Paul Steven Roos left this world in the early hours of November 10, 2020, seven weeks after the discovery of advanced and aggressive cancer. Paul passed away with family at his side in his Lincoln home.
Paul was born on June 30, 1942, to Maxine and Donald Roos. He spent his early days in Lincoln where he felt the strong pull of the woods and streams of the Blackfoot Valley. Paul married his high school sweetheart, Kay Vandeberg, in August of 1961, a year after their graduation from Augusta High School. They then moved to Helena where Paul attended Carroll College and graduated in 1965 with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and a teaching certificate. During Paul's college days, two daughters were added to the family.
Following graduation and one year of teaching, Paul was hired as the Clancy, Montana, principal and a third daughter joined the family. In 1969, Paul returned to his hometown, Lincoln, to become the Lincoln school principal and teach where his mother Maxine was the 2nd grade teacher. Paul started and coached girls grade school basketball so his girls could play the game he loved. The couple also bought Stubb's Cabin Camp, renaming it The Roost and a fourth daughter was soon added to the Lincoln family.
After three summers of traveling to West Yellowstone to work for Pat Barnes as a fishing guide, Paul and Kay started Paul Roos Outfitting (PRO) in 1970. Paul, Kay, and Paul Grosfield built a lodge on The Roost grounds during their first year as outfitters after committing to host a group of doctors and spouses in 1971. In 1975, Paul taught and coached for one year at the Augusta high school followed by partnering with Lloyd Bray to start Lincoln Auto Parts Supply.
Because Lincoln did not yet have a high school, in the fall of 1976, the couple moved to Helena with four daughters in tow, where Paul returned to teaching junior high school math. This move placed Paul and his family next to John and Renee Kowalski who became friends and eventually business partners in PRO, CrossCurrents Fly Shop, and a lodge called the North Fork Crossing.
Paul received his master's degree from the University of Montana in 1990 and taught until 1994 when he dove full time into PRO and the North Fork Crossing. After selling ownership in all three businesses, Paul continued to guide and provide consulting support on stream restoration and outfitting.
Throughout Paul's working years, he served as a pivotal character in conservation efforts in the Blackfoot Valley. He was passionately involved in many organizations including The Caretakers, Big Blackfoot Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Blackfoot Challenge Watershed Group, Outfitters Association of Montana, the Board of Outfitters, support of I-122 and I-137, the Clark Fork Coalition, and the Lincoln Forest Restoration Committee. He also assisted with Blackfoot Pathways Sculpture in the Wild and the Lincoln Community River Park.
Just prior to Paul's cancer diagnosis, he was informed that he would be joining many amazing outdoor advocates as a Montana Outdoor Hall of Fame inductee. The induction ceremony will be held virtually on December 5, 2020.
After 41 years of marriage, Paul and Kay divorced. Paul married Carolyn Laws in February of 2005 and they subsequently worked side-by-side to further realize their joint conservationist dreams in their beloved Valley. Following Carolyn's death in February 2015, Paul was introduced to Bonnie Holmes Schauwecker by mutual friends. They were married in early 2019.
Paul is survived by his wife, Bonnie Roos; daughters Kathie Roos (Neal Blossom) of Helena, Paula Roos (Steve Zediker) of Billings, Shomai Meister (Marty) of Yakima, WA, Lee Crouse (Ken) of Lewistown; grandchildren Callan Reyher (Austin) of Ennis, Tallis Blossom of Bozeman, Kayleen Woodin of Seattle, Toria and Garrett Woodin of Billings, Hannah Meister of Yakima, Elsie and Avery Crouse of Lewistown; previous son-in-law Kevin Woodin, previous wife Kay Roos of Helena, siblings Donna Mix of Helena, Ron Roos (Judy) of Denver; and 6 nieces and nephews. Paul is preceded in death by his mother and father, brother-in-law Orville Mix, and former wife, Carolyn.
Paul's passions revolved around community, conservation, and education. Paul was a teacher, a principal, a coach, a basketball player, a visionary, a stream and wetland reclamation advocate, a forestry student, a business owner, a salesperson, an advocate for safety in the great outdoors, and a passionate advocate of family and friends. Despite occasional conflicts, Paul worked to bring all sides together and to gain trust with humor and respect. In his final days, he shared that his greatest fear was that he would miss telling all those in his life that he loved them. So know that each of you whose life crossed with Paul's, he appreciated you, he tried to listen to you, and he worked at showing love in action. He didn't live perfectly but he passionately lived!
A celebration of Paul's life will be held next summer in Lincoln. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the following: Clark Fork Coalition, Snowberry Foundation P.O. Box 5 Lincoln, MT 59639 (web site coming), The Wilderness Society, or contact the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce at firstname.lastname@example.org for a list of Lincoln needs. Please visit www.retzfuneralhome.com to offer the family a condolence or share a memory of Paul.
Sign up to get the most recent local obituaries delivered to your inbox.