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Lionberger, Paul Rev./Capt. -- 1925 - 2010

LIONBERGER, HOLUM, MARSKE, BAKER, BOOMAN

Posted By: IAGenWeb Volunteer
Date: 7/18/2010 at 12:15:43

Reverend/Captain Paul Harvey Lionberger of Decorah passed away Sunday, June 27, 2010 at Saint Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, MN. He was 85 years old. Graveside services were held Thursday, July 1 at Coon Prairie Cemetery in rural Westby, WI, with Pastor Dennis Hallemeier officiating and military honors provided by the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps. A memorial service was held at Good Shepard Lutheran Church in Decorah Friday, July 2.
Paul was born in Bremerton, WA May 15, 1925. From an early age, he was fascinated by the Navy and fondly remembered visiting the naval shipyard down the hill from his home. At 16, he went to work in that very shipyard, repairing ships damaged in Pearl Harbor. At age 17, he enlisted in the Navy. Following World War II, he attended Luther College in Decorah, spending his summers leading groups of young Christians to work in the forests of Idaho.
It was while at Luther that he met his future wife, Justine Holum. The two were married in 1950. He graduated from Luther in 1949 and from Luther Theological Seminary in 1953. He served as Luther’s Dean of Men and taught in the Bible department until 1962. He received the Distinguished Service Award from Luther in 1984.
Paul returned to active duty in the Navy as a chaplain in 1962, proudly serving God and country for almost 17 years, including wartime service in Vietnam, where he held 11 services a week with the 3rd Marine Division. He served with the Mediterranean fleet, Caribbean fleet and the Iceland Defense Force. He earned the Presidential Unit Citation – Third Marine Division in 1966 and the Meritorious Service Medal in 1979.
Paul’s many parishes included St. Paul Lutheran in St. Marie’s, ID; Trinity Lutheran in Lynnwood, WA; St. Paul Lutheran in Kodiak, AK; visitation pastor at Immanuel Lutheran in Cresco and interims at Bethel Presbyterian in West Union; Washington Prairie Lutheran in Decorah; East Clermont Lutheran in Clermont; Hawkeye Lutheran in Hawkeye; Immanuel Lutheran in Cresco; Calmar-Springfield Lutheran in Calmar; Garness-Scheie Lutheran Church in Mabel, MN and Salem United Church of Christ in Waukon. In the summer of 1993, Paul led English services in Talinn, Estonia.
In addition to his ministry, Paul was an avid carpenter. He built his first church in St. Marie’s, ID and initiated the building of a hospital there. He completed a church in Kodiak, AK, and built a home for his family in Decorah, now Norby Court at Luther.
Paul’s motto was: “I am rich by what I give.” He was dedicated to giving, from donating to charities to collecting supplies for orphanages in Vietnam to sharing his home with Laotian refugees for over 20 years. He built homes for Habitat for Humanity in Costa Rica, planted trees in Central America, and challenged his congregations to feed the hungry around the world, even raising money to send rice to North Korea. He donated his property of some 175 acres of land to Luther College to be used for environmental study.
Paul was a keen reader and a lifelong learner and loved to explore other cultures. Often accompanied by his wife, he traveled to over 47 different countries.
He is survived by his wife, Justine; four daughters, Mary (Doug) Marske of Spencer, Ann (Mitch) Baker of Annapolis, MD, Ruth (Jack) Booman of Spring Grove, MN, and Martha (Paul McQuade) Lionberger, of New Market, TN; eight grandchildren; two sisters-in-law, Norma Lionberger and Martha Holum; and his beloved dog, Plato. The Vosseteig Funeral Home of Westby, WI is serving the family.

Waukon, Iowa newspaper, THE STANDARD, July 7, 2010


 

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