Sept. 2, 1931-June 20, 2020
On June 20 while on his afternoon walk in Pendleton, Oregon, Paul joined his daughter, Mary Margaret, who passed 33 years ago. Paul was born on September 2, 1931, in Deer Lodge, MT, to Howard and Hattie (Petersen) Bissonette. He is survived by his wife, Patricia; his twin sons, Robert Howard and William Paul; and his step-children, Eric and Dena. At the time of his passing, Paul had eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Raised on a farm/ranch in Hall, MT, Paul worked hard and came to respect the land and the people around him. He did well in school and joined the Navy during the Korean conflict. After his discharge, he attended MSU and WSU on the GI bill to become a Veterinarian. He married Carol Ann in 1957, in Pullman, Washington, and fathered his twin sons (with 2½ years of schooling remaining). In 1959, he moved with his wife and twins to the Deer Lodge Valley, where he started his vet practice and soon Mary came along. He went into business with Fred Metcalf in Drummond, MT, and in 1961, started the Clark Fork Veterinary Clinic in Deer Lodge, MT. Fred and Paul were partners for some 30 years and great friends.
In 1976, Paul found himself single and coincidentally so had his soul mate, Patricia, who he had met during a team roping at the fairgrounds in Deer Lodge. Paul, Bob Cowan and Pete McQueary got together and started the MT Powell Roping Club and for many years had a great time. Paul and Pat were married in 1978, and lived in Deer Lodge and Garrison until 2016, when they moved to Pendleton, Oregon. They were married for 42 years until his passing, they even built a home together and never had one single fight or heated decision.
Paul was the kind of person who everyone enjoyed spending time with. He always greeted everyone with a smile and humor. Because of his practice, there was not an adult in Powell County that didn’t know “Dr. Paul”. He was a cowboy at heart, and as such he had a simple philosophy: work hard, play hard, be honest and spend more time listening than talking. Paul’s description of heaven was “what people think of you when you are gone”, so live life with honor, dignity and respect. He was a true veterinarian, patients and clients came first. He held them on the highest pedestal and nothing came between him and them when in need, he dropped everything when a call came in, gave up family gatherings or even a night out on the town for the animals. He was so dedicated to his profession and will greatly be missed by so many.
Due to the pandemic, memorial services will not be held. A private celebration of Paul’s life will be held by family members at a later date. To honor Paul, we ask that you hold a warm thought, a fond memory and maybe tip a glass to the kind man he was.
In lieu of flowers, we request donations be made to charity of donors’ preference.
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