Shelton & Linda in November, 2002
I've wanted to write something about the passing of Shelton Kang before now, but I don't really know how much I can add to what Julia wrote, she spoke about him so perfectly and beautifully. I will say that Shelton was a genuinely nice person who always saw the best in people. I never heard an unkind word come out of his mouth. He was a man who, despite his limitations, really knew how to get the most out of life. After losing his wife Linda suddenly and being diagnosed with congestive heart failure himself, he could very easily have just stayed home and used it as an excuse to give up and wallow in misery, but not Shelton. He reinvented himself and started a walking program, ultimately walking four marathons and countless half-marathons and other races of varying distances all over the country. Everywhere he went he made friends and spread actual joy. How many people do you meet in life who spread actual joy? He was just a sweet, sweet man who enjoyed life & people. And he was a total dog lover, which always makes someone pretty great in my book.
The news of his passing struck me particularly hard for some reason and I'm not even that sure why. I knew Shelton, I probably saw him about once or twice a year in a group setting. In fact, I had just seen him a couple of months earlier in Boston. But I didn't see or talk to him often enough to really consider him one of my closest friends. Maybe it was just that buoyant spirit of his, it seemed like he would always be around. Or maybe it was just that he always should be around.