also sang beautiful duets together. Jewett also DJ’d at bars,

Jewett was very active at Hamilton Christian Center and also belonged to the Masonic Temple in Hamilton. He coached his two oldest sons in the West Side Little League.

Friends have set up a gofundme site called Support Paul Jewett and Family. As of Tuesday, it had raised nearly $57,500 toward its $100,000 goal.

“If I had to describe, he would be a good politician,” said Fightmaster, a fellow member of Hamilton High School’s Class of 2002, particularly because of his love for Hamilton and excitement about the way the city was developing.

Christina, who graduated in the HHS Class of 2003 but didn’t know Jewett in high school, said one reason he was so pleased with Hamilton’s development was when they grew up in the city, people had to travel to Oxford or Cincinnati for entertainment. She heard speculation among his friends that he might someday run for Hamilton City Council or mayor. He created a Facebook page where people could only make positive comments about the city.

He is survived by sons Austin, 16; Brayden, 15; Lincoln, 7; Nolan, 22 months; and Benjamin, due any day now.