My Great Uncle, Rev. Paul Nussle, died last week, after losing his battle with prostate cancer. The Seattle Times ran this obituary:
Lutheran minister's volunteer work spread caring, hope
By Nancy Bartley Seattle Times staff reporter
The Rev. Paul Nussle once had a car license plate that summed up his personality in two words: YES YES.
Would he help the homeless? Drive a school bus of handicapped children? Volunteer to fight fires?
Yes. Yes and yes. It meant his wife, Agnes, and four children didn't see him much — except at dinner.
The Rev. Nussle, 72, who died Sept. 3 from complications from cancer, is remembered not only for his willingness to help many causes, but for his ability to genuinely care about people — especially those left out, his friends and family said.
"As you do unto the least of these, you do unto me," was his motto, his family said.
The Rev. Nussle said "yes to everything and everybody," said his daughter Karin Buckholz of Enumclaw, King County.
He volunteered at Seattle's Compass Center, which gives emergency shelter to the homeless.
"He had a heart of real compassion in an upbeat way," said the Rev. Nyer Urness, center chaplain and Nussle's longtime friend. "He was outgoing and adept at relating to the people we serve — the homeless — and inviting them to a meal, inviting them down to chapel afterward. He absolutely loved that."
The Rev. Nussle also loved driving a school bus for a group of special-needs students in the Kent School District. He stopped driving while he was going through chemotherapy, but just a few months ago he returned to ferry the district's special-needs students during summer session.
"These were kids other people didn't want to drive, but it was something he was so excited about," Buckholz said.
The Rev. Nussle also worked as a volunteer firefighter for the Lake Tapps fire district near his Sumner home, a job his family told him he took so he could "drive fast legally." He started Exodus Housing, a nonprofit agency in Pierce County that helps homeless people obtain homes and jobs, linking families with church sponsors.
To his grandchildren, the Rev. Nussle, son of a Danish immigrant, was their beloved "Bedstefar," the Danish word for grandfather. Having missed much of his children's growing up, he vowed to make up for that by being super grandpa.
He'd forgo his chemotherapy if it meant missing an opportunity to baby-sit a grandchild.
He became the loudest voice in the stands at their sports events and was always willing to play or read.
At Buckholz's home, he frequently sat on a stone bench beneath the backyard walnut tree and read to 3-year-old Ashley.
The Rev. Nussle was born in Chicago in 1931 and grew up speaking Danish, learning English only when he started school.
A precocious child full of energy, he skipped a grade and was always outgoing. He liked to golf, hike and ski.
He met future wife, Agnes — also the daughter of Danish-speaking parents — in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1949. They married July 10, 1954, and he went to the Grand View Seminary, where he received his Master of Divinity in 1956.
He served in Lutheran parishes in Minnesota and California, where he supported striking farmworkers in the Salinas Valley and served Communion in the fields to union leader Cesar Chavez, even though some of the farmers were in the Rev. Nussle's congregation.
The Rev. Nussle came to the Northwest and founded Creator Lutheran Church in Sumner in 1979. In keeping with his personal philosophy that churches should never be locked, its doors were always open, and sometimes he arrived to find someone sleeping inside.
He had a zest for living, his family said. He'd start out at 4 a.m. when he was going to hike Mount Rainier so he wouldn't miss the sunrise, his family said.
In addition to his wife and Buckholz, he is survived by daughters Lynn Krog of Seattle; Ingrid Lyden of Auburn; son Eric Nussle of Federal Way; a brother, Mark Nussle of Chicago; and five grandchildren.
The funeral will be 5 p.m. tomorrow at Faith Lutheran Church, 8208 18th Ave. N.E., Seattle. Remembrances may be made to Compass Center or Exodus Housing.
And the Seattle Post-Intelligencer ran this one, with a picture:
Paul Ivan NUSSLE November 13, 1931 - September 3, 2004 Paul Ivan Nussle was born and raised in Chicago, IL by Robert and Thyra Nussle. He attended college at Grand View Junior College in Des Moines, IA and Augustana College in Rock Island, IL. He received his Masters of Divinity at Grand View Seminary in Des Moines, IA in 1956. He served Lutheran parishes in Tyler, MN, Salinas, CA, San Luis Obispo, CA (campus ministry at CalPoly), and Santa Barbara, CA. While in CA he served as Secretary of the Pacific Southwest Synod of the Lutheran Church in America for 16 years. He was the founding Pastor of Creator Lutheran Church at Lake Tapps, WA and also the founder of Exodus Housing, a program to assist homeless families in transition to self- sufficiency. In his retirement he enjoyed driving school bus for students with special needs in the Kent School District. Paul had a zest for living equaled by few. Among his passions were hiking on Mt. Rainier, golf, travel, Husky football, any activity his grandchildren were involved in and spending time with his family. A highlight was the entire family gathering this July in West Denmark, WI for his and his wife Agnes' 50th wedding anniversary. He is survived by his wife, Agnes, his children Lynn (Monte) Krog, Eric (Jo) Nussle, Ingrid (Chris) Lyden, and Karin (Andrew) Buchholz, his grandchildren, Tor and Kiersten Krog, Dalton Alvey, Ashley and Brooke Buchholz and numerous grand-dogs. In addition, his brother Mark (Lori) Nussle of Chicago, IL and many beloved in-laws, nieces and nephews. In spite of excellent care at SCCA and UWMC he succumbed to complications from prostate cancer. A Funeral will be held at Faith Lutheran Church, 8208 - 18th Ave. N.E., Seattle, WA, at 5:00 p.m. on Sat. Sept. 11, 2004. A reception to follow. Remembrances may be made to the Compass Center or Exodus Housing.