Saturday, 29 November 2008

Lee Baxandall (1935-2008)


The Naturist Society has announced with profound sadness that its founder, Lee Baxandall, has died in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Baxandall, who had suffered from Parkinson's Disease, was 73 years old at the time of his death on November 27, 2008.

Baxandall began his work as a naturist activist more than 30 years ago. With a background in writing and publishing, Lee's naturist passion led him in 1976 to form the Free Beaches Documentation Center, which he located in his hometown of Oshkosh. By 1980, Lee had founded The Naturist Society (TNS), and TNS had presented its first Gathering for naturists. 'Clothed with the Sun,' the flagship publication of TNS in its early years, was renamed 'Nude & Natural,' or more simply, 'N' magazine in 1989. Today, the magazine has a staff of professional and volunteer writers, but in the early days, much of the content of the magazine was pure Baxandall.

Lee was also the initiating force behind other familiar naturist organizations. In 1983, it was a Baxandall idea (and $70 in seed money that Lee pulled from his own pocket and gave to Murray Kaufman) that led to the TNS special interest group that would become Gay Naturists International. In 1990, Baxandall jump-started the Naturist Action Committee as an adjunct to TNS. The Naturist Education Foundation followed in 1993.

For the decades of the 1980s and 1990s, 'Lee Baxandall's World Guide to Nude Beaches and Resorts' was the standard companion for those seeking information on naturist destinations throughout the world. Each edition of the World Guide reflected Lee's naturist philosophy, not only for growing numbers of naturists, but also for the benefit of an expanding mainstream audience. Baxandall's World Guide is the inspiration for 'The World's Best Nude Beaches and Resorts,' a recent TNS publication that carries on the tradition.

In 2002, recognizing the inevitable effect of his declining health, Baxandall transferred ownership of The Naturist Society to a carefully selected handful of longtime associates. TNS is necessarily a dynamic organization that responds to the changing needs of its members. Nevertheless, owners Nicky Hoffman Lee and Margaret Thornton have remained remarkably faithful to the vision of Lee Baxandall.

DETAILS AND ARRANGEMENTS

Arrangements are pending. Lee's family has not yet announced details. More complete obituaries will, of course, appear in N magazine and in The Newsletter. The Naturist Action Committee will distribute further information in the form of NAC Updates, as details become available.

The directors of the Naturist Action Committee and the Naturist Education Foundation join with the ownership and staff of The Naturist Society in marking, with respect and appreciation, the passing of an exceptional individual.

"Body acceptance is the idea. Nude recreation is the way."
- Lee R. Baxandall (1935-2008)

Naturally,

Bob Morton
Executive Director
Naturist Action Committee (NAC) - PO Box 132, Oshkosh, WI 54903
Executive Director Bob Morton - execdir@naturistaction.org
Naturist Society: Nicky Hoffman Lee - nickyh@naturistsociety.com
Online Rep. Dennis Kirkpatrick - naturist@sunclad.com