Category:Nash, Paul

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PAUL JEROME NASH was born on February 20, 1934, the son of Denis Nash and Hazel Irwin, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Paul was a middle child, with two older brothers, Peter and Vic, and three younger siblings, Shaun, Mary Jo and Denis.

Paul matriculated at North Adams State Teachers, where he took his Bachelor of Science in Education degree in 1958. In the mid 1980s Paul took his Master of Arts degree in Homophile Studies from One Institute Graduate School in Los Angeles.

Paul received an honorable discharge from the US Navy in 1954. A year later, after Paul's father was hit by a car and killed, Paul and his siblings moved their mother to Jacksonville, Florida, where Vic had been stationed while serving in the US Navy.

Since Paul was not one to hide his homosexuality, and was gregarious, he was driven from the teaching position he had held at Nathan Bedford Forrest High School from 1960 to 1962. Paul grabbed his to-be lifelong friend John Michael Roddy and drove to Los Angeles to meet Ron Williams, one of Paul's friends from Massachusetts.

In Los Angeles, Paul first worked in Gay bars but later became an admitting supervisor at a hospital. Paul had met Don Giguere, whom he had lived with until the early 1970s. By 1972, Susan Lenti and Patrick Small, who both worked at the hospital, had befriended Paul. They, too, became his earliest lifelong friends.

During this time Paul was living in a bachelor's apartment on Sunset Boulevard. He had broken up with Don but had a neat circle of friends from work, bars and from a personal ad in "The Advocate." I, too, wanted "fun and friendship" (and a roommate near school), so, I answered the ad.

While Paul introduced me to his Gay world, which I entered in May 1972, he became acquainted with mine. I had been living with my parents in south central Los Angeles, tutoring at Compton College as well as studying German at the University of California. I was also an anti-Nixon activist. Paul almost immediately specifically wanted a wedding ring from me.

As we honeymooned (he got the ring for Christmas), Paul described the discrimination, persecution and prosecution of Gay people, and I talked about my disgust with politics, and about my German studies. We helped each other come out to family and friends. We traveled far and wide, and went beyond the narrow limits of a sickening, suicide-encouraging society. Our adventure as a couple had begun with joining forces, as it were.

To improve my German, Paul and I traveled to Germany in 1975 and met with Gay activists there. Back in Los Angeles, Paul gave speeches and wrote many articles about and in defense of the rights of Gay people. He participated in three Marches on Washington, at one of which, in the mid 1980s, we were wed. Paul voted in every single election. He told me to translate seminal Gay history books from German into English, the publication of which he later subsidized. He also sponsored a Gay Cuban refugee in 1980 for six months. From Jacksonville, we traveled to Italy in 2000 to celebrate with Gays from many countries. Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, the first known Gay activist, is buried there, and Paul had worked to informally gather Gay activists worldwide at Ulrichs' grave site. In 1999 Paul created his Ulrichs Web site, which is also another one of Paul's legacies.

Paul, who had moved back to Jacksonville in 1989 because I wanted the house his sister there had offered to sell to us, lived a well-grounded life working as a clerk to keep poverty at a comfortable distance. When he retired, he did his chores and ran errands at his leisure. He enjoyed a week's vacation once a year. He upgraded his house while enjoying the grounds around it. While keeping the home fires burning, he liked to read, do crossword puzzles, watch sports on TV and write to family and friends. Then there were all the smokes, including the ones he shared during vespers. Paul would have celebrated his 38th year with me on May 13, 2010.

I owe Paul a huge debt of gratitude for having made my personal dreams -- the lifetime relationship, the education and the publications -- and the American Dream -- the house, car and chicken in every pot -- come true.

Paul died on May 7, 2010, at age 76, the results of a year-long of suffering from a brain tumor. His spirit roams now just as he had walked forth in life: taking every opportunity to witness what he can share on earth and turn to happiness.

-- Michael Lombard-Nash, Jacksonville, Florida, May 9, 2010

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