Paul Melvin Brunken passed away Feb. 26, 2011, at Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs. He was 55. A memorial celebration of his life was March 2 at the Lake Catamount Lakehouse.
Paul was born Jan. 28, 1956, in Parkston, S.D. He was the third son of Melvin and Phylis Brunken. Paul grew up in South Dakota and graduated from Chamberlain High School in Chamberlain, S.D., in 1974. He attended culinary school and was a chef in Chamberlain; Mitchell, S.D.; and Omaha, Neb.
From childhood on, Paul loved his dogs, fishing, hunting and especially making people laugh. Paul moved to Steamboat Springs in 1983 and considered the mountains his home. He was a master carpenter and worked locally with Ski Country Kitchens for many years.
Paul met the love of his life, Susan Gab, in 1983. They were married in Steamboat Springs on June 28, 1986. Paul and Sue spent 28 wonderful years together exploring the mountains, hunting for petroglyphs and simply enjoying each day.
Paul’s craftsmanship graces many homes throughout the Yampa Valley, but some might be surprised to learn the restoration of “The Pilot” stagecoach, now housed near the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association visitor center, is another display of his passion and expertise. He marveled at its history and was proud to be a part of keeping local lore alive.
Paul was preceded in death by his grandparents; his father, Melvin; and his niece, Lauren.
Paul forever will be remembered by his wife, Sue, of Steamboat Springs; his son, Jaimie (Shawna) Brunken, and grandchildren Brooklyn, Andrew, Quinten and Brennan, of Wayne, Neb.; his mother, Phylis Brunken, of Crete, Neb.; brothers, Charley (Greta), of Rocky Ford, Ga., and Tom (Dianne) Davis, of South Dakota; sister, Laurie Deibert, of Crete, Neb.; and many loving nieces, nephews and countless other friends and family feel blessed to have known him and will miss his many “fish tales.” Paul touched the lives of many people with his smile and generosity, and maintained his trademark sense of humor throughout.
Memorial donations may be made to the Paul Brunken Memorial in care of Wells Fargo Bank, 320 Lincoln Ave., Steamboat Springs, CO 80487.