Paul Fugleberg – 1930 – 2017
(H. Norman Wright’s brother)
A Polson newspaperman from 1959 until his retirement in 2008 – and a man known for his humility, his fascination with history, and his puns – Paul Fugleberg died unexpectedly Sunday of natural causes at St. Joseph Medical Center in his home town. He was 86.
Paul was born May 8, 1930 to Amelia and Paul Jonathan Fugleberg in Hollywood, California. Following the untimely death of his father, when Paul was 3, his mother remarried after which he was joined in the world by younger brother, Norman.
Paul graduated from Hollywood High School in 1948. After short stints at Los Angeles Community College and UCLA – and an off-putting first exposure to journalism in his coursework – he enlisted in the US Air Force. There, he served as Link Trainer Instructor and later became editor of the base newspaper. This was the Lord’s work of calling him to his life’s profession. He met his loving wife, Mary Lou Erickson, while serving as associate editor of the Roundup Record Tribune. They married in 1956 in Lewistown, MT.
Following his discharge from the Air Force, Paul made the trek from Canton and Sioux Falls, SD, to Bishop, CA and eventually to his own personal Shangri-La, Polson, MT. Honing his craft, raising his kids, strengthening his faith, and forging lifelong connections – Paul made his mark every step of the way. He loved his Lord and reflected the Scriptures in his relationships. Paul was a caring person and you couldn’t ask for a better brother. On several occasions Paul actually outfished his brother!
Above all, Paul loved God, his family and his community - which he showed in his daily actions even more than his prolific writing. In the words of his children, “By any and all measures, Dad, you ‘done good,’” a reference to Paul’s ultimate sign of approval for a job well done. Paul was a go-to expert on many things local, including the Flathead Lake Monster, which he called “Nessie” in books and articles he wrote. He kept a log of strange sightings on the lake, many of them connected to Nessie. Paul was a gifted author. He was also the copy editor for his brother Norman’s books before they went to press. It was difficult to get anyone to play Scrabble with Paul since he was a walking dictionary!
Paul was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Mary Lou and infant son, Jimmy. He is survived by his brother, Norman (Tess) Wright, his sister-in-law, Roberta Erickson, his children Alan Fugleberg (Jacki Elam), Ruth (Lance) Hinther, Mark (Teresa) Fugleberg, Laurie (Pat) McHugh, Tom (Christine) Fugleberg, twelve grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Paul was laid to rest in the Veteran’s section of the Lake View Cemetery in Polson, Montana. Paul’s books include:
Buffalo Savers: the Story of the Allan's-Pablo Bison Herd
Schnitzmeyer: Homestead Era Photographic Artist
Montana Nessie of Flathead Lake
Flathead Lake Steamboat Days
Among Other Things
Paul also edited numerous books for others.