Paul John Halvorson died December 9, 2019, from complications following a medical procedure at the age of 82. He was surrounded by his family, singing songs at his bedside.
Paul was born February 25, 1937, in Odebolt, Iowa, to parents Vern Halvorson and Frieda Maxwell Halvorson. The family soon moved to California, where Paul and his two younger sisters, Kaaren and Marcia, spent their childhood. Paul participated in Boy Scouts and church youth groups, and graduated from Verdugo Hills High School in Tujunga, California. He went on to Texas Lutheran College, where he met Nancy Mercer. They married in 1960, after graduation. Paul continued his education at Augustana Theological Seminary in Rock Island, Illinois, where he and Nancy welcomed daughter Janet into the family in 1961. Paul accepted an internship in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in order to finish his training to become a Lutheran pastor. There a second daughter, Anne, was born in 1963.
Paul’s first call was to St. John’s Lutheran Church in Glendale, Arizona in 1964. His son, Gregory, joined the family in 1965. Paul was active in the community, serving on the Glendale Planning and Zoning board. Paul served St. John’s for eight years, until 1972, when he and the family moved into a motorhome and traveled coast to coast during a six-month sabbatical. Paul next accepted a call to Resurrection Lutheran Church in Huntington Beach, California, where the family enjoyed the Pacific Ocean and proximity to the Halvorson grandparents. In 1980, Paul returned to the Valley to serve as the pastor of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Phoenix, which he did until 1989, when he accepted the position of Outreach Director and Assistant to the Bishop of the Grand Canyon Synod. He worked with Bishop Wennes until 2001, when he retired.
As a child, Paul loved the outdoor activities of fishing, camping and hiking, and those pastimes continued providing balance throughout his adult life. He enjoyed the beauty of the Bradshaw Mountains, the Mogollon Rim, and other Arizona gems. He walked and hiked with family and friends in Phoenix and the surrounding areas, including hiking Piestewa Peak on his 80th birthday. In retirement, Paul loved planning new trips to take with Nancy in their motorhome, all over the west and Midwest parts of the country.
Paul was always community-minded, and participated in interfaith action groups. He sought out neighborhood friendships, talking to everyone he saw on his daily walks. He became quite a gardener, spending hours every day cultivating and growing food to share with his family, friends, and the congregation. He sought solutions to leave the world a better place than he found it.
Paul is survived by his wife of 59 years, Nancy; his son, Greg; his daughters, Anne and Janet and Janet’s wife, Barb Bumpus. He is also survived by his sisters, Kaaren Florstedt and Marcia Thomasson; Nancy’s sisters and brother; numerous nieces, nephews, and friends.
A Celebration of Life and Faith will be held at 1:00 PM Saturday, January 18, 2020 at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, 1212 E. Glendale Ave., Phoenix with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Southern Poverty Law Center at https://www.splcenter.org/, or to Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church. Visit https://www.hansenmortuary.com for condolences.Print Obituary & Condolences