Unsuited him

He was a quiet — and sometimes not so quiet — advocate for those who’d prefer to leave their clothing behind:

The conversion of Turner V. Stokes began with teenage skinny-dipping and concluded, some 30 years later, at a nudist retreat in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains. He had gone mainly out of curiosity, taking his wife after their two children had grown up and left home. What he found, he later said, was “a feeling of freedom”” and a growing sense that the nudist movement could “benefit humankind.”

Mr. Stokes, an engineer who usually wore a suit in the office but nothing at the beach, went on to become one of the most prominent advocates of nudist spaces, calling for protections for those who wished to bare all in the face of hostility from government officials, religious leaders and other critics who linked nudity to moral perversity.

As president of the country’s largest nudist organization and then as chief of its government affairs committee and political fundraising branch — Nudepac — he became “an omnipresent figure in Washington,” said Bev Price, current president of the American Association for Nude Recreation.

I’m guessing his wife went along with this, though perhaps the most common complaint of men in nudism is the Reluctant Spouse.

Mr. Stokes, who viewed nudism as a civil rights issue and spearheaded political and legal campaigns on behalf of the unclothed, died June 23 at his son’s home in Nanjemoy, Md. He was 90.

Hmmm. Maybe there’s something healthful about this after all. (Then again, Mr. Stokes was felled by prostate cancer, which almost certainly ignores the covering, or uncovering, of one’s junk.)


  1. nightfly »

    27 June 2018 · 8:44 am

    Open casket? He probably would have wanted it that way. ;)

  2. CGHill »

    27 June 2018 · 10:36 am

    Actually, “Is there an open casket?” was my working title for this piece; it seems I had some qualms about it.

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