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News & Blogs: In Memoriam

Death of activist alumnus Paul Booth (LGB '60)

jeudi, 1 mars 2018   (1 Comments)
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Paul Booth (LGB '60) died on 17 January 2018 of complications from leukemia. In addition to the obituaries in the New York Times and in The Nation, the following obituary, written by Ecolint classmate Carol Popper Galaty (LGB '60),  was sent to the Alumni Office via Georgia Achard (LGB '60). A memorial celebration of his life is being planned for 1:30pm, Friday, April 19th in Washington DC.
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Paul Booth at LGB in 1959, where he was Class President


By Carol Popper Galaty LGB class of 1960, who lives in Washington DC, and who attended grade school in Washington DC and Ecolint with him.

Paul Booth, LGB class of 1960, spent only a few of his high school years at Ecolint, but during that time he made a lasting impression on Ecolint’s students and teachers. He established numerous lifelong friendships and managed to join them at many Ecolint Reunions and Escalade parties over the years.

As a student at Ecolint Paul was an interesting combination of personality traits. He was quiet, brilliant, kind, thoughtful, generous and was a calming influence on potentially heated discussions; yet he was also passionate, forceful, fiery and articulate when addressing or organizing people on topics he cared deeply about.  

Paul lived in Washington DC before attending Ecolint and eventually after graduating from Swarthmore College and living in Illinois, he settled back in Washington with his family. Paul met his wife Heather at a Student for Democratic Society (SDS) demonstration. He was an outspoken leader and an influential force in SDS, steering its anti-Vietnam War activities.  

Both Paul and Heather became much respected and loved national activists and leaders, each a powerhouse in related efforts fighting for social justice. Paul was one of the giants and key strategists in the US labor movement. His career took him to a top Union leadership position in AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) where he was a gifted labor organizer, spokesman and served as a mentor to numerous young civil rights and civil justice activists. He wrote influential articles and helped establish new organizations aimed at fostering jobs and social justice. As stated by AFSCME’s leadership, Paul was instrumental in helping the union grow and thrive into the diverse, dynamic organization it is. 

Paul’s death at 74 came extremely suddenly and unexpectedly from complications of a form of leukemia he had but had been controlled for years. The morning of his death he was in the hospital, feeling pretty well and, like everyone else, expecting a quick recovery. He encouraged Heather to take part in a demonstration at the US Capitol to protest deporting immigrants referred to as “Dreamers”. While Paul was in his hospital bed writing a presentation that he planned to give shortly, Heather, with a number of other demonstrators, was arrested. Fortunately, she was released later that day but when she returned to the hospital Paul felt tired and needed to rest; a few hours later he died. 

Paul is mourned by his wife, two sons, five grandchildren and his family as well as numerous friends and admirers in Washington DC, the National and the World. Hundreds attended a “shiva” gathering for him in Washington shortly after his death.  


Jane Calderwood Cummins Fidler (Calderwood) says...
Posted lundi, 19 mars 2018
I attended Ecolint for only part of my high school years. I met Paul shortly after arriving, and was assigned to work with him during a Student UN project. I realized then that Paul would go far with causes I felt I would support as well. I was very sorry to hear of his passing. He shall be remembered! Jane Calderwood Cummins-Fidler (Class of 1960)

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