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1929 - 2014

Paul S. van Puffelen, M.D. (OR ’65)

Dr. Paul S. Van Puffelen M.D., age 85, of Duluth, Minn., died on Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014, at Ingleside Manor in Mount Horeb. Paul was born on April 10, 1929, in Brussels, Belgium; the son of Presbyterian missionaries. Paul, along with his sister, Helen, moved frequently as their father led new congregations; living in St. Genevieve, Mo., Decatur, Ill., and Howard Lake, Minn.

As a boy, Paul enjoyed scouting, eventually becoming an Eagle Scout in addition to playing the clarinet in the school band. After a brief stint in the U.S. Air Force, Paul attended Wheaton College and the University of Minnesota Medical School, graduating in 1957. After joining a family practice group for two years in Lakeside, he decided to specialize in orthopedic surgery, and returned to school to complete a fellowship at the Mayo Clinic. A founding member of Orthopedic Associates of Duluth, Paul pioneered many of the early total hip and knee replacement surgeries in Northern Minnesota. He was active in the medical community at St. Luke’s, St Mary’s and Miller-Dwan hospitals in Duluth. Paul took great pride in in the relationships he formed through his practice and in the equal and exceptional care he provided to all of his patients.

He met Dorothy (Polivka) and in 1957, they were married, beginning a 46 year love affair and wonderful friendship. In 1975 work was completed on Paul and Dodie’s Paine Farm Road home where Paul remained until 2013.

Upon retiring in 1989, Paul shared his experience, volunteering on missions to St. Lucia W.I. and Kampala Uganda, with the non-profit group Orthopaedics Overseas. Paul and Dodie traveled extensively, skiing in Switzerland, Colorado, and Utah, walking the beach on Sanibel Island, Fla., and sightseeing throughout Europe with trips to Scandinavia, Russia, and China. Family history in The Netherlands made Amsterdam a favorite. Paul was highly interested and involved in the research of his Dutch family genealogy and loved to visit the Netherlands town of his family origin – Leiden. An avid skier, golfer, beach walker and fisherman, he also had a life time love of music, clarinet playing and choral singing, joining the Community Band in Duluth, taking clarinet lessons and participating in several choral groups.

Paul loved the music of J.S. Bach and Handel, with particular fondness towards Handel’s Messiah. Deeply spiritual, He and Dodie were active members of Lakeside Presbyterian Church. His church service and activities were a big part of his life with Dodie. They especially enjoyed singing in the church’s choir.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 46 years, Dorothy Van Puffelen. He is survived by his children, Paul (Jasmine), David (Darby) and Julie (Doug), and grandsons, Alexander (17), Henry (14), Dylan (13), Devyn (11) and Daniel (7).

A memorial service will be held at LAKESIDE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH in Duluth at a date yet to be determined. In lieu of flowers or plants, please send contributions to the Lakeside Presbyterian Church or to Orthopaedics Overseas. The Ellestad Camacho Funeral Home, 500 N. 8th St., Mount Horeb, is serving the family.

Obituary courtesy of Capitol Newspapers/ 

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