My memories of Pope Paul VI are of a remote figure, and of course Pope John Paul I was gone so fast I don't feel we got to "know" him as a Pope. Pope John Paul II seemed to be a much more accessible figure, more similar to the stories of Pope John XXIII who I did not experience personally but heard many stories about from my mom and others, and who appears to have been a remarkably progressive and wonderful Pope and person, and who made many changes that the Church needed, even if some did not play out to my or others' liking.
I was particularly impressed with Pope John Paul II's efforts in the areas of human rights, workers' rights, and helping Communism to fall. I also got to see him when he came to my city on his U.S. tour a number of years ago. That was a very exciting and moving day. The Pope as rockstar :) The tickets were by lottery and after winning, we weren't able to go at first because he broke his arm and cancelled his tour :( but fortunately rescheduled it so we were able to go after all. I remember checking my ticket about 350 times on the way into the stadium because I was so afraid I would lose it and not be able to get in. I spent the entire long day sitting next to a very sweet little old Polish lady named Antoinette who told me stories about how Jesus appeared to her in a dream after her father's death. Apparently Jesus appeared to her in the person of her father, and her sister said that it wasn't Jesus at all, it was really just her late father. Antoinette insisted that it was Jesus because, among other things, "if it had been my father, he would have been speaking Polish!!" I am typing this with a straight face because I have no doubt that little old Polish ladies talk to Jesus. If you had grown up in the time, place and manner that I did, you would have no doubt either. Although the little old Irish ladies would probably give the Polish ladies a run for their money, or at least insist that they were better able to talk to Jesus than any other ethnic group :)
Anyway - I hope the new Pope is able to build on this Pope's good works and also maybe address a few areas, like the decline in the numbers of priests (of which I have more than a few MBA-like ideas on how to fix, only no one is asking me so I'll keep them to myself), that this Pope was not really able to fix for whatever reason. Happy Trails, Pope JPII.