Dr. Paul E. Buhr
Dr. Paul E. Buhr, age 80, of Olivia, MN passed away peacefully, surrounded by loved ones on Saturday, February 18th, 2023. His life was well spent in the service and care of the community he loved so much.
Paul was born on March 18th, 1942 and raised on the family farm in rural Brooten, MN, the eldest of 6 sons born to Werner and Eldrid (Johnson) Buhr. It was on the family farm where Paul developed his strong work ethic, milking cows and doing chores before and after school. His lifelong love of choral music also began at an early age encouraged by his father who taught the brothers to sing in harmony while working together in the barn.
Paul attended elementary school in a one room schoolhouse and graduated from Brooten High School in 1958 at the age of 16. He attended Concordia College in Moorhead, MN graduating in 1963 with degrees in Biology and Math. While at Concordia College, Paul met the love of his life, Carole Berge of St Paul, MN. They married December 22nd, 1963 at Como Park Lutheran Church in St Paul, MN and later welcomed children Laura and John.
Paul taught math and science for three years at Marshall Junior High School in St Paul, MN while Carole finished nursing school and began her career as a nurse.
Paul graduated from the University of Minnesota medical school in 1970 and completed his internship in general practice and family medicine at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill.
Paul and Carole spent a total of seven years working as medical missionaries in Madagascar through the ELCA where Paul worked as a medical provider and surgeon. They were blessed with many amazing experiences and lifelong friendships from their time there.
Following their time in Madagascar, Paul and Carole returned to Olivia MN where they continued to live, work and raise their family. Paul was part of the Prairie Family Medical Practice in Renville County until his retirement in 2015. He was a good listener and held a strong belief in the healing power of laughter.
He had a special place in his heart for the miracle of birth and delivered around 3,000 babies (often at night) over the course of his 40+ year career. He was always grateful for the amazing group of people he worked with during his years in family practice.
He also enjoyed mentoring and training new providers in rural family medicine, passing on knowledge to the next generation of providers.
Community service was an important part of Paul’s life. He was on the board of the Renville County Hospital (now Olivia Hospital) and was an advisor to the Renville and the Lake Lillian ambulance crews. He served as county coroner and as a member and officer of the Olivia Lion’s Club. He also served for many years as a volunteer and board member with Global Health Ministries, an organization providing support for healthcare systems in under-resourced countries.
Always on the go and never bored for a moment, Paul packed many interests into his long, rich life. He was frequently heard to say “Life is Good” while enjoying time spent with family, friends and in nature. He had a great love for travel, food and languages and enjoyed practicing his language skills in Malagasy, French, German and Spanish whenever he had the chance. Paul was truly in his happy place on the family farm, driving his father’s old Farmall tractor that he had found and repurchased at an auction. He enjoyed planting trees, flowers, potatoes and pumpkins on the farm and was generous in sharing the harvest with others.
Music was an especially big part of his life. He enjoyed singing with others in church choirs, community choir, the Woodbury Chorus and Orchestra and the Singing Valentine’s group for many years. Trips to Europe with their Woodbury choir family, and to the Bible school in Martin, Slovakia have been especially cherished memories for Paul and Carole.
Paul lived with Primary Progressive Aphasia for the past 9 years of his life. PPA is a neurodegenerative disease that affects the language centers of the brain before progressing to other areas of the brain. Though he was largely unable to communicate in the last few years of his life, he maintained a great ability to recognize the people dear to him and to share his warm and wonderful smile with others until the very end.
Paul will be dearly missed by his beloved wife of 59 years, Carole; daughter Laura (Eric) Hauer of Minneapolis, MN, son John (Sara) Buhr of Erie, CO, exchange daughter Miki Kadoya (Dr. Paoli Oh) of Osaka, Japan; cherished grandchildren Freya and Anders Hauer, Griffin and Beckett Buhr and Miho and Shintaro Oh; Brothers James (Sharon), Stanley (MaryEtta), Leslie (AnnaMarie), Geoffrey (Vicki) and Dan (Kara) Buhr; Brother-in-law Paul (Mary Ellen) Berge, his much-loved nieces and nephews and so many other special relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by parents Werner and Ellie Buhr.
A celebration of life service will take place on Sat., April 15, at 2pm at Cross of Calvary Lutheran Church in Olivia, MN with Pastor Matt Hausken officiating. There will be a gathering at Cross of Calvary Church immediately after the service followed by another gathering at Max’ s Grill in Olivia, MN from 4-8 pm. Visitation will be held from 4-7pm on Friday, April 14th at Cross of Calvary Lutheran Church and will continue one hour prior to the service on Saturday.
Arrangements are with the Dirks-Blem Funeral Home in Olivia. Paul will be laid to rest on July 2nd, 2023 at Big Grove Lutheran Church in Belgrade, MN.
Memorials are preferred to Global Health Ministries (https://www.ghm.org) and Cross of Calvary Lutheran Church in Olivia.
His family wishes to thank the many people who cared for him with compassion and dignity over this past year including the staff of Prairie View Memory Care in Hector, the staff at the Olivia Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center and the Hospice staff from Renville County and Ecumen.
Dirks-Blem Funeral Service, Olivia, MN