Paul Timothy Westlund, 57, died tragically September 22, 2011 as a result of an airplane crash in Papua, Indonesia. As he had for many years, Paul was piloting a small aircraft, serving the physical and spiritual needs of the people and land he loved so dearly.
Paul was born on June 14, 1954 in Minneapolis, MN, the son of Howard and Lois (Foss) Westlund. He was united in holy matrimony to LaVonne E. Martin in 1979 at the West Chicago Bible Church; the service was officiated by his dad, Howard.
Paul graduated from Moody Aviation with a B.S in Aviation in 1981. He became a member of JAARS Aviation and Wycliffe Bible Translators in 1983 and began serving overseas in 1987. Paul was a highly qualified and well respected pilot. He was certificated as an Airline Transport Pilot with a Multi-Engine Airplane rating. He held a Certified Flight Instructor license and an A&P Mechanic license.
Before serving with JAARS, he gained experience flying with Gardner Express (IL), Prompt Air (IL), and Weber Aircraft (PA).
Paul was an exceptional husband and father. He loved to surf, exercise, and build and fly model airplanes. Paul was an animated storyteller and would tear up nearly every time he got to the crux of his storyline. Paul faced many difficult trials during his overseas service, and yet he could regularly be heard saying, “Isn’t this just the best life a guy could have!”
Paul is survived by his wife LaVonne, his daughter Joy and granddaughter Jadyn, and his son Mark; his parents, Howard (Lois) Westlund; his sisters Jean, wife of Dr. Robert Chase, and Petrea, wife of Timothy Ratliff. He was preceded in death by his sister Janet. Paul is in heaven now, not because of his faithful commitment to his wife and family, his love for and forgiveness of others, his easy-going character or good deeds, nor his humble service to the Lord. Paul is in heaven because he gave his heart to Jesus.
Funeral services for Paul were held in Papua and were attended by both his national and ex-patriot family members who were serving alongside him. He was buried in a local cemetery near the family’s overseas residence.
A memorial fund has been established in Paul’s name. Inquiries concerning this fund may be directed to members of the family. The family also welcomes gifts toward the JAARS aircraft funding project S4700, a project that Paul wholeheartedly supported. Detail concerning this project can be found at: http://www.jaars.org/projects/s4700.