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A Picnic with a President and a King

Paul Carl Draiss, 87, of Hyde Park, NY,
died on Wednesday, November 30, 2022,
at home in Hyde Park.

Long-time member Paul Draiss had a boyhood memory that is truly unique.  As a little boy, he was at a picnic in Hyde Park on June 11, 1939. Not just any backyard picnic, he was with President Franklin Roosevelt and King George VI of Great Britain.

Paul’s father, Frank, worked for the Roosevelts at their properties in Hyde Park.  However, on this day, Frank was given the formidable task of being the hot dog chef for royalty.  The guests included relatives, friends, neighbors, assorted political figures, the Prime Minister of Canada, as well as the King and Queen. According to a published report of the event, “The Royals also met the Roosevelt’s staff including one employee who brought nine of his ten children;” the Draiss family, including young Paul.

The New York Times ran a story the next day, “King Tries Hot Dog and Asks For More.” The reporter wrote that the hot dogs were served on a silver platter, but paper plates were used for dining.  It was said that the King had two hot dogs and a beer.

Paul saw the Roosevelts frequently and came to know Eleanor. “She loved the children and was always very pleasant with us. Not until I was older did I really understand the special place that I grew up in.”


Paul Carl Draiss

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