Paul Kash died a week or so ago. Probably not too many in Neosho knew Paul, but he was familiar to all whoever went to Civil War reenactments.
Paul lived in Webb City and worked in a sheltered workshop. He got interested in Civil War medicine and became a re-enactor, often setting up his medical tent at Newtonia or Carthage or anywhere there was a re-enactment or a Civil War camp. He had collected some wonderful Civil War medical tools and studied the medicines and methods of the battlefield doctors. I remember once when he came to Newtonia, he was so excited because he had developed a different “blood” that was more realistic-looking than what he had been using.
Paul had many friends in the re-enactment community. That’s understandable because he was such a friendly, happy man and so willing to help, especially if his medical tent could be put to use.
He did re-enactments for almost 30 years. Over the years, I would run into Paul at some event and he was always glad to see me.
He wore a Union captain’s uniform when he was doing re-enactments. And of course, he knew all about his uniform and how to wear it and how to display his accessories. He kept his uniform spotlessly clean, until he got busy cutting off some soldier’s arm or leg or was digging a minnie ball from a wounded soldier.
Paul loved for people to visit his medical tent, or the upstairs room at the Ritchey Mansion which was used as a hospital in the Civil War. I never knew of him not having the answer to any question.
His “operating room” was so realistic that many young children visiting the mansion in Newtonia refused to go inside. They hid their faces while the adults went in to see Paul at work.
At his visitation on Thursday, several Civil War re-enactors performed a ceremony in his honor. In addition, I understand that his medical stuff is being donated to the Carthage Civil War Museum.
His good friend and fellow Civil War re-enactor, Jim Ridenour, told me that Paul looked very soldierly in his casket. Those two men often went to events together, shared a tent and helped each other on the campground.
Paul was, of course, buried in his uniform. Jim said he “…looked like he was just asleep on his cot, like so many times before.”
There have to be special places for men like Paul…a place where no one has to have medicine or medical instruments. But, just in case there should be a special need, you can bet that Captain Paul Kash will be there to help.
In honor of this special man, he is my choice for this week’s good neighbor.