Paul McDevitt was among the rarest of the rare. A half century ago he was a raging drunk who could alternately charm and scare people. Thirty-eight years ago he got sober and his charming, funny sweet self permanently emerged until he died this week at the too early age of 74. He is the kind of person who even strangers should mourn his passing.
Paul was the youngest person ever elected to the Boston School Committee, a former teacher with the attitude and intellect that the best of a Jesuit education can summon. His drinking led him astray but he got sober and became a better man, an extraordinary advocate for people burdened by addiction, mental illness, poverty, and incarceration. He was among the sweetest people who graced our state, government, businesses and unions.
Paul was often incredulous about the behavior of people with a less noble nature, although he would never describe someone that way. So he told stories, laughed about our shared human foibles and worked to move the world one day at a time.
Paul has thousands of friends and a family. If you know his wife, our State Auditor Suzanne Bump, please extend your condolences.