He was hard to miss, and not only because he was seemingly everywhere. It was also the crazy hat, the gaily-colored boa, the sparkles, and the incandescent smile. As someone said at the celebration of his life, it did not seem possible that he could leave us, but his physical self did on January 21, 2010.

In his adopted spiritual world of Buddhism, Maurice was a Bodhisattva. Among the mysteries and varieties of Buddhism, the description of bodhisattva that rings true for Maurice is a person who has made progress toward his own ultimate enlightenment and through compassion strives to bring along others to liberation. He worked constantly to convince us to be better people and to care. He rejected second-class citizenship with a grin and a voter-registration form. He practiced ceramics and ceramic sculpture with a fierce joy and determination, and led many into its spell of concentration and beauty. He gave and gave of himself and his resources until time ran out.

He could do a spot-on imitation of every stock character in Kurosawa’s films. He could perfectly imitate the sounds of languages of which he didn’t understand a word. A friend said he once danced with Maurice on the roof of a Greek chapel while singing a song consisting entirely of the names of Greek foods they enjoyed. He could also talk about life and commitment and art and politics and love with a startling intensity that alerted one to listen carefully. He was a compassionate man who cared about us. Even the young who are immune to thoughts of death and tragedy listened to Maurice.

Maurice helped found the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Straight Alliance Fund. He supported it and celebrated its success. He strived for it to become an endowed and sustainable philanthropic source available to help his beloved LGBT community in Southern Arizona. He was the indispensable celebrant at our grant-award celebrations and rejoiced at the successes of its grantees.

Full enlightment, heaven, for this bodhisattva is attainable in our memories of his goodness. Maurice is there.

D. Noffsinger