Writer remembers Pittsburg principal who died Sunday

Dear Editor:

It isn’t supposed to work this way.  I am decades his senior and never imagined that I would be joining scores of colleagues earlier today as we held a prayer session for Paul Shatswell, Principal of Pittsburg Adult Education. Paul fought for over a week on life support after his shooting in a domestic altercation but yesterday his time came to cross the threshold.

The Pittsburg school community is still dazed because it all makes no sense. Too young, too vibrant, too passionate; too engaged it seemed o say goodbye. Newly appointed Principal, the world seemed his oyster.

Paul did nothing half-heartedly. The man epitomized gusto. His last comment to me was vintage Paul and came on his last day in school.  I had avoided dropping by his office all week because I knew that he was consumed by finalizing the 2019-2020 school budget.

I dropped by to congratulate him on the completed budget project. After graciously thanking me he ended our chat by saying that we had our work cut out for us in making the school all that it could be.

Ten minutes later I saw Paul in the parking lot. He gave me an exuberant thumbs up as he drove away.

Little did any of us imagine.

There is much we don’t understand. Life and death can seem inexplicable to our frail human perception.  Paul was a man of faith and would want us accepting, though.   He was not one to wail and gnash teeth but rather to affirm and celebrate.

We need now to focus on our blessings. After all, we were gifted as we worked. lived, played, laughed and cried with a good man on this journey called life.

May the Perpetual Light shine upon you, Paul.

Walter Ruehlig

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