Rev. Paul Thomas Gabrielsen, Ph.D.

image of Rev. Paul Thomas Gabrielsen Ph.D.

Rev. Paul Thomas Gabrielsen, Ph.D.

Paul was born on August 1, 1929, in Bonners Ferry, Idaho and died with his beloved wife of 65 years, Karen Elaine (Johnk-Moorhead, MN), at his side in Evergreen Hospice Hospital in Kirkland, WA on August 25, 2019. His long life was impacted by chronic heart disease for many decades, and with the exceptional care from his wife, surgeons, classical music therapy, and doctors was able to live well beyond his expected years. His strong faith, love and desire to be with his wife and family gave him the strength to persevere.

Paul and Karen’s 65th wedding anniversary

He was the eldest son of Gabriel (Norway) and Edna Cecilia Roen (Minnesota), and brother to James who predeceased him. He was a loving, wise, and witty father to his children and officiated their weddings. A daughter, Virginia Warner (h. Chris), and children Keary (h. Justin, great-grandchildren Zola Jo, Oliver ); Christopher (w. Miranda); Kyle, and Sarah (h. Isaiah, great-grand-daughters Olivia, August). The youngest, Emily, passed away from cancer age 10 in San Diego, CA; his son, Stephen (w. Karen) and their children, Cory and Alicia, have lived in the Seattle area 43 years. Although many of his cousins and other relatives are gone, several younger family members remain in Minnesota and Washington.

His early years were spent in Idaho where he learned to hunt, fish, and appreciate the mountains. The family moved to northern Minnesota and as was a family tradition, Paul enthusiastically served and supported faith through the Lutheran Church. He loved people, life, family, community, his professional life, and provided hope and encouragement to those who knew him. His education began at Augustana Academy H.S. and he went on to complete several college degrees including a B.A. from Minnesota’s Concordia College in 1952. He met Karen in 1950 and dated four years. They married in 1954 and moved to Hawthorne, CA to intern at Trinity Lutheran Church. The returned to Minneapolis for his last year and graduated with a B.A.Th. from Luther Theological Seminary in 1956 and was ordained as a minister in 1958. He went on to earn an M.A. from the University of Chicago, 1958, in Religion and Personality.  At the University of Minnesota in 1963, he completed a second M.A. in Educational Psychology. He finished with a Ph.D. from U.S. International University in San Diego in 1976. In 1965 He authored Why Doesn’t God? He also wrote college curriculum and contributed many articles to professional publications. His life-long passion for classical music, reading, writing and photography continued throughout his life. While listening to his favorite composers, he spent several of his later years in his home office writing his autobiography and ancestry including a family history in photographs dating back several generations.

His career began as the owner of College Contractors from 1950-54 in Moorhead, MN. After university and his ordination, he pastored North Cape Evangelical Lutheran Church in Franksville, WI from 1958-1960. The unexpected passing of his mother and dad’s hospitalization from the car accident brought the four of them to the Minneapolis area to be closer to extended family. He was a Chaplain for Augsburg College in 1960-61. From 1961-1970 he was a professor and director of counseling for Golden Valley Lutheran College. With his desire to help private colleges maintain financial sustainability, he moved to San Diego to earn a Ph.D. from United States International University in 1975. His dissertation, Increasing Financial Support of Small Private Colleges Through Model Fund Raising Programs, compelled him to work as a real estate broker, financial consultant, and a partner in the Capital Growth Planning Group from 1970-1976. Using this experience and his desire to return to a Christian academic vocation, he moved to their final home in Kirkland. From 1976-1996 he took a position as the Director of Planned Giving for the Lutheran Bible Institute (LBI) in Issaquah, WA. Concurrently, he was a private financial planner-consultant, educational administrator, and registered representative for the Financial Network Investment Corp. in Bellevue, WA from 1988-94. Couples continue to communicate the work Paul did for them and his helpful planning for retirement years. His work always had greater purpose and made an impact that will be long remembered through the next generations of family and those who knew him.

Paul’s climb on Black Peak

Paul was diagnosed with a rare disease in 1996 that led him to retire earlier than he planned at 67. Not able to drive a car, he always anticipated and enjoyed hiking, backpacking, and fishing trips in the Cascade Mountains with his son. He became an accomplished mountaineer climbing many Class III peaks. He loved photography and has kept his life’s adventures on film. He often traveled to San Diego, CA to visit with family and golf. In 2010, his poor health kept him mostly at home where he was able to relax with his wife who had excellent health, and tell visitors and family entertaining stories of his long and memorable life with his contagious sense of humor. He will be laid to rest in Chapel of the Resurrection Mausoleum in Bothel and dearly missed.  A private family gathering will be held.



One Response to “Rev. Paul Thomas Gabrielsen, Ph.D.”

  • Rachel Morgan says:

    What a beautiful summary of cousin Paul’s amazing life. I have many wonderful childhood memories of Paul and Karen and Ginger and Steve’s trips to our farm as they visited our mutual grandparents.
    Roger and I treasure the afternoon we spent with Paul and Karen in their Washington home a couple of years ago. We do enjoyed his entertaining stories of days gone by and Karen’s delicious baking. Sure wish we lived closer. So looking forward to reading the autobiography and ancestry he wrote. What a treasure!
    Karen, you and your dear family are in our thoughts and prayers as you feel the loss of your dear husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather and great-grandfather. What a wonderful hope we have of seeing him in heaven again some day! – Cousin Rachel

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