BROOKSVILLE — Friends and family members on Thursday remembered south Brooksville community activist Paul Boston for his stubborn determination to speak out to help his neighbors.
Mr. Boston died Wednesday at age 55.
"Paul Boston was a selfless defender of the people in his community and a warrior for social justice,'' said Steve Zeledon, chairman of the Hernando County Democratic Executive Committee. "He was committed to the community of south Brooksville.''
Mr. Boston came to Hernando County 15 years ago from New York. He served for a time on the Brooksville Housing Authority and was the organizer of several Juneteenth historical festivals in the city of Brooksville.
"He has done a lot of good for this community,'' said his daughter, Jamila Boston of Houston. "He always took an active role, especially for African-American people. He always wanted African-Americans to be aware of government and politics and how you can make a difference.''
Mr. Boston's oldest daughter, Marlaina Travick of Inverness, said he was "a great father'' and a "gentle giant.''
"He was just a man who fought for the people. He was caring and concerned about the little guy always getting stepped on,'' Travick said. "He never stepped down from a fight.''
Mr. Boston is survived by two other daughters as well, Paula Bonsu of Dayton, Ohio, and LaRhonda Travick of Spring Hill, as well as a sister, Bernice Boston of Spring Hill.
"South Brooksville has lost a vigilant advocate,'' said Paul Douglas.
Douglas, president of the Hernando County branch of the NAACP, sometimes clashed with Mr. Boston, but said "even when we were going at each other, I always respected him.''
In June 2012, Mr. Boston was charged with two counts of uttering a forged instrument, stemming from his bid for a Brooksville City Council seat. Prosecutors said Boston submitted falsified documents to show he met the one-year residency requirement to run.
Mr. Boston adamantly denied the accusations, but recently had agreed to sign a pretrial intervention agreement to avoid jail time, said assistant public defender Michael Lamberti. Prosecutors agreed to withdraw a standard clause in the agreement that requires a defendant to admit guilt.
No services are planned. Cason Funeral and Crematory Services in Brooksville is handling arrangements.
Staff writer Tony Marrero contributed to this report.