In Memoriam: Remembering Paul Pascal

Paul Pascal celebrating his wife Brenda’s birthday at the Cottage in 2013


It is with a heavy heart that we share that our dear friend, long-time supporter of the Cottage, and Lincoln aficionado, Paul Pascal, recently passed.

Paul was a past President of the Lincoln Group of DC, one of the groups that helped raise awareness and rally support around the idea that the Cottage should be restored and opened to the public. As soon as that idea started to become a reality, Paul and Brenda became supporters of the Capital Project, and never ceased in their support of our work.

Paul Pascal was also well known in the DC political scene and was unofficially dubbed the “Mayor of Union Market” for his role in making that massive project in northeast DC a reality.

In addition to their great appreciation for Lincoln, this campus held personal meaning for them. Paul and Brenda were fond of sharing the story of how they strolled the grounds around the Cottage during their courtship many years ago.

They have been like family to our team. To honor Paul, our staff wanted to share some of their favorite stories and memories about him and Brenda, their generous support, and genuine love for the Cottage:

Zach Klitzman explains:

My fondest memory of Paul and Brenda Pascal is when they graciously invited a few staff members from President Lincoln’s Cottage to their home in Bethesda, Maryland. This wasn’t just a standard donor house call. Instead, they showed off their vast collection of memorabilia that Paul had collected over the years, and that had started with his father Leo. A lot of the collection was related to antique cars, but there also were many Lincoln related items (some of which we previously had used for an exhibit). It was in fact quite overwhelming how much stuff they had – but it was so expertly organized and stored it practically was a museum itself. It was a lovely afternoon, and was a great example of the Pascals’ hospitality, graciousness and passion for history.

Jenny Phillips adds:

Since I’m newer on staff, I only had the privilege of chatting with Paul and Brenda once, but I’ll never forget it. Before a Cottage Conversation last fall — which I heard they faithfully attended — I was walking with them over to the Cottage and heard all about how they had courted on the grounds. Brenda was wearing her signature bright orange-red lipstick and I remarked how much I loved it. She explained that she loves it so much, she’s fearful it will be discontinued, so she has a stock pile of lipsticks in her home.

A little while later I found my own personal tube of “Revlon #710–orange flip” waiting for me on my desk (sorry the secret’s out, Brenda!), gifted from Brenda to me as one lipstick lover to another. I was legitimately touched by such a thoughtful gesture, and I think that perfectly encompasses the Pascals, their thoughtfulness and generosity.

Nora Cobo recalls:

The thing I remember most fondly about Paul Pascal, and cherish most deeply about Brenda Pascal, is how easy the conversation feels. Their questions are insightful, you feel heard when you’re speaking with them, and the stories of the amazing experiences they’ve had in their lives are delightful!

Callie Hawkins writes:

One of my fondest memories of Paul is hearing him talk about “courting” his beloved Brenda on the grounds of the Soldiers’ Home. He talked about their walks and their affinity for sitting on a bench and talking for hours. Everyone deserves someone who loves them the way Paul loved Brenda!

Sahand Miraminy explains:

Several years ago, I had the pleasure of helping Mr. Pascal plan a surprise birthday party for his amazing wife Brenda. Paul did a marvelous job at keeping the event a secret. In fact, he fabricated a flier for a non-existent Cottage Conversation, and that became his ruse to get Brenda to the Cottage that evening. Brenda walked out to the Verandah to a lawn full of her family and friends, well-known scholars, and even a Civil War band! Paul was an incredible man with a passion for history that was contagious. He cared for his family deeply, and he certainly was a part of our family here at the Cottage.

Brenda (wearing her signature lipstick) and Paul Pascal on the Cottage’s verandah during Brenda’s surprise party


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