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 on August 11, 1943, to Paul and Bernice (Boettcher) Ivaska, and grew up in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Paul died on 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 Downtown Cornerstone Church in Seattle at 4 p.m. on Sunday, August 4, 2019.