In Memory of Paul Domincovich
by Vera Dickey

In Memory of Paul Domincovich

AP may suggest Associated Press to some readers today, but from 1964-1985 at the Sidwell Friends School, AP stood for Ask Paul. It seems that everyone associated with the School: students and alumni and their parents, faculty, administrators, staff members, and trustees - sooner or later had occasion to seek answers to some of their questions from Paul H. Domincovich, a SFS trustee in 1962-63 who became the school's Business Manager, then the Business Manager and Coordinator of Development, and finally the Assistant Headmaster for Business Affairs. He remained an interested, active trustee through the years.

Paul's office was on the second floor of Zartman House, but his responsibilities covered both the Wisconsin Avenue and the Edgemoor campuses. He was strongly and ably supported by two administrative assistants: Della LeSure and Henry Hall. Della was usually seen with a bill of lading in one hand and a pencil in the other as she and Henry checked on books and other supplies ordered for the school. They were delivered to Henry's quarters on the lower floor of Zartman House, which opened out to the terrace, with the athletic playing field below.

Henry would agree that the support he received from Paul enabled him to help the faculty and staff with their needs for supplies. Reflecting on his years in Zartman House, Henry said "Paul is a very fine, very gentle man who always takes time to help others."

Henry himself was known for his even temperament and cordial spirit. Many were the calls from faculty, staff members and parent and alumni volunteers that invariably began with, "Oh, Henry! That's a candy bar!" and ended with a chuckle. He was indeed pleased to help in any way.


The senior Domincovich family members provided a sturdy background for Paul's direction: His parents taught English and Latin at Germantown Friends, and his sister, Ruth, taught Spanish at Drew University. Paul and Ruth attended Germantown Friends School from kindergarten until they entered college: Haverford and Radcliffe, respectively.

Paul's major was Relief and Reconstruction Administration and prepared him for his job with the United National Relief and Reconstruction Administration in Washington, D.C., from 1945-49, following World War II. From 1949-64, he was supervisor of data processing at the United Mine Workers Welfare and Retirement Fund. Work was not the only place where Paul used his considerable energies. In 1962 he became a member of the Sidwell Friends Board of Trustees, and in 1963 he joined the Overseers Committee of Friends Meeting of Washington and became a trustee of Friends House retirement home in Sandy Spring, Maryland. At that time, Sidwell Friends was actively working to establish a stronger Quaker connection. Frank Barger, Sr., had taken over as acting Headmaster while the Board of Trustees searched for a permanent replacement for John Colbaugh, the former Head. Richard Sheahan, the business manager recruited by Colbaugh, resigned and was replaced by Paul Domincovich, who left the Board to take the post. His background in finance and the fact that he was a birthright Quaker made him the perfect person for the job. It was Paul's job to provide a steady hand and prudent stewardship during difficult financial times. A year later he offered a warm welcome to his boyhood friend, Bob Smith, who had just been named the new headmaster.

Through the years, Paul has received support from a native of Iowa: Faye Faust Domincovich, of South English, Iowa. She also lived in Westgate and Rayville and, while in business school in Rayville, she took a test for government employment, which led to her arrival in Washington, D.C. in 1946. Faye worked for the Veterans Administration and the Export-Import Bank before joining the Sidwell Friends Finance Office.

Faye and Paul were married in 1947, and their children, Mark and Diane, were graduated from Sidwell Friends in 1972 and 1974, respectively. Mark and his wife, Lynde Glody, have two sons, Mark,Jr., now in college, and Thomas, a high school student. Diane and Joseph Giuliani were married in 1999. All live in the Washington, D.C. area.

In his so-called retirement, Paul continues his lifelong pattern of contributing to his community, which, since 1985 has been Bucksport, Maine. It comes as no surprise that his service continues to receive appreciation and notice as he serves on the boards of Bucksport Regional Health Center and the Bucksport Area Child Care Center.

In 1997, Paul received the Outstanding Community Service Award from the Bucksport Bay Area Chamber of Commerce.

As Henry Hall said, Paul always takes time to help others.


Lee A. MacVaugh, former Sidwell Friends teacher, coach, administrator- 1970-81

I was the Assistant Head Coach - Boys' Varsity Soccer - in the early 1970's, working for the very savvy Paul Domincovich. Paul understood the nuances of the game; he knew the rules; and, he knew the teams in Interstate Athletic Conference (IAC) very well. His feel for the strengths and weaknesses of his players, having coached many of them for three or four years, was something to behold for a "rookie" like myself. Paul knew when a player was tired (few players raised their hand, volunteering to come out of a game, since playing time was so precious). He knew when a player was in need of a "talk" about how to play his opponent. He knew when to praise and when to "instruct." I never witnessed him embarrass any of his charges publicly. One of the toughest tasks "Mr. D" had was coaching his talented son Mark. Paul showed no favoritism; and Mark received just the minutes his skills warranted.

I think Paul's forte was making changes during a game. He had devised a strategy during practice and we drilled assiduously. But, occasionally, game conditions called for tactical moves to offset the Landon's and the Georgetown Prep's of the league. Paul was a master at this.

Paul's teams were disciplined, prepared, rarely penalized, and always first or second in the league standings. He got the MOST out of the many fine teams he led. He was a master, one of the best coaches in the Washington metropolitan area.

Phil Fleming, former parent and Head of the Board of Trustees

A dedicated Quaker and always loyal to The Sidwell Friends School, Paul grew up in Germantown, Pennsylvania where his father was the revered head of the English Department at Germantown Friends School. Paul was a K-12 graduate there, then went on to Haverford College, where, like Earl Harrison who followed him a decade or so later, he excelled at soccer.

Paul is a devoted golfer, and he was, while in Washington, an active member of The Florida Avenue Meeting, where he chaired many committees. Paul was a 'good catch" as the Sidwell Business Manager, since he knew accounting and added his Quaker presence to the school staff. In those days, Paul's domain embraced the Sidwell budget and all the buildings and grounds, on both campuses. The school was smaller and its staff and budget were bare bones. Paul kept a watchful eye on how the school spent its pennies, since it had no pennies to spare. When he wasn't turning off unused lights, he was "Mr. Fix-it" all over campus. And, somehow, he also made time to coach girls' soccer.

Paul and Faye, his devoted wife - who also worked in the SFS Business Office for awhile - are currently enjoying their well-earned retirement in Bucksport, Maine. A hard worker always, Paul still enjoys playing golf and tending his garden, and his wardrobe still features L.L. Bean clothing and gear.

We are grateful for all that Paul did for Sidwell Friends, and for all that he meant to those who knew him and admired his steadfast commitment to the school that has been a major part of our lives.

Bob Smith, former headmaster of Sidwell Friends

In the winter of 1964-65, when I came down to Sidwell from New York for my first full dress interview with the Board and was heading toward the couch in the Zartman Drawing Room, not without some trepidation, whom should I catch sight of sitting with a big smile in that circle of solemn faces but my old summer camp companion and fellow tentmate, Paul. We hadn't seen each other since the last day of my last summer, 1941, at the wonderful old camp, Flying Moose Lodge, East Orland, Maine, where we'd been together for six summers and which was run by Paul's father, Mr. Domi, as everyone called him. In the winter Mr. Domi was head of the English Department at Germantown Friends and one of the premier high school English teachers in the land. When occasionally he would take me with him for the 30-or-so-mile drive up to Bangor to buy some camp groceries in bulk (Paul's knowledge of the fine arts of effective bulk purchase came naturally), he would tell me about the greedy antics of the Central Maine Power Co. in its ownership of huge tracts of northern Maine woods, thus making me a lifelong Democrat.

Paul, one of the several Quakers on the Board, had then been the school's business manager for some years. In 1965, the school's fiscal vitality was at a dangerously low ebb: The combination of the recent purchase of the Longfellow School property in Bethesda to make a home for the Lower School and the just completed construction of the new Upper School building had required the school to borrow heavily. Its huge debt decisively influenced all decisions the Board would be making well into the next decade. Paul was right at the center of all the school's challenges during those lean years.

He used to tell us that the school must never go first class. And we never did. The Board had little choice. When we saw a little daylight, in the early 70's, we were able to put a third floor on the Middle School building, the most needed capital improvement among a great many. Paul worked closely with our Philadelphia architect and Haverford College classmate, Mather Lippincott, in every aspect of this big job. Paul knew, not only about every detail in construction, but also about managing every aspect of Buildings and Grounds, Transportation, Bookkeeping, along with Mary Faraclas, the indispensable Bookkeeper, and all aspects of what would be called today Human Resources. He was aided by the skills and knowledge of Melva Hiatt and Audrey Imirie in the Head's office.

Needless to say, Paul's presence made all the difference to me. He was a close friend, a wise, all-knowing source of advice, perspective and institutional memory and a reliable provider of old jokes. He loved soccer as much as I did. We had played together at the same time at Haverford, and he coached the Sidwell girls' team for many of my years. It's not too much to say that he was responsible for everything at school except its intellectual life, and he had plenty of ideas about that too. Paul could fix anything from a plumbing problem, a bus breakdown, or a Riggs Bank statement, to making Meeting more important in the life of the School and even to explaining the arcane features of annual financial reports to dummies like me.

Paul and I used to have a deal when snow was predicted overnight. By 5:00 the next morning each of us had been outside in our neighborhoods walking around to see whether we thought school should open on time or late or remained closed. Then, promptly at 5:00 a.m., I'd call him and we'd compare notes and make the decision on the spot to close, open or open late. Paul would then call WTOP and alert the bus drivers. Mrs. Borders, Head of Beauvoir, would always call at 5:30 a.m. to see what we were going to do, and she would get the word to other schools in the area.

Paul was at school when I came and when I left. I'm sure he was as indispensable to Earl in the same practical, wise and comforting ways. For years, every summer in July, he and his beloved Faye used to go up to Craig Pond to an old house owned by the Domis across the lake from Flying Moose. Our family would come for August. Both families found relaxation and renewal after the school year from this quiet little lake. It is good to think of Paul and Faye now living only a few miles away in the beautiful old Penobscot River village of Bucksport, working in his garden, thinning the pine trees in the land behind, looking out at that great old river where it was broadening into the bay, and enjoying the memories of how he took good care of Sidwell in those years when only he could have done it.

Scott Bradley, M.D., class of '76, now a pediatric cardiac surgeon

Mr. D. was our coach, but also much more - a fine example and mentor. I remember his dedication as he stood on the cold sideline through one winter season after another, as we slogged it out in the mud and snow. He led with quiet strength, always encouraging, never disparaging. He taught us how to be successful as a team rather than as individuals, how to be competitive but remain good sports. The mark of a truly great teacher is that he makes you better by having you do that which you would rather not do. In my case, that was running track for a season to work on my speed. I don't know that the primary goal was achieved, but trying to keep up with Terry White on the track was certainly good for humility. I will never forget one of Mr. D's most frequent pieces of advice, "Shoot for the far post," good advice on the soccer field and in life.