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Paul Van Buren

Image by Nick Andréka

PAUL JOSEPH CHARLES VAN BUREN

June 24, 1967 – May 11, 2024

It is with deep sorrow that we announce the unexpected passing of Paul after a brief time in the Grace Hospital. 


Paul is survived by his mother Carol (Denis), sisters Cynthia (Edgar) and Cathy, nieces Alanna and Christina, nephew Daniel (Corrine), grand-niece Ashlynn and grand-nephews Henry, Robert and Bruce, and his adopted nephew, William. He will also be missed by his roommate of seven years, Jean, as well as his extended family and his many friends.


Paul had many interests over the years. Two loves he had developed by the time he was in grade 6 was chess and computers. He could be seen playing chess against a handheld electronic device that eventually saw Paul win far more games than he lost. He later joined the Central City Bulletin Board System, a modem run text-based system that had chat groups and text-based games such as Dungeons and Dragons. Several friendships developed from the CCBBS as the group often held in person get togethers as well as using the bulletin board system. As computer technology continued to advance, Paul got involved in more sophisticated online gaming.


Paul also tried his hand at many different crafts and hobbies. Over the years he made clay sculpture chess sets, tried candle making, took a couple of cake decorating classes, made some honey mead, and enjoyed building models. At the time of his passing, Paul was in the process of building a model of a long ship. Paul had joined a Viking role playing group and was learning to recreate chain mail. Paul also had an extensive knowledge of freshwater fish which was demonstrated in the two large aquariums he maintained. Another interest of Paul’s was digital photography. Paul enjoyed reading, especially science fiction and adventure fantasy. Paul had a real passion for cooking and baking, something he learned from his father. If you were lucky, you were a recipient of either his butter tarts or his lemon tarts. This past year, Paul was learning to make homemade pasta.


Some may not know, but Paul had a hidden side to him. He loved pigs and had a huge collection of stuffed pigs, ceramic pigs, pig pins, a pig tic tac toe game, pig salt and pepper shakers, etc. When Paul was in the hospital in 2012, his sister Cynthia crocheted him a pig. Brother-in-law Edgar sewed a hospital gown that the pig wore. Paul kept the pig atop a wall unit in his dining room.


Paul also had a mischievous side and enjoyed dressing up for Hallowe’en. In his younger adult years, he and his sister Cathy could often be found in a Hallowe’en costume. A favourite memory is of Paul dressed as a skeleton and Cathy dressed as a vampire.


A passion Paul got from his mother and step-dad Denis, as well as from his father Carl, was a love for old cars. For a while, Paul had the family robin egg blue 1967 Cougar, a 1986 Plymouth Caravelle, and was waiting to go for a ride in his mother’s 1966 Thunderbird convertible.


Though he had no children of his own, Paul was always very supportive to his nieces and nephew(s). He volunteered as a coach for his niece Alanna’s softball team.  He always encouraged Christina to keep pushing for her dreams.  He co-hosted the send-off party when Daniel went to Afghanistan with the Fort Garry Horse and was proud of his military nephew. He was Godfather to grandniece Ashlynn and met two of his three grandnephews before Covid and his illness stopped him from travelling. Paul was sharing three of his passions with his adopted nephew William: chess, building a model of a USS destroyer, and cooking.


Paul’s work career started off as a youth delivering newspapers in Lakeshore Heights, where the family had a cottage. Later, as a teen, Paul worked at Van Buren’s Shell on Main Street. He later used his knowledge of computers to work at AT & T. For a time, he worked for the St Boniface Hotel (St B) as a bouncer.  Paul loved to drive and was a long-distance truck driver for Reimer’s Trucking and Yanke Trucking as well as a courtesy driver for Superb Entertainment for many years.


Paul enjoyed meeting people, sharing many interesting stories from his bouncing days, having a good gab session, and of course coffee at Robin’s or Timmies. Paul had a sharp wit, a sharper tongue, and a good sense of humour. However, he could also be quite the curmudgeon. He was affectionately known as Pip, Pippo, Pablo, Gorilla in the Mist, Lurch, Uncle Paul, and we’re sure many other names not disclosed to the family.


Paul was pre-deceased by his brother-in-law Henry in 1999, special Uncle George (also another lovable curmudgeon) in 2014 and his father Carl in 2017. We know that Paul is likely drinking coffee and playing cards with Carl, George, and Henry and regaling them with a tale or two.


Paul’s family would like to give a special thank you to Dr. Joshua, the nurses, and the staff at the Grace Hospital for their compassionate care. Thank you also to Ethical Death Care for their assistance during this difficult time and for the photo-biography you are viewing. We’d also like to thank all of Paul’s family and friends for your support as we are joined in grieving the loss of Paul in our lives. In Paul’s memory, please consider donating to the Diabetes Canada. We invite you to join us on Saturday, August 17, from 1:00-3:00 pm, for A Celebration of Paul’s Life at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Winnipeg located at 603 Wellington Crescent. If you knew Paul, you knew that he loved a good joke, was extremely sarcastic, and had a dry sense of humour. Often this was reflected in comments he made, both in person and on social media, and also on the t-shirts he wore. We all know that Paul would not want a sad depressing get together. As part of celebrating Paul’s life, we would really like it if you wore something that reminds you of Paul and who he was. We also ask that you share stories and memories of Paul both at the Celebration of Life and in the comment area below.


The road is now calling and I must away …

But now comes the day

To bid you farewell

I bid you all a very fond farewell.

(The Last Goodbye by Billy Boyd, 

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies)

ETHICAL DEATH CARE

Cremation & Life Celebrations

530 St. Mary Avenue - Winnipeg

204-421-5501 - www.ethicaldeathcare.com

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