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Northwest Men's Resource Center

In tribute to

Paul Shaner

We were shocked and saddened to hear that Paul Shaner died suddenly of a heart attack in his home on May 18, 1999


Paul Shaner

Paul Shaner was a therapist in the Seattle area who has long been active on "men's issues." He worked unceasingly and unselfishly to help and support other men. He was a former editor of Seattle M.E.N.'s newsletter and an active member of the Seattle M.E.N. Board. He was also co-founder of the first US chapter of MERGE (Movement for the Establishment of Real Gender Equality). The "Gang of Six" breakfast meetings that he held in his home one Sunday a month there the "glue" that held men's activists together in the Puget Sound region. His delightful smile, hearty laugh, good sense of humor and open, compassionate heart will be missed as much as his unselfish devotion to the support of other men.

There was a gathering for his family and all his many friends at his home in Kenmore on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. It is traditional to send flowers or to make a donation to a charity of the deceased's choice. Well, Paul's unstinting generosity of his own time, money and energy has been at great cost, financial as well as otherwise. Perhaps the most suitable memorial is to help with the debts he incurred in the service of others. Feel free to send a check to "Paul Shaner" at the above addess, as your memorial. Neither Paul nor his family would think of making a request like this. The request is the kindhearted suggestion of a professional colleague.

Men from Paul's men's groups and who knew Paul from his involvement in issues concerning men may have some separate memorial as well. I will post details on this page as they emerge. It may be too taxing to expect Paul's family to share their grief at a small ocasion and again at a large, more public gathering like this would be. Rest assured that if the family is not present at such a memorial, the sentiments will be conveyed to them. Bookmark this page and come back for details as we become aware of them.

I grieve, especially, for Paul Jr. Paul was named Paul LeRoy Shaner, and his parents always called him LeROY. He named his son Paul Wade Shaner. Paul Jr.'s mother died just this April, so he suffes the loss of both parents in a very short time.

People wishing to leave a phone message for Paul Jr. and those who loved paul may do so at (425) 485-9482.

MenWeb invites you to offer tributes, eulogies, memories, stories, "good byes," or whatever else moves you, to pay tribute to Paul. Just e-mail them to me, Bert Hoff, and I'll add them in on this page.

We will honor our fallen colleague and friend, Paul Shaner, best by carrying forward the work he has helped bring us together to do.

Stanley Green
Board Member
Shared Parenting
College Place, WA

Some of the rest of us will likewise bow out before the battle is won. But let us pick up the torch where Paul has left it and carry on, in his name and in the name of justice and decency. We'll miss you, Paul.

Ferrel Christensen

As you know, Paul Shaner died yesterday, May 18th, of what appears to have been a very massive coronary.

He was found in his small office computer room fallen over in his chair by his 5:30 client. His body was taken to the Flintoft Funeral Home in Issaquah for cremation tomorrow evening. There is no visitation or viewing. Dinne and I have just returned from there, and the plans call for a gathering of all his many friends at his home in Kenmore three weeks from now, the Sunday after Memorial Day. Further details will be forthcoming as they are made.

Paul died suddenly, and, he would be happy to know, well dressed. Please pass this message along.

I will let you know of any further developments in the plans.

John Page

Paul and I have been together for the past two years. We have often been on opposite sides of any and all conversations about women but I have always been soft on most issues about men. I have a 19 year old son and above all else, I want him to be proud to be a man.

Paul has been sick for quite a while with problems with his heart but he wasn't willing to take the time out to have surgery due to his clients. For the past couple of weeks, he got worse and this past week, he probably developed the flu which exacerbated his heart problems. He went to see his doctor Tuesday morning, but probably under played his problems. His doctor put him on antibiotics and a few other things, but Paul died a few hours after he got home. He was found by a client who got concerned when he didn't answer the door. It appeared to the client as if he had been gone for a while. He was in his office, laying on the floor, looking like he was sleeping. He had on his favorite green sweater (he called it his comfort sweater) and all in all, I think that his client probably should have thought that his problems weren't that bad after all.

Well, I loved him and I am really mad at him for leaving.

Thank you again for the page you wrote.

Dinnie Burnham

John Page called me this evening, May 18, 1999, with the very sad news that around 6PM Pacific Daylight Time Paul Shaner died of a massive coronary. He was 58.

Paul was the first editor of the widely respected Seattle M.E.N. magazine, co-founder of the first US chapter of MERGE (Movement for the Establishment of Real Gender Equality), co-founder of the Gang of Six, and a good friend.

Only a few weeks ago Paul wrote, "my overall goals are to be in some academic or semiacademic men's studies type of position. I may die before there is funding for this sort of thing, but I am in training."

He had high ideals, lofty goals, and his commitment has been a source of inspiration to us all. He will be sorely missed.

Rod Van Mechelen

I first met Paul when we were both elected members of the board at Seattle M.E.N., about 9 years ago. I immediately felt a camaraderie with Paul. We shared many of the same ideals and goals. I remember the many struggles that we shared trying to help define the organization in such a way that we felt would express the greater men's community, not just the nascent mythopoetic movement. We both left, at differing times - Paul left earlier, I think because of his heart.

Paul, later started up the first U.S. chapter of M.E.R.G.E. - the Movement to Establish Real Gender Equality. I have fond memories of doing a joint presentation on domestic violence - it was lightly attended, but we did have a reporter from the Seattle Times present. It was interesting. Our intentions were to jointly publish an exhaustive article on the subject prior to our presentation, but we were not able to complete it. While our goals and ideas were similar, we were not able to blend them in time for the presentation. I ended up doing most of the writing, but Paul had much more depth than I did and a better understanding of the scientific approach. We never did finish or publish the article.

I don't know how or why, but M.E.R.G.E. faded out. A few years later, a small group of us (Dave Ault and Bob Hoyden and I) formed an organization called the Northwest Men's Resource Center (NWMRC). Dave left and Paul (along with John Sample and Pete Weist) joined. We got far enough along to get our 501c3, but for various reasons most of the board members had to leave (I became a new father), and so this organization faded as well. Paul's vision for the organization was ambitious and of course very father-friendly. Recently, I had plans to call Paul to see if he was interested in reviving NWMRC. Now I can't.

These are my memories of working with Paul, but what I really treasure are the jokes that he told, his gentle person and his large heart (not to mention the gatherings at his house). We miss you Paul. I miss you Paul.

Jon Pielemeier

Susan's stained class window - Ocra

Susan's stained class window - Flower

I have known Paul for over 20 years. It has been of late a correspondence relationship. When I am in Seattle, I always stay at Paul's, since I am originally from Seattle. I have really only loved two men and one was Paul Shaner. Paul Shaner always made me think. He taught me to see that men have feelings too and to not be so harsh when judging the actions of my ex-husband. He had the best hugs. He was a voracious reader. He taught me to make stain glass and in my Lexington, KY windows I have three in separate windows that we made together. I left Seattle for Sanaa, Yemen with my children. Paul was the first one to send me a card. It meant so much.

He was always there for me. Last summer he was on my radio show, Tuck Talk, talking about men's issues and the value of friendship. I can not stop crying. Paul would e-mail me frequently. I was so impressed with the newsletter he sent me in February. Just last week he wished me and my twins a happy birthday since we all have the same birthday, May 8th. I am a better person because of Paul.

In the early 80s we both loved the author John Irving, esp. the movie: The World According to Garp, but our favorite was, The New Hotel New Hampshire.

We loved the last line: "keep passing the open windows"...we would always say that to one another in our writings. Really neither one of us knowing exactly what it meant. Paul was always there for me. The last time I was there (l995), he let me borrow his truck and we had not finished the klingit-haida stain glass he was teaching me to make; he got up at 4 in the morning and finished it for me, so I could take it back on the plane.

I cry now each time I enter my kitchen and see the light shining thru it. He had brown eyes that twinkled. He had a great voice. He had great hair, but most of all he had the most comassionate of all hearts and souls. I keep asking God if he really needed Paul? Why, I just know we needed him more. I am only comforted when I realize that he is looking after all of us and yes....he is passing the open windows.

Susan Tuck, Lexington, KY

Today I am so sad. I received a call last night that my good friend Paul had died of a heart attack. When I was 15 yrs old, I was living by myself in a trailer, in trouble, and he was my counselor at the youth center. He really helped me get on track, back to school, and introduced me to volunteerism. We have always kept in close contact for the next 19 yrs. We just had lunch together a few months ago.

When I was 23, going to college, and drinking alot and experimenting with drugs. I was assaulted by a man I drank with, who happened to be an instructor at the college. I was beaten pretty badly in the struggle, and when I went before the judge to get a restraining order against this man, the judge took me in his chambers. He told me never to repeat what he was about to say but it was the truth. I was lucky to be alive, and had a chance to turn my life around. That fact was that this man was a college professor, and should this go to trial, unfortunately I would be the one on trial. I was shocked by what he said, but knew he was telling me the truth. I have never drunk or used drugs again, Got my sorry butt to AA, and moved back home to Seattle. When I got to Seattle, I was so terrified to go anywhere, I would be afraid of being attacked by someone else, or that this man would find me.

It was my friend Paul who drove over to my apartment, leaving notes on my door, telling me he cared, and I could make it through this, signing his notes, "your other father." One day he picked me up and drug me all over Seattle to sit and watch women. Women who carried themselves assertively. Women who did not look like victims. Then the next day he made ME walk around the mall practicing to walk like those other women. I was never afraid after that. We have remained so close, he has known me more than half my life. He is the one who made Tom and me the stained glass cactus in the window, and gave us the big ficus tree. He taught me how to dig for clams and make sourdough bread in coffee cans. We laughed a whole lot together. I feel like my heart is broken, as I have lost the first person in my life who demonstrated unconditional love to me. He has been my voice of reason for many years now, and today I just can't imagine him not being a part of my life.


What a wonderful tribute to our son. Thank you so much. We thoroughly agree. He was all that and very thoughtful of us. Every other Sunday he came to see us. I am sure he had other things he would rather do part of the time. He got his dad started on the computer and their was always something to straigten out when he came. He would just grin and he or Dinnie would get it straigtened out.

We will really miss him.

Pauline Shaner
Melvin Shaner

John Sample has written an article "This is the Problem," about two men jailed for a year on rape charges later proven to be false. He dedicates it to Paul.

Dear Paul:

It is spring and they tell me you have died. I don't believe them. This seemed to be your favorite time of year, all the flowers and vegetables your garden would grow. The blooms on your trees, fish swimming in your pond, like a mini-arboretum. You were my friend, best older brother, and mentor in growing up to be a good person. I was thinking today of something in the car on the way home from work, and I thought you might just find it amusing. I hope so. You gave so much to me and to everyone, I only wish there could have been a way for you to stay with us longer.

If I was God

the serious people would die first I would allow those who knew how to laugh to live longer

the selfish ones who think money is most important would go before those who gave their hearts and time generously

those who used others for their own ends would go before those who knew how to share and appreciate people

those who thought cement and strip malls were important would surely go before those who grew lovely flowers and vegetables

those who liked to perpetuate the lies of society would disappear before the truth tellers and creative thinkers

those who were stingy with their time would go before those who worked for all they believed true

those who thought friends were a waste of time would go before those who knew that friendships were the best.

If I was God

Paul Shaner would still be with us in fact he would probably live forever

gardening and teaching, writing and reading, ranting and raving, laughing and kidding around, sharing his heart and his mind with all of us, reminding us with each encounter how important it is to live with integrity the lives we have been given to live.

If I was God

I would have made most all of the people just like my friend Paul.

I miss you already Renaissance Man: therapist, writer, friend, gardener, cook, artist, musical affeccianato, John Wayne wannabe, advocate for men and women, for children, for the rights of everyone to live with truth and value in ways that do not injury others.

Blessings and keep the skies warm--
as usual, you are the groundbreaker in this adventure--

Mary LeLoo

Dinnie adds: "I have a huge collection of 'stuff' as he called it, sayings, poems, anecdotes etc of Paul's that he saved that made him think... I was reading them again last night, here is one that is truly about him though I'm sure he didn't know it."

To laugh often and much
To win respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children
To earn the appreciation of honest critics
And endure the betrayal of false friends
To appreciate beauty
To find the best in others
To leave the world a bit better
Whether by a healthy child
A garden patch
Or a redeemed social condition
To know even one life breathed easier
because you have lived
This is to have succeeded.

by Ralph Walso Emerson
     (And lived beyond his imagination by Paul Shaner)

After the loss of a close friend, Paul told me, "although your friend is does not mean you cannot speak to him".(however, out in public may not be such a wise idea (-: ) I don't think a day has gone by, in the 10 years which have passed, that I do not think about these words. Such a simple idea...and one that has helped me cope with the emotions tied to losing a friend. It truly changed my life.......I would like to say "thank you, Paul"...

Dear Paul, my friend,

You suddenly left us, and your family. Your death has left us mourning, yet, I am quite sure you are doing just fine, and still, you live in our hearts and memories. Your death brings back very personal memories, when I had a bad heart attack on Christmas morning, 1991, when our son Sean, was just 7 weeks old..........I had no fear of dying, as I told my other half Cindy just before they rolled me into the operating room about a week later, "I've been to hell and back, nothing can be worse than that, so don't be sad if I die, you just take good care of our son and make sure he has a good life with you and make sure he knows how much his daddy loves him, OK?" (At that time, I was 15 years sober per my alcoholism, today, I now have over 23 years, thank God!).

You, my friend, had all the 'warning' signs per your health and heart problems, and still, strove on for men and dads. You did what you had to do per your heart, and what was within it, that I can easily understand. People asked me after I got out of the hospital, (after 5 bypasses) "what are you going to do now George?" My reply was, "just what I've been doing the past 4 years!" I know the stress, the long hours, the emotional pain and worry, the dedication, committment, the financial expense, the compassion you endured and posessed. You did what you had to do, and many men and dads, along with their children, including your own, should be proud and greatful for it.

I remember our many emails per the conferences you were trying to arrange with "male victims" of domestic abuse being a main item on the conference agenda, along with 'pro se' litigation, and my offering to be a presenter at these conferences on those two topics. You were anxious to get these set up and have me there as part of these conferences, and I so looked forward to taking part in them, but, especially too, meeting you in person for the first time. You were one of the 'cooler heads' in this 'movement,' working at things that some of us found so important, yet, accomplishing things in different manners. You could see the wisdom and reasons for doing many things in different ways, while others either could not or refused to do so, because some of us were 'too controversial' in our way of getting things done. Thats what I really appreciated about you Paul, your "openmindedness," your willingness to look at many facets of an issue, and realizing the 'multifaceted approach" which can be very effective, done appropriately.

I am sad that I never got the chance to meet you in person, to spend some personal time together to share thoughts, experiences and feelings. I am sad that this 'movement' has lost a very valuable contributor, and we will miss you greatly. I want to 'thank you' for what you gave so freely and lovingly, for your dedication and wisdom, for your efforts on behalf of men, dads, and yes, families and children too. I have no doubt, that not only you, but some who have gone before you, and some of us still alive, will not have their efforts truly recognized or appreciated until many years have gone by at which time, maybe our children, or grandchildren, along with society in general, will finally realize and recognize what we had in mind and the tremendous efforts we put out, to say nothing of the emotional expense of doing so.

Rest easy my friend, your spirit will be with many of us forever. Your thoughts, your kindnesses, will never be forgotten. Many years ago I read the following, and I think it is appropriate in your case also,

"If I've been able to see further than others, it is only because I have stood on the shoulders of giants!"


George T. Gilliland Sr.
Domestic Rights Coalition
St. Paul, MN.



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