Matthew Brian Paulsen was born Aug. 23, 1978 and passed away Nov. 3, 2023.
Matt grew up in Vancouver, Washington and was a true outdoorsman from his earliest years. He spent as much time as he could on the water and in the woods; some of his best memories were bow hunting with his dad, brother, uncle, and cousin in the Klickitat Canyon. He learned to drive a boat at 10 years old and spent hours on the Columbia River, Swift Reservoir, and Hood Canal. If fihe wasn’t fishing or crabbing, he loved to be in the water swimming or snorkeling.
Matt graduated from Hudson’s Bay in 1997 and then spent some time in the Coast Guard. He married Heather Cresap in 2003 and showed her that life’s best memories are made outdoors. Outdoor adventures were a hallmark of their marriage, and ranged from annual hunting trips to hiking (the more remote fithe better) to salmon fishing in the ocean. After getting skunked on a chartered trip on their honeymoon in Alaska, Matt took Heather out in a 15’ skiff he rented and caught a 75 lb halibut on a salmon rod he had picked up at the pawn shop. He managed to get it in the boat without a net or a gaff!
Matt worked for Shaver Transportation from 2007- 2014, helping navigate tugs and and barges on the Columbia and Snake Rivers. His time working was cut short, as he was diagnosed with leukemia in 2013 and received a stem cell transplant form his brother, Aaron Paulsen. Matt had plans to become a captain, and always hoped he would be able to return to work on the river, but complications from the transplant unfortunately never allowed that to happen.
Matt and Heather had 3 children, who brought him so much joy and gave him the courage and determination to fifight daily for nearly 11 years to be here with them and for them. From a young age, he taught them how to mow the filawn, cut firewood, drive a boat, fifish, shoot a bow and arrow, and play football, basketball and baseball. He taught them how to enjoy the simple things in life, like coloring, cooking, rapping, dancing, and just being together. He taught them to love Jesus and the importance of Psalm 23. He was a funny, encouraging, patient, and adventurous dad.
Despite the trials and long-suffering Matt endured as a result of his transplant, he never lost courage and continually drew strength from God to keep fighting, in hopes that things would “turn a corner” and improve. He had a grit unmatched by many and endured it all with his great sense of humor and ability to laugh. Although his heart grew tired before he was able to accomplish everything he wanted to, he was incredibly grateful for every day that God gave him with his family.
Matt is survived by his wife Heather Paulsen, his children Owen (14), Braylen (13), and Naomi (11), his mother Pattie Long (Rob), his father Brian Paulsen (Sandy), his brother Aaron Paulsen (Cha-met), as well as his step-brothers Roy, David, Daniel, Curtis, Keven, and cousins, nieces and nephews.
A celebration of life service will be held Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. at Vancouver Church, 3300 NE 78th.