Sky Scene 06

Paul Liebman

March 16, 1947 ~ March 14, 2020 (age 72)

Obituary

Paul Allen Liebman, 73, currently of North Barrington died peacefully on Saturday, March 14, 2020.  He battled cancer bravely for five years before finally succumbing to it.  He is survived by his children; Peter, and Katherine (Henry) LeSueur; grandson, Benjamin LeSueur; longtime partner, Constance Edgerton and her son Chase; father, Charles; brother, Thomas; and sisters, Elizabeth and Rebecca.  He was preceded in death by his mother Mary.  Paul was born January 16th in Park Ridge to Mary (Bruhnke) and Charles Liebman.  He attended McHenry schools graduating from McHenry High School.  He then received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois - Urbana Champagne.  He served in the Peace Corps in Sri Lanka which sparked a lifelong love for the country, its people, and its culture.  For years to come, he delighted in surprising native Sri Lankans with conversation in Singhalese.  Later in life, in conjunction with a Sri Lankan friend and colleague, established a vocational school in southern Sri Lanka. The children were provided with state of the art computers, internet connectivity, and job training.  This connection and way of giving back to the country he loved so much was one of his greatest sources of pride and joy. His time in Sri Lanka was the source of many stories told time and time again throughout his life.  He was quite the storyteller and could hold his audience’s ear for hours.  One powerful story he recalled the week before he passed exemplified the intensity of his experiences there and his lasting sentimentality.  One day he was driving along on a moped and came across a young boy who, in imitation of his father, had attempted to use a machete to open a coconut.  Not having been properly taught and with no supervision, he missed the coconut, clearly and swiftly removing his thumb.  Thankfully, Paul came upon the scene and whisked the boy and his thumb to clinic for reattachment.  Many years later, Paul found himself in the same village.  As he walked through, a young man saw him and silently but enthusiastically gave him a thumbs up and an appreciative knowing grin.  The Buddhist traditions of Sri Lanka had a profound impact on Paul.  For the rest of his life, he studied and was fascinated with its teachings and rituals.   He had an affinity for Buddhist figurines, collecting them from across the world.  Each figurine in his collection held a story of its own, and he relished the opportunity to tell them.  His interest in Buddhism led him to connect with and support a local Buddhist monastery in Woodstock, Illinois, the Blue Lotus Buddhist Temple and Meditation Center.  He developed a friendship with Bhante Sujatha, the International Abbot of Blue Lotus, who was born in Kandy, Sri Lanka.  In his final days, Paul received a visit and beautiful blessing from Sujatha.  Paul never retired.  He spent five decades at Coilcraft, saying he would stop working when he stopped liking it.  He loved his work and was very good at it, continuing to work until the very end. Music played a very important role in Paul’s life. He took up the ukelele in college and loved to teach himself to strum his favorite songs.  He loved to analyze song lyrics and apply their meanings to his life.  Recently, he had been learning to play songs that embodied the experience he shared with other recovering people, like those in recovery at his established rehabilitation center, Freedom Farm, near Harvard, IL. Paul’s own journey with recovery served as a springboard for many ideas of how to structure the system.  Though Freedom Farm helped hundreds of men redefine themselves through recovery, he never stopped brainstorming radical changes to the status quo.  Burial will be at a later date in Northern Wisconsin.  

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