Paul Alan Cobble lost his battle with lung cancer and long-term complications of HIV on June 12, 2009, peacefully and quietly in his sleep surrounded by friends and family. Alan will be remembered most for his love of music, antique and vintage sound equipment of all types, and his beautiful restoration work of fine antiques for both himself and his many friends and customers throughout his career and in his retirement / disability.

It has been our privilege and pleasure to have known Alan and have his limitless knowledge of music, sound equipment and repair experience in the time he was able to spend with us in the shop. Whenever physically able Alan would come spend time in the shop talking with customers, explaining and demonstrating equipment, tinkering with projects, and brightening our days with records he would bring in and play. Perhaps best of all will be remembrances of his sing-song accompaniment to many old records which he knew by heart. Those who came to know him closely soon understood that most of his quirky sayings and words of wisdom came from his vast and extraordinary memory of the musical lyrics he loved. He was truly touched by a spirit and knowledge all his own that so few of us are ever so lucky to see, behold and experience. His presence in this world will be greatly missed by the wide range of people who knew him. His knowledge is now lost to us, but hopefully he is forever in the age of vintage music, which he loved to escape and revel in.

Alan’s tumultuous life was marked by many highs and lows and yet he fought on for many years. Alan was honorably discharged from the Marines. He was a longtime survivor of HIV. Having been diagnosed in 1987 with AIDS and given one year to live, he went on to become healthy and stable. He was the proud owner of a 1928 Hamlin & Mason Grand Piano with Ampico that once belonged to Al Capone.

He survived a bad car accident, having been told he would never walk again, and went on to overcome the chronic pain and recover his mobility. He proudly possessed his "alter ego" Minerva and helped raise funds for AIDS charities. And finally, having been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer this past April, his first response was, "I beat back AIDS 20 years ago, I will beat this, too." Alan fought hard and valiantly, but the lung cancer had been caught too late and proved to be too much. After the difficulty of radiation treatment, Alan was not able to recover his strength and go on as he so often had in the past.

Alan is survived by his brother, Larry; his nephews and niece; his aunt and uncles;  and his many friends and adoptive family here in St. Louis and in the many places he lived his life. Alan was preceded by his mother, Eileen Smith; his aunt, Dorothy Allen; and so many friends and family in the battle with AIDs. Tax-deductible donations as allowed by law can be made in Alan’s memory to Food Outreach Inc., 3117 Olive St., St. Louis, MO 63103,

Remembrances of Alan may be sent to and more info found at

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 3, 2009.
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