On a crisp October afternoon The Lord called Home his beloved servant, Pastor Paul Bittner. He was trying to fix one of his antennas and fell to his death.
Paul was born on Christmas Day, 1933, to Reverend Louis and Irma Bittner in Beatrice, Neb. He spent his grade school years in Ogallala, Neb. He graduated from High school in 1952 from Stewartville, Minn. In 1958 he graduated from Concordia Theological Seminary in Springfield, Ill. His first parish assignment was to Ontario, Canada, where he served at St. John’s Lutheran in Desboro and St. Paul’s Lutheran in Marmion. Subsequently, he served Trinity Lutheran in Virginia, Minn. and Trinity Lutheran in Grand Island, Neb. In 1977, he began his ministry at St. John’s Lutheran in Fall Creek, where he served until his retirement on Pentecost Sunday, 2000. During his ministry he served many local congregations as a vacancy pastor or “Rent-a-Rev,” as he laughingly called it. To meet and greet and serve God’s people afforded his most treasured moments.
Paul married Mary Beach in 1953 and they were blessed with four daughters, Nancy (Doug) Watkins, Cynthia (Randal Schreiner), Lori (James Pluda) and Bethany (Paul) Husby. There are also six grandchildren: Nicholas (Kirigin) Watkins, Lars Watkins, Allison Pluda, Joseph (Katy) Husby, David and Erik Husby. He is also survived by two brothers, Victor and David.
He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Hillmar.
As an amateur radio enthusiast, the call W0AIH, which he got in 1949 was known around the world. He mentored many “hams” to develop their skills. He also hosted many radio contests at “the farm,” which were recognized worldwide for their participation and competence. Ham radio opened many doors into the Christian communities in the former Soviet Union. Paul made several trips to house churches in Latvia, Siberia, Kazakstan and Krygzstan. He was most proud to have a “spiritual son” in Gennadj Khonin, a former Soviet astrophysicist and now a theologically trained Lutheran pastor in Kazakstan.
A visitation was held Friday, Nov. 9, from 4 to 8 p.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church, rural Fall Creek, and from 10 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Saturday at the church. Funeral services were held Saturday, Nov. 10, at 11 a.m. at the church, with burial in the church cemetery.
Online condolences can be left at www.andersonfhaugusta.com.