Paul Howard Bissonette

Born: Wed., Sep. 2, 1931
Died: Sat., Jun. 20, 2020

Funeral Service

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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 stepchildren 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 2 1/2 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 coincidently 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 OR. 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 may be tip a glass to the kind man he was.

In lieu of flowers, we request donations be made to charity of donors’ preference.

Thank you.

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Condolence Booklet

William McPeak
   Posted Wed June 24, 2020
JoAnn and I were very sad to hear that Paul has passed. Paul was my oldest friend from grade school and I have thought often of him and Pat. Our plans was to drop by to visit this summer so my regards to you Pat and we both send our love and prayers for these sad times. We hope you and your family are doing well during these times.. Bill and JoAnn McPeak.

Bill and Marilyn Murphy
   Posted Thu June 25, 2020
Dear Pat and family,
We were so sorry to hear of Paul's passing. I told all the kids and we reminisced about Paul pulling into our place to pull a calf or preg check. He always came in with a flourish, skidding the subaru to a screaming halt and jumping out with a big smile. Then he'd suck in his belly and pull on his coveralls. He was a good friend and a real character. We have warm thoughts of our times with you two and of course the Christmas parties at the clinic. Please accept our sympathy He was one of the good guys.

Wayne Ternes
   Posted Sat June 27, 2020
Pat and family,

So sorry to hear this news. So many fond memories of my times with the family. I think of Mary often and every time I drive through the Valley and pass the clinic, I think of Doc and the family.

Tracey Fleming and Ken Fleming
   Posted Sat June 27, 2020
Dear Bill and Bob,

We are so sorry to hear of your father's passing. Dr. Bissonette was definitely a well-known man in Deer Lodge and the community was fortunate to have him as a dedicated veterinarian. Condolences to you, your families, and your step-mother. He will live on in your hearts and memories.

Tom Williams
   Posted Sun June 28, 2020
Pat and family,
I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Paul was an awesome individual and always enjoyable to be with. I can especially relate to you because three years ago I lost Shirley due to an auto accident. We had lots of good times with you and Paul. The veterinary ropings were some of the best days i can remember. God bless until we meet again.RIP

Wendy Murphy Williams
   Posted Mon June 29, 2020
Pat, Bill, Bob and family
I was saddened to learn of Paul‘s passing. I have so many fond memories of growing up around him and seeing him driving into our ranch in his little truck to work cattle. He would step out of his truck, puff his chest out and give us a big grin! I spent many days at his clinic watching him do procedures on different animals and I always learned from him. I remember just how packed full of people his Christmas parties at the vet clinic were. He was iconic! He was the John Wayne of Powell County!! I will miss him!


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