Merida resident, the irreplaceable and irrepressible Paul Russell Ziegler passed away Friday, February 13th 2015 after a long, difficult and heroic battle with cancer. He was 74 years young. He’ll be dearly missed and fondly remembered by his family and friends in Merida and the USA. Paul is survived by his partner of 20 years, Samuel Barrera Ceballos of Merida, Yucatán.
Born June 20, 1940 to Theodore and Virgie Ziegler in Toledo, OH. The youngest of three boys, Paul was the baby of the family.
Paul left Ohio and lived in California for several years before moving to Colorado where he helped to propel “Breeze Ski Rentals” into the first corporate level ski rental business in the world. He was recognized as one of the most knowledgeable businessmen in the industry. He frequently traveled across the globe to help develop new operations. He also owned and operated a successful gay bar in Denver.
After selling the ski rental business and the bar, Paul and his long-term partner and life-long friend John Farr, moved to Atlanta and opened the first decorative arts and used furniture business in that city. Paul was recognized as one of the most successful antique/quality used furniture dealers in Atlanta.
During his time in the antique business, he developed an interest in American pottery. He became a prominent and knowledgeable collector of the Arts and Crafts period along with other 20th Century potters and was invited to accessorize the remodeling of the famous “Grove Park Inn”, located in Ashville, NC.
Upon selling his business in Atlanta Paul decided to settle in Merida. He had long loved this city with her colonial splendor and attractive Mayan people. His earlier ceramic interests turned to Mexican Pottery. He began collecting Mexican and U.S. pottery, acquiring some of the finest early art potters anywhere. His extensive 20th Century Mexican collection is unrivaled.
His interests in Mexico diversified to many forms of art & antiquing which he shared with his many friends and his life partner and celebrated Merida artist, Samuel Barrera. Paul happily spent the remainder of his life exploring the tianguis, bazaars and mercados of Mexico City, Guadalajara and Yucatan searching for and finding treasures.
Paul was the co-founder of Jerusalem House, a hospice for AIDS patience in the Atlanta area. He inspired many of Atlanta’s wealthy to donate. It was a huge success. He was also a strong supporter of “Oasis de San Juan” located in Conkal, Yucatan and numerous other charities in the state of Yucatan. Donations can be made to “Oasis” in his name.
Paul R Zieglar came to live out loud. The world is a better place from his being in it and his friends are better people from knowing him, loving him and being loved by him.
By Mitch Keenan
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