744 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 79 PART 5 SEPTEMBER 2021
Paul was born in 1948 with a bundle of energy and a
big brain in Turtleford, Saskatchewan, near the family
farm, to parents who had a sense of humour and
insight, who were educators, farmers and leaders,
and who were interested in their fellow humans
from all walks of life. In 1950, the family moved to
Vernon, B.C., by then with little sister Liz also in tow.
In the 1950s and ’60s in small-town rural Vernon, Mr.
and Mrs. Nixon were a worldly couple.
Paul inherited these qualities and aptitudes, along with a sense of mischief,
an innate ability to make practical sense of almost anything that
could seem complex and insoluble to most others, and an innate ability to
make anyone around him feel better about themselves. Even from the most
challenging and challenged of people, Paul could bring out the best.
This was because he always wanted those he met and worked with to be
as successful as they could be. He managed to make time for just about
everyone. Paul would have been a leader wherever he may have chosen to
be. For those of us who knew him well, we learned of these qualities when
Paul would quietly approach us to discuss something he saw was burdening
us, or observed some personal foible that he noticed was getting us in the
way of ourselves. After these approaches, he always left us laughing—usually
at ourselves. He had the knack.
Fortunately for Vernon and the surrounding area, Paul chose to return to
his hometown for articles in 1974. From there, he built a wonderful law firm
imbued with a culture of excellence and giving, and nurtured the community
in countless ways. Had he chosen Vancouver, Toronto, New York, London
or Paris, he no doubt would have risen to prominence in those
communities as well.
Throughout his life, Paul managed to build ideas and things large and
well, to think deeply about things that mattered, to become a leader in his
community and to work with intensity and efficiency. He was a visionary
in the truest sense of the word. He also knew when he was stumped, and
when to seek advice. He would absorb that advice and usually come up with
solutions that no one else thought of quite in the same way, and which
sometimes were not previously thought possible.
He was creative and an optimist. His optimism was based on practicality.
Pessimism did not accomplish anything. Optimism combined with realism
accomplished a great deal.