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Says 'many counted Paul Rake as a friend'

Published 4:32 pm, Wednesday, November 7, 2012
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To the Editor:

A well-known resident of New Milford, Paul Rake, passed away Oct. 12 in New Milford Hospital.

People who took the time to get to know Paul will remember him as a gentle man of great intelligence and resourcefulness; immensely interested in everything.

A veteran of what he often called "urban camping," Paul kept his life together on his bicycle, which he patched and repaired with ingenuity.

Paul was reticent but approachable, and many people counted him as a friend. He was a fixture at Loaves & Fishes Hospitality House and St. John's Episcopal Church, where many knew him.

Paul was not without his demons. Earlier misfortunes had marked him deeply, and in spite of his Princeton education, he was unable -- indeed, seemingly unwilling -- to climb out of homelessness.

Paul had family here in town, and they had tried unceasingly to assist him.

But there was a limit to how much aid he wanted, or was willing to receive, and he would not go beyond it. Despite his courtesy, he could be obstinate and was sometimes more likely to refuse help than accept it.

Paul's health turned bad over the summer and had probably been getting worse for years. He did finally get care both in New Milford and Danbury hospitals, and in many ways his life seemed to be turning around, just a little.

But it was too late.

These days many are struggling, and it's not hard to realize that a lost job, an accident, or just bad luck can overwhelm anyone.

Paul's life encourages us to look a little deeper and recognize a kindred soul in those against whom fortune has turned.

Rest in peace, Paul -- you deserve it.

Jim Rains

New Milford