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Obituary of Paul Arthur Fjalstad
Paul Arthur Fjalstad was born in Devils Lake, North Dakota on April 10, 1938. He died on March 7, 2019 at home in Olympia, Washington.
As a teenager, Paul attended a Youth for Christ camp in Colorado that impacted his life significantly. He had a quiet but deep faith, which brought him great peace when his diagnosis of glioblastoma multiforme was delivered. The family expresses gratitude to two compassionate physicians, Dr. Jon Kooiker and Dr. R.J. Widrow.
A 36-year career with Continental Can/Crown Cork & Seal began in Portland, Oregon, and took the family to Phoenix, Arizona, Van Nuys, California, Olympia, Washington, and Oakbrook, Illinois. During that time, he worked as a machinist, engineer, and manager of domestic and international can manufacturing.
Always driven by a strong work ethic, in later life Paul began part time work for Thurston County Elections and looked forward to each cycle when he could be productive and see staff and co-workers again. He was a math whiz and liked to demonstrate his skill at running the numbers.
He also used his math skills during family card games, which made him a formidable opponent. Some were reluctant to sit directly next to him for fear he would quickly figure out their hand before they could.
Paul was a proud man who provided for and protected his family. He was a multi-skilled handyman who kept up home and yard maintenance but particularly enjoyed carpentry in his large workshop.
Paul and his wife, BJ, home hosted many cultural exchanges from Japan, Taiwan, New Zealand, Thailand, Chile, Uzbekistan, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Austria, Sweden and Northern Ireland, and made long lasting friendships.
He loved to drive and there were many road trips around the USA and across Canada. He accompanied BJ on many international trips that eventually led him to work internationally during his last three years of employment before opting for early retirement. Then began longer trips of five to six weeks of independent travel in many countries. He felt fortunate to visit the birthplaces of his paternal grandparents in Norway and his maternal grandfather on the Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland.
Paul always liked being on the water. He served in the U.S. Coast Guard (1958-1966) and later in life used his skills as a helmsman while volunteering for the Harbor Patrol.
He volunteered at the Olympia Senior Center, serving up coffee and conversation. Some conversational favorites were sports, automobiles and investing. Paul delighted in reminiscing about his early years in north Portland, Oregon. He enjoyed reunions, driving through the St. John’s neighborhood, and phone or email conversations with friends from long ago.
Both lifelong avid readers, he and BJ volunteered at Tumwater Library. He joined BJ in varied volunteer work at St Peter Hospital but his last contribution was the best. His surprising acting ability as a new patient for Skills Training was entertaining for all involved.
Paul is survived by his wife of 56 years, BJ; daughter, Kris Scharber of Olympia; daughter, Leslie McGuire; grandson, Cayce McGuire; and sister, Laurel Adelman of Warrenton, Oregon.
His wishes were for no service. In lieu of flowers, please contribute to a charity of your choice or to Friends of the Children, Portland, Oregon online at http://friendspdx.org/.