On February 13, 2020, Paul Aaron Schuster, of Vashon Island, Washington, lost his life unexpectedly. It was a peaceful end, at his home at Alpental — a place he loved. We are reeling still.
He was a dazzling light. A bright star. He felt fortunate to have a bounty of close and long-term friendships and kept a lookout for new ones.
He was the guy to call if you were in a pickle, seeking adventure, or needing an ear. He was an insightful, perceptive and creative teacher, an ardent questioner and a great devil’s advocate. He was kind.
He always knew the right knot for the job.
Service to community was central to Paul’s being, lending many hours and days of focused, deep attention and labor to whatever he was taking on. His work with Vashon Island Fire Department, as an officer, firefighter, EMT, instructor and support, was deeply satisfying and engaging. He had looked forward to many years more.
His approach to life was bold. One could see it, say, at Whitman College, when he played ultimate frisbee on Ankeny Field with the Intuitive Leapers. He had, I’m told, an unorthodox, graceful and confounding style, and he played hard. He called it “The Sport of the Gods.”
He graduated Whitman with a BA in Math/Physics, conferred in 1983, with minors in Computer Science and Chemistry.
Following that, he worked in the computer software/hardware industry and formed yet another lasting band of brothers.
Once retired, Paul signed on as a full-time ski patroller at Alpental, where he had volunteered since high school. As demanding as it was beautiful, it was work he truly loved.
A Buddhist ceremony was held by his side on Friday the 21st of February.
A Celebration of Life gathering will be held at Alpental Ski Resort at Snoqualmie Pass on Saturday, April 4, at 4 p.m.
All friends are welcome. Bring a dish to share if you like.
Paul is preceded in death by his father Ernst Schuster and is survived by his mother Ann Schuster, brother Mark, sister-in-law Mandy, nephew Lucas, niece Katie, as well as his partner for nearly 20 years, Tracy Barrett, her parents Martha and Arthur L. Barrett Jr. and her brothers Steven and John. He leaves behind too many friends to count.
Our hearts ache with love and loss.
Should you wish, donations may be made in Paul’s honor to Conservation Northwest, ACLU or KUOW.