Paul G. Rossmeissl
Organ Donor
02/27/1952 - 06/07/2006 
Date of Donation: 06/07/06
Fairfax INOVA Hospital   Fairfax, VA



Paul G. Rossmeissl
Psychologist, Avid Historian

Paul 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, he gave the gift of life to three individuals who received his liver and both of his kidneys.  Other individuals benefited from the donation of his heart valves, bone and tissue. 

Paul was born in Appleton, WI, 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 in Lambeau Field.  He earned his bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees in experimental psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He was an avid reader who had a multitude of eclectic hobbies and diverse interests.  He was a devoted student of history.  His library held many volumes on the Civil War, as well as 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, cheering especially for fellow Wisconsin native, Matt Kenseth.  Paul had a strong and abiding faith in Jesus Christ that was evident and inspiring in his daily life as a husband, father and friend.  He had a rare capacity to live each day to its fullest with humor and joy.  Paul had an indomitable spark of friendship and fellowship that was irresistible to anyone who met him.  His family and friends miss him greatly.  

To honor Paul's enthusiasm for life, celebrate his love of cycling, and raise awareness for organ and tissue donation, Paul's family and friends initiated Paul's Ride for Life (www.paulsrideforlife.org).  Over the last three years, Paul's Ride has attracted more than 600 bicycle riders, from casual riders, to serious cyclists.  One rider provided the following testimonial, "I'll be back to ride in 2012, to offer support and enjoy the fellowship...next year I hope to ride with the four daughters of my niece who donated her organs when she died."  "I can't express the happiness and understanding this ride gives to those that have lost a family member tragically."

Over $37,000 has been raised from registered riders and supporters inspired by Paul's story.  Through Paul's tragic death, many individuals have benefitted from improved health through his gift or organ and tissue donation.  Paul's spirit lives on in all of us who knew him and his extended Paul's Ride for Life family.
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