I have known Paul for over 20 years. It has been of late a
relationship. When I am in Seattle, I always stay at Paul's, since I
originally from Seattle. I have really only loved two men and one was
Shaner. Paul Shaner always made me think. He taught me to see that
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
to make stain glass and in my Lexington, KY windows I have three in
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.
was always there for me. Last summer he was on my radio show, Tuck
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
a happy birthday since we all have the same birthday, May 8th. I am a
person because of Paul.
In the early 80s we both loved the author John Irving, esp. the movie:
World According to Garp, but our favorite was, The New Hotel New
We loved the last line: "keep passing the open windows"...we would
say that to one another in our writings. Really neither one of us
exactly what it meant. Paul was always there for me. The last time I
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
morning and finished it for me, so I could take it back on the plane.
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
but most of all he had the most comassionate of all hearts and souls.
asking God if he really needed Paul? Why, I just know we needed him
am only comforted when I realize that he is looking after all of us and
yes....he is passing the open windows.
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.
Susan Tuck, Lexington, KY
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.
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.
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--
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
gone....it 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
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
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.