Paul Rossmeissl was 54 when he died on June 7, 2006, from injuries sustained in a bicycle accident on the Washington and Old Dominion trail, a favorite biking route. As a result of this tragedy, Paul gave the gift of life to three individuals who received his liver and both of his kidneys. Many other individuals benefited from the donation of his heart valves, bone and tissue. This bicycle ride is dedicated to his memory.
Paul was born in Appleton, WI, and was the youngest of three children. He grew up in Green Bay, and was a devoted fan of the Green Bay Packers, enduring many a home game in freezing conditions at Lambeau Field. He graduated from Sacred Heart Seminary in 1970 and then went on to earn his bachelor, masters, and doctorate degrees in experimental psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He married Hedy Buss in 1974 and they relocated to the Washington, D.C., area in 1980 where he began his professional career with the Army Research Institute in Alexandria, VA. At the time of his death, Paul worked for the Institute of Quality Management where he was assigned to a project in support of homeland security at the National Counter Terrorism Center.
Paul was an avid reader who had a multitude of eclectic hobbies and a diversity of interests. He was a devoted student of history, especially military history and the local area afforded myriad opportunities to pursue his keen interest in the Civil War. His library holds many volumes on the Civil War standing alongside countless other works on the Titanic, the Spanish Armada, the Alamo, World War II, and Elizabethan England. He was an award-winning builder of model ships from many eras of maritime history. His enthusiasm for bike riding added up to some 2,000 miles pedaled each year. He was also an avid auto racing enthusiast, frequenting many NASCAR events, and cheering for a number of drivers, especially fellow Wisconsin native, Matt Kenseth.
Paul also had a strong and abiding faith in Christ Jesus that was evident and inspiring in his daily life. Paul was known and admired for his gifts of love and caring as husband to Hedy and father to Rachael. He had that rare capacity to live each day to its fullest with humor and joy. He had an indomitable spark of friendship and fellowship that was irresistible to anyone who met him. His family and friends miss him greatly.
The Story Behind the Ride by John Ogden