Paul Fairchild

This is one of the toughest posts we have ever published. A talented writer, Paul Fairchild authored nine pieces for NonDoc. But on Monday, Sept. 25, fellow contributor James Coburn found Paul at home. He had completed suicide at the age of 46.

Paul Fairchild’s first piece for NonDoc ran under the headline Lack of mental health parity creates ‘walking wounded’. His final piece detailed some of the difficulties facing free health care clinics in Oklahoma City. He wrote well and for many other publications, including the The Atlantic, Oklahoma Gazette, Oklahoma Magazine and the Edmond Sun.

Paul was passionate about the topic of mental health care because he held intimate familiarity with the topic. His personal challenges afforded him great empathy for others and a passion for telling important stories.

Below, we have published two items in memory of Paul Bertram Fairchild: a poem written by his friend James Coburn and an obituary written by his father, B.H. Fairchild.

You are missed, Paul. Rest in peace.

— William W. Savage III

(Editor’s note: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255. Professionals are available 24/7.)

Beyond Shadow
by James Coburn

Enlighten me.
You are a kindred spirit,
Part of my soul.
Take my broken branches,
Tips of budding leaves
To an oasis awakened
Where we touch fertile ground.
Scatter our seeds
Nourish with gentle rain;
For I have loved you
Before and after each blossom
As night falls
And light overcomes darkness.
Gather wildflowers before us;
Colors never seen.

Paul Fairchild obituary

Paul Fairchild, a journalist and 12-year resident of Edmond, Oklahoma, died Sept. 25, 2017, at the age of 46. Paul is survived by his parents, Pete and Patricia; his sister, Sarah; his former wife, Rachel; and his children, Cole and Mikayla.

Paul was born Nov. 14, 1970 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He spent his childhood and teenage years in Denton, Texas, and San Bernardino, California. He graduated in 1989 from San Gorgonio High School, where he was an honors student and champion debater. In 1993, Paul graduated from Pomona College as a Philosophy major. Among his many achievements was his tenure as student body president his junior year. Comic books were a lifelong passion for Paul, the Green Lantern being his favorite superhero. After graduation, he dedicated his career to publishing comics, hoping to create the first socially conscious superhero. In 1996, he married Rachel and, in August 2001 and October 2004, he welcomed his beautiful son and daughter, who were the lights of his life. In his early 30s, Paul’s career focus shifted to journalism. He published more than 250 articles in Oklahoma magazines and garnered attention among comic book scholars for an iconoclastic history of Superman in The Atlantic, entitled Kryptonite is Crap. Paul struggled with mental health issues for most of his adult life and was much admired by the psychiatric medical community for his article on the Oklahoma mental health insurance crisis.

Paul is remembered by friends and family for his mischievous grin, many pranks, sarcastic wit and willingness to go above and beyond for the people he loved. He could quote every line in any 80s pop culture movie. He loved baseball and was a voracious reader. He loved to tell stories and make people laugh.

A memorial service will be held 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 4, at Matthews Funeral Home, 601 S. Kelly Ave. Edmond, Oklahoma. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly suggests contributions be made to the National Alliance on Mental Illness or to a scholarship fund for Paul’s children. Please contact the funeral home for more information.