In memory of Rev. Paul Fredrick Albert Bohn, a 1940 Westminster alumnus.
“What is desirable in a man is kindness.” Prov. 19:22
The author of Proverbs tells us a man ought to be characterized by kindness. We see this quality exemplified in the life of Jesus and demonstrated, for example, by the fact that children could not help but be near him. In Luke 18, so many children surrounded Jesus that his disciples asked them to leave him alone. Jesus responded, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Luke 18:16).
When Paul Bohn entered a room, it did not take long for children to find him, lean against his leg, or sit on his lap. This unassuming man sensed a call to pastor small, rural churches, spending most of his ministry years in West Virginia but also ministering to churches in Michigan, Maine, Colorado, and Georgia. Paul and his wife, Elaine, deeply cared for the people in their community. One time, Paul cancelled a session meeting after being invited to attend the school function of a child in his church. Elaine’s delightful sense of humor and sharp intellect spilled out spontaneously in practical jokes, adventures, and fun. She taught skills like pulling taffy, making Christmas cookies, and keeping a home. She expected her children to behave, treat people with respect, and do their homework. Elaine and Paul made it a priority to attend events in which their children participated. Though he was one of the most educated men in the congregation, Paul’s income was half of the national average. Yet, his children never felt any negative effects from that poverty.
People traveled from the many places Paul ministered to attend his funeral. They told how he influenced their lives by making them feel special, welcomed, and accepted. It is not hard to imagine that when Paul and Elaine passed from this earth, they heard the Lord say, “Well done, my good and faithful servants. For as much as you have done it to one of the least of these, you have done it for me” (Matthew 25:23, 45).
Paul and Elaine are succeeded by their three children: Paula, a retired school teacher with master’s degrees in Christian and special education; Marcia, an obstetrician/gynecologist; and David, a former missionary and educator with a master’s in theology and a PhD in education.