|Birth: ||Jun. 12, 1918|
North Dakota, USA
|Death: ||Jan. 13, 2005|
North Dakota, USA
A Celebration of Paul's Life will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, at Price-Murphy Funeral Home, Dickinson.
The family of Paul Ebeltoft learned that the hardest part of love is the letting go when our husband, father and grandfather died on January 13, 2005 at St Luke's Home in Dickinson. A friend of the heart to Mary, his wife of 63 years; a shield against bad weather for his son, Bill; a builder of bridges for his son, Paul, Jr.; and a wise counselor to his grandsons, Rob and Dave, Paul Ebeltoft remained to the end brave and strong and true.
Paul Ebeltoft was born in Dunn Center, North Dakota on June 12, 1918. His father, Charles, and mother Charlotte Myhre Ebeltoft, taught Paul the joy of sport, the satisfaction of work well done, and that education is a companion which no misfortune can decrease. His parents had every reason to be proud. In whatever he did in life, Paul's family, friends, and even his competitors found that he would serve with skill, conduct himself with dignity; act honestly, and demonstrate an unswerving sense of duty to his family, his business and his community.
Paul's education took place during the Great Depression. Early in life, he became a fine marksman, a skill that he retained into his 70's. In school at Dunn Center he was an excellent student and talented athlete, particularly in basketball. In 1936 Paul enrolled in Dickinson State Teacher's College. Obtaining his teaching certificate in his first year, he taught students in rural schools near Dickinson to earn money to continue his education. In 1939 he enlisted in the North Dakota National Guard and was assigned to Company K of the 164th Infantry.
When he was a college senior, the Federal Service call-up activated, North Dakota's own. This meant the end of school for Paul, and the beginning of what would become a five-year separation from his sweetheart, Mary Zwick of Dickinson. In 1940, Paul followed Company K to bases in the southern United States where, because of postings next to flight training, he became intrigued by the fledgling branch of America's armed forces, the Army Air Corps. In early 1941, even though he had already applied for pilot training, Paul was chosen to command Company K while it continued training at Fort Beauregard, Louisiana.
When his transfer to flight training came through, Paul thought that, even in the event of hostilities, he would be kept in the states for some time. So, on October 26, 1941 he requested leave to return to Dickinson to marry. He and his bride, Mary, lived together at Key Field in Meridian Mississippi for only 6 weeks before Pearl Harbor was attacked.
By the end of the year, 1941, Mary was at home again in Dickinson and Paul was patrolling the east coast on "invasion spotting" missions with his squadron. During these months, he recalled how very well he and his troops were treated by members of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. Back home, Mary joined other "war –widows" at socials sponsored by the local Elks Lodge. These early experiences, so important to a young man friendless in new parts of the country and to a young woman back home and worried about the future, committed Paul to lifelong work for Elkdom.
In early 1942, with u-boats sinking tons of allied shipping every month, Army Air Corps Lieutenant Paul Ebeltoft boarded the Queen Elizabeth to join the European Theatre of operations. He would not return for 3 years. Paul spent those years as a member and then as executive officer of a combat photography and reconnaissance squadron, coming home a decorated veteran with the rank of Major.
Upon returning home, Paul re-entered school and earned his college degree from Dickinson State Teacher's College in 1946. From that time onward, Dickinson State was an important part of Paul's life. In 1975 he received the Chief Award for distinguished service to the University. In 1989 he was inducted into the University's Athletic Hall of Fame for his athletic achievements during the 1930's.
Shortly after graduation, Paul began a successful career in business. He and David Price built and operated the first 8-lane bowling alley in town. He kept, as encouragement to do better, the "solid ten-pin" that kept him from rolling a 300 game on his own lanes.
Selling his share of the bowling enterprise in 1950 Paul began a thirty-year career in retail clothing, buying into a business originally known as Kostelecky Brothers Clothing. The business occupied a single 25-foot wide building in downtown Dickinson when Paul began. During his years at The Fad, he continually enlarged, redecorated and improved. The Fad Western and The Fad for Women were added to the growing storefront. Anticipating mentorship and college work-experience programs by decades, Paul formally committed to hire at least seven Dickinson State students each year. Not only did these students earn money for their education and learn business first hand, several used the job and Paul's guidance as a launching pad for successful regional roles in the clothing trade.
To provide the latest in clothing selections for area shoppers, Paul joined the Northwest Buyers and Jobbers Association, a nine-state retail purchasing group. The Fad soon became its biggest account and he was invited to join its Board of Directors in Minneapolis. The merchandise he purchased in Minneapolis, Chicago and Los Angeles brought customers to Dickinson from more than a 100-mile radius. With 16,000 square feet of shopping area at its zenith, hundreds of suits and sport coats sold along side working clothes, ranch-wear and latest women's fashions, The Fad was one of the largest full service clothing stores in the Upper Midwest. Paul sold his interest in The Fad in 1981.
Many will remember Paul as a strong booster of Dickinson and southwest North Dakota. He was an active member of the Chamber of Commerce, serving as its president. Later he helped organize the Downtown Merchant's Association and he was one of its earliest presidents. Paul was Boss of the Year in 1966. In that same year he helped found and later became president of the North Dakota Retail Association. In 1979 he received the "Spark Plug Award" given by the North Dakota Retail Association only to those who exert untiring efforts to effect positive changes in the statewide retail community. A few of the many other accomplishments for which he was also honored include convincing United Parcel Service to serve Dickinson many years earlier than had originally been planned by the company; designing an orderly plan to provide free customer and employee parking in downtown Dickinson; and serving as president of the non-profit organization which helped develop a new golf course for the city by dividing and selling lots from the old golf course property. A 65 year member of the Dickinson Elk's Lodge he became Exalted Ruler in 1952 and later, District Deputy, during which time he helped guide and direct lodges in a large portion of the state. While he was District Deputy, these lodges were among the healthiest in the Midwest.
Paul was preceded in death by four brothers. His older sister, Charlotte, who dearly loved her little brother, survives and is living in Kalispell, Montana. The love of his life, Mary, will not tire of telling how lucky she was to have met and fallen in love with her "Paulie." She lives at St. Luke's Home in Dickinson.
Paul and Mary had two sons. Bill, a war hero of the Vietnam era, is disabled and is living in Columbia Falls, Montana. Paul, Jr. and his wife Gail live in Dickinson. Gail's and Paul's two children, Rob and Dave are living and working in the fine arts in New York City. Grandpa Paul was so very proud of them.
Paul Ebeltoft, Sr., after 86 good years, teaches us that even in death there will be no end to things of the heart. In lieu of flowers, which he liked less than growing an excellent tomato, Paul preferred to have remembrance gifts sent to the Dickinson State University Foundation, 291 Campus Drive, Dickinson, ND 58601 or to the Dickinson Elk's Lodge #1137, 501 Elks Drive, Dickinson, ND 58601.
A celebration of Paul's life will be held at 10:30 AM, Friday January 21, 2005 at the Price Murphy Funeral Home in Dickinson, North Dakota.
Mary J. Zwick Ebeltoft (1918 - 2005)*
Saint Patricks Cemetery
North Dakota, USA
Plot: K. 8. 1. 6
Created by: High Plains
Record added: Dec 04, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 101717756