Paul Waites Youmans, 34, of Roanoke, Virginia, died on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018.

He was an Eagle Scout and honors graduate at high school. He graduated with honors from the Department of Biological Sciences in the College of Science at Virginia Tech and quickly ascended through the ranks from laboratory technician to manager of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute Center for Glial Biology in Health, Disease, and Cancer, where he managed the lab for center director Harald Sontheimer, the executive director of the School of Neuroscience in the Virginia Tech College of Science.

He enjoyed the freedom of riding his motorcycle and the satisfaction of helping his co-workers, friends, and neighbors with everything from computer problems to automobile repairs. He also loved his animals and hiking the many Roanoke area trails.

“For any issue that arose within the lab, Paul could home in on the problem and develop a fix quickly,” Sontheimer said. “More than that, he was a close friend and our workplace won’t be the same without him.” 

“Paul was a first-class person, one of the most dedicated, hardest working and inventive people you would ever meet and one of the most helpful colleagues who any organization could hope to have as part of their enterprise,” said Michael Friedlander, executive director of the research institute and vice president for Health Sciences and Technology at Virginia Tech.

“Paul will be missed by his colleagues, his friends, and by his parents, Hugh and Martha Youmans of Yorktown, Virginia and his girlfriend Aerin Toler of Roanoke,” Friedlander said.

A celebration of Paul’s life will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13 with friends and family gathering at 1 p.m. at Oakey’s Roanoke Chapel, 318 Church St., Roanoke. His family requests that in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to either of Paul’s two favorite charities – the Sierra Club or the National Wildlife Foundation.

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