Concours d'Elegance founder Paul Doerring dies

sbowman@beaufortgazette.comMarch 31, 2014 

Paul Doerring loved cars -- he collected them and even tinkered with them frequently. But he didn't just admire the cars, he loved to drive them, his son David Doerring said.

His attitude toward cars was indicative of the way Paul Doerring lived his life: active and full of passion, friend Carolyn Vanagel said.

"Anything that Paul did, he did with a passion, and he was very respected," said Vanagel, president of Hilton Head Island's Concours d'Elegance, an annual classic-car festival. "He was just an incredible and special person with what he did, and any lives he touched, were forever (changed)."

Doerring, the founder of Concours d'Elegance, died Saturday of natural causes, his son said. He was 82.

Funeral arrangements will be handled by the Island Funeral Home & Crematory. A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Bostwick Pavillion in Moss Creek Plantation, with a reception to follow.

While Paul Doerring may be best known for his involvement in the Concours, which he helped begin 13 years ago, his reach spread throughout the community.

He had a private psychology practice on the island for many years, and he was a founding member of the Hilton Head Jazz Society, the Hilton Head Tennis Association and the Island Youth Center, precursor to the Island Recreation Association.

Paul Doerring and his late wife, Gerry, "both loved tennis, loved jazz, loved theater, and they were involved in all of those things," David Doerring said.

Paul Doerring is survived by his children David, Susan and Erik, and his grandchildren.

Those who knew him said he was knowledgeable In all of his activities, but still willing to learn. He also was extremely selfless and always wanted to help as many people as possible, Concours chairman Stewart Brown said.

When Brown first became involved in the festival, he knew nothing about cars.

"But Paul taught me," he said. "He was a delightful man to be around and delightful to work with."

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