Paul Thomas McKinnon passed away on April 18, 2023, at the age of 77.
He was born on August 9, 1945 in Fargo, ND to Cliff and Helen (Otos) McKinnon. Paul grew up on a farm just north of Mapleton, ND with his sister and 4 brothers. He played several high school sports and he and his brother Tom were both on the 1963 basketball team that won the final Class C ND State Championship Title. He graduated from Mapleton in 1963 and attended Mayville State College where he graduated with a degree in teaching. Before getting drafted he taught Business & Physical Education and coached several sports for a couple years. Paul was drafted into the US Army serving from 1969-71 and spent his time in Germany as a member of the Military Police. He returned to teaching and coaching again after being discharged in 1971. In his high school coaching career he had ND State Championship teams in both boys and girls track at different schools. While working on his Master’s Degree at NDSU Paul was appointed Head Coach of the Women’s Basketball Team and had the position from 1977- 78.
Paul was married to Virginia Schmidt from 1973-80 and has two daughters. In 1987 he married Nancy Stompro (Alm) who had a daughter and son and they made their home in West Fargo.
In addition to teaching, Paul was a sales rep for Lavelle Company and Jarick Products and also a yellow page sales rep for Fronteer Directory. Paul worked weekends for Red River Trails and drove bus for various NDSU, Concordia and MSU sports teams. Jeff Kolpack’s recent article highlighted Paul’s impact on athletes as a bus driver. Returning to his love of teaching, he started Paul’s Behind the Wheel Driver Training in the early 90’s which he operated until he retired in 2015. He taught over 5000 students how to drive.
Paul played softball for many years and the families always ended up at Happy Joe’s for pizza. He was an avid golfer and spent his free time on the links with friends. He went South in the winter months and enjoyed golfing at the Flying L and riding his motorcycle around Hill Country in Bandera TX. He was a member of his church choir and enjoyed listening to Gaither Vocal Band gospel music. His greatest delight was spending time with his 8 grandsons.
In 2017 Paul was diagnosed with Parkinsons. He continued to enjoy golf for several years until dementia began to interfere with his activities. He spent a year at Kinder Care in West Fargo and was under hospice care at the VA Hospital in Fargo at the time of his death.
Paul is survived by Nancy, his wife of 36 years, daughters Paula (Adam) Adams and Jennifer McKinnon, step daughter Jennifer (Damian) Koshnick and step son Josh (Kathleen) Stompro. He was blessed to be grandpa/papa to 8 boys. Gannon and Nate Koltes, Logan, Luke and Dylan Stompro, Wyatt Koshnick and Drew and Meyer McKinnon. He is also survived by his sister Marian (Keith) Bjerke, brothers Tom (Audrey) McKinnon and Bob McKinnon as well as many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents and brothers Cliff and John McKinnon.
Celebration of Life: 1 pm Saturday, May 6, 2023, at Atonement Lutheran Church in Fargo.
Visitation: An hour before the service.
Service will be streamed at www.atonement.live
In lieu of floral pieces, memorials are preferred to the Parkinson's Foundation of North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota
Attention: Minnesota & Dakotas
West Funeral Home & Life Tribute Center
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