Jeremy Paul (Tall Paul) Wachs passed away on December 10, 2019. He was 58 years old.
Tall Paul, as we knew him, was a fixture on Eureka’s Westside. Tall, lean and eccentric, he could often be found scraping weeds out of the sidewalk or gutters or tending his roses. He believed having a “persistent presence” was necessary. He said, “not only does it make things look nicer, but people know who I am, I am not an unknown, I am here, and sometimes that’s enough.”
Paul was a member of the Westside Community Building Initiative core group. He was also the unofficial security guard for the Jefferson Community Center. He would close windows, let us know when lights were out, let people skulking around at night know, “I am here”. Because he was skinny, tripped around at all hours of the night and in the dark, and sometimes in odd clothing, we gave him a Neighborhood Watch vest just so anyone who wondered would know, he belongs here. He laughed and said, “What is this? A Halloween costume? If they don’t know who I am then they’re the ones we should be wondering about”.
Paul shared with us what it was like to feel like a second class citizen in his home town and he did consider Eureka his home, even though he was raised in Alamo. He said, “the Music festivals, Blues, Jazz, Reggae, those are all great for the business and tourism industry but many locals will never be able to afford to go, heck I’ll be lucky to get an off night wristband in exchange for picking up garbage after the main event, we should really recognize that.”
Paul had lived in Cutten at his Mom’s, then after she passed away he was homeless for a while and stayed behind the Bayshore Mall, but for the last 12 years he was a Westsider. He was our friend, our neighbor and a “persistent presence”. Paul would spend his last $5 for the month on a Grocery Outlet rose and plant it in your yard or in an alley. He blessed every lady in the neighborhood with a rose in a thrift store vase or unique bottle.
He loved roses, ladies, flight, (birds, butterflies, bugs and planes), coffee, he was an artist of mixed media, he studied psychology, understood Traumatic Brain Injury (as he suffered at least two), read prolifically, appreciated art and beauty and had a deep understanding of people and community.
Paul was preceded in death by his Mom, Mary Wachs, his Dad, Robert Wachs and is survived by his three brothers — Robert, Nicholas and Matthew — and many Westside friends and neighbors. Thank you to Nathan, Michael and Mac for your care and understanding. Paul, your presence is missed.
The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Paul Wachs’ loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.