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OBITUARY | Paul M. Westendorf, 77, of Hubertus, WI

May 8, 2024 – Washington Co., WI – Paul Martin Westendorf was born on December 17th, 1946, to Pastor Adelbert and Laura (Kreutzfeldt) Westendorf in Bay City, MI. He went peacefully to his Savior’s side on Saturday, April 27th, 2024, surrounded by his loving family.

paul

Paul is survived by his wife of 50 years, Christine (nee Romans) Westendorf; children, Michael (Melissa) Westendorf, Justin (Courtney) Westendorf, Rebecca (Jason) Loucks, Nathan Westendorf; grandchildren, Adam, Abby, Thomas Westendorf, and Anah, Austin, Ellah Loucks; cousins, Tom (Sharon) Westendorf, and Karen (Karl) Fritzinger.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Adelbert, and Laura (nee Kreutzfeldt) Westendorf; brothers, Rev. Rolfe Westendorf, Roland Westendorf; half-siblings, John Westendorf, and Dorthea Kressbach (nee Westendorf).

Filled with the confident hope of the resurrection of his Savior Jesus Christ, he lived with the constant comfort in the Bible’s promises found in the books of Job and 1st Corinthians:

“I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.
And tho’ worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.
For now is Christ risen from the dead, the first fruits of them that sleep.”

A memorial service for Paul will take place on Saturday, May 11th, 2024, at Crown of Life Lutheran Church (1292 Tally Ho Trail, Hubertus, WI 53033). Family will greet relatives and friends from 10:00 a.m. until the start of service at 12:00 p.m. with a light luncheon to follow.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to Time of Grace Ministry or The Ark Encounter, are appreciated.
 

Biography
Early years of growing up:
Paul Martin Westendorf was born on December 17th, 1946, to Pastor Adelbert and Laura (Kreutzfeldt) Westendorf in Bay City, MI. He was the youngest of the family by far, with two older brothers, Rolfe, and Rollin, along with two additional step-siblings, John, and Dorthea (Kressbach). When Paul was 10 years old, his father passed away from a long illness from complications of diabetes. This left an impression on Paul, who later in adulthood, would find ways to be a male presence in the lives of his children as well as the kids that he coached.

Paul grew up alongside his cousin, Tom Westendorf, who being closer in age than Rolfe and Rollin, was like a brother to him and where his love of the Michigan Wolverines came from. Some of the happiest memories of Paul’s early life were when his older brothers would return home to celebrate Christmas, in a traditional German manner that Paul carried forward with his own family.

Middle years:

As Paul grew older, he attempted to follow in his father and brothers’ footsteps, attending Michigan Lutheran Seminary. Looking to possibly become a pastor, Paul found mastering the various languages to be too difficult and dropped out of seminary after one semester.

He became part of the U.S. Army, specifically the 101st Airborne Division, and served a tour of duty in Vietnam. After an honorable discharge from the Army, Paul returned to civilian life, moving to Wisconsin, and living with his brother Rollin for a time.

George Schneider recruited Paul to work for him at Wisconsin Lutheran High School as a maintenance technician, where he continued to mentor Paul in building operations, including electrical and HVAC systems.

Paul loved motorcycles from his young adult years on, participating in races in his 20s and continuing to ride into his 70s as his strength allowed. He loved cars and had a lifelong relationship with Ford that started, in part, due to the experience of living out of a 49 Ford for a short period of time as a child.

Meeting Mom and starting a family:
It was during this time that Tom, now married to Sharron, introduced Paul to Christine Romans, a co-worker of Sharon’s. After a self-described, “whirlwind” romance, Paul and Chris were married in Pewaukee, Wisconsin on August 4, 1973. The newlyweds soon moved into their own home in Milwaukee Wisconsin, where three of their four children, Mike, Justin, and Becky, were born.

Paul’s career progressed and merged with his desire to move back to Michigan when the family moved to Benton Harbor, where Paul took responsibility for building maintenance at a local high school. It was here that Paul’s love of sports and desire to positively influence young people came together for the first of his many coaching opportunities, this time as the girls’ basketball coach.

After a brief stint in Michigan, the family returned to Milwaukee, WI, where Paul took on building maintenance responsibilities for Concordia College. This was a short-lived experience, leading Paul to be looking for work soon after the move. But this was all part of God’s plan for Paul and his family, as he soon took a building engineer role with M&I Bank at their data services facilities. Though the buildings changed hands several times over the years this became Paul’s permanent employer until his retirement.

With the job stability the Lord gave to Paul and his family, Paul was able to provide for his family, physically and spiritually. In their new home in Wauwatosa, the children were all able to enroll a local Lutheran grade school and high school. This season included the final addition to the family with the birth of their fourth child, Nathan. Throughout their time in that home, Paul played and coached sports, including coaching all three of his sons in Basketball and Softball. He was also able to spend time attending his children’s various activities as they were growing up. Paul’s passion for music and singing were a mainstay in the house, especially around Christmas and Easter, where Handel’s Messiah held special prominence in the household tradition.

When things would break down, or if the family needed room to expand, Paul was able to use his God-given gifts and lessons learned from mentors, to fix cars, build bedrooms, update the kitchen, and fix any number of broken toys. Classical music could often be heard in between table saw noise or alongside the hammering of nails as he worked on household projects.

He found ways to give the family special time together, first buying a ‘50’s era outboard motor to take the family fishing on Pewaukee Lake, and eventually buying a ‘60s-era boat, which was used in any number of “up-north” vacations, many of them spent on Big McKenzie Lake. Family vacations together, even as the children grew up and began having families of their own, were something that Paul worked hard to create. Even in his later years, he brought the family together to visit the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter in Kentucky and spend time together at Castle Rock Lake.

Later years:
This did get harder to do, as Paul contracted non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (2018). Even through chemo and stem-cell therapy, he battled to continuously regain strength and to see his family come together for many more Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, and summer celebrations. He continued to be involved with his kids, helping them with their own household projects, and with his grandkids, attending their activities or helping with schoolwork.Closing / Summary:
Throughout his life, Paul prioritized Faith, Family, and Fatherhood. He worked to ensure the family was active in the church and put Jesus at the center of life. He found ways to do things that would strengthen the ties between the family members. He found ways to be a father and a grandfather and to be part of his kids’ and grandkids’ lives. In his final days, Paul made a point to connect with them all, to make sure they knew he loved them and that their Savior loved them.

Paul would often credit God for the blessings he received despite his own shortcomings, and he would praise his wife of 50 years, Chris, for her willingness to sacrifice, forgive, and love him and the family as she did. Particularly in these past several years of declining health, Paul was grateful and maintained high praise for his wife’s ability to help him through the difficult moments and to the very end of their 50 years together.

In the wisdom of 70+ years, Paul was led to champion humility and found great comfort in the voice of God in Job 38-42. Humbled at being reminded who God is and who he was, Paul lived with the constant comfort of the Bible’s promises, found in the books of Job and 1st Corinthians:

“I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And tho’ worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.”

 

“For now is Christ risen from the dead, the first fruits of them that sleep.”

And so, we too acknowledge God’s wisdom and timing in Paul’s homecoming into the arms of Jesus. Sure of the hope of the resurrection, we too can say “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. May the name of the Lord be praised.”

These were the hands

These were the hands that held me as a little boy
These were the hands that taught us kids how to swing a bat, catch a ball, drive a car and wield a hammer
These were the hands that fixed our toys, repaired our bikes, managed our cars, improved our houses
These were the hands that worked on buildings and generators and earned a paycheck so we could live
These were the hands that gathered boys to play basketball and broke the huddle as a “Team”
These were the hands that hailed Michigan and any team, band, choir and group we were a part of
These were the hands that patted us on the back and picked us up when we fell.
These were the hands that failed and needed grace and forgiveness
These were the hands that disciplined us when we needed to learn humility and repentance
These were the hands that put on the record of Handel’s Messiah every Easter
These were the hands that held mom’s as they walked down the aisle 50 years ago (To God be the Glory)
These were the hands that hurt, that grew weaker, that shook in these latter days and weeks
These were the hands that hugged and held, played and comforted and above all, folded in prayer and pointed us to Jesus
And these are the hands that are now, as they have always been, in the hands of the One who said to his beloved – Paul, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I hold the keys of death and of Hades.”
For these, and for so many more, I can only say “Oh Lord, thank you for what you’ve given me”. Dad finished his race incredibly well and at 12:20 p.m. Saturday afternoon exhaled the last of this earth and breathed in the air of heaven in the presence of his Savior and first love, Jesus Christ. May his love for family, God’s grace, and the simple promises of God be remembered by those who loved my dad. Paul M. Westendorf

“With your final heartbeat, Kiss the world goodbye, Then go in peace, and laugh on Glory’s side –
And fly to Jesus, Fly to Jesus, Fly to Jesus and live”

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