The friendship Paul Fay forged with John F. Kennedy began during a touch-football game in 1942 at the PT Boat School in Melville, R.I. Fay, a California native who died Sept. 23 at 91, had just enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was tossing the pigskin with a few classmates when a skinny junior officer named Jack asked if he could play.
The chance encounter would shape both men's lives. After serving in the same squadron during World War II--and recovering from Japanese attacks in the same South Pacific--island hut--the two men became lifelong confidants. When Kennedy moved into the White House, he rewarded Fay's efforts in Kennedy's early political career with the No. 2 job in the Department of the Navy, over the objections of Defense Secretary Robert McNamara.
In 1966, Fay wrote The Pleasure of His Company, which, unlike most Camelot memoirs, was able to humanize Kennedy and offer an intimate glimpse into his personality. Fay recounted witnessing Joseph Kennedy, the family patriarch, scold his children during a dinner in 1959 for spending too much money. After an uncomfortable silence, JFK piped up, "We've come to the conclusion that the only solution is to have Dad work harder." As Fay observed, it was classic Jack.