Paul Ivaska never met a stranger, only friends in the making and he never seemed to need more than a few sentences to make people feel like he’d known them forever. His care for others came from his deep conviction that everyone is created in the image of God and therefore worthy of respect and love.
Like his namesake, the apostle Paul, he spent his life preaching Jesus Christ crucified for our sins and resurrected to bring the hope of eternal life for those who believe in Him. This conviction led him into ordained ministry in the Evangelical Free Church of America, serving as associate Pastor of Sunland EFC in Sunland, California, in the early 1970s and as senior Pastor of Tumwater EFC in Olympia, Washington, in the late 1970s, Trinity EFC in Boise, Idaho, in the 1980s, and Bethel EFC on Vashon Island, from 1988 to 2005. Despite that lengthy career however, Paul saw caring for his wife, Sharon, until she passed away from cancer in 2009, as his greatest act of service.
Paul Peter Ivaska was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Aug. 11, 1943, to Paul and Bernice (Boettcher) Ivaska, and grew up in Chippewa Falls. Paul was class president of the Chi-Hi class of 1961. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Paul died June 25, 2019, after more than a decade battling lymphoma and heart disease. One of his last spoken prayers was, “Thank you, Jesus, for all of it.” His love of life, others and Christ defined him from start to finish.
He is survived by his sons, Erik (Jessica) of Honolulu, Hawaii, and Mikael (Nichole) of Vashon; his granddaughter, Ava Marie; and brother, David (Sally) of Evanston, Illinois.
Paul’s memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 4, at Downtown Cornerstone Church in Seattle.