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Eriksmoen, Paul

Paul Eriksmoen, 34, of Shelton, Wash., formerly of Prairie Village, died on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, in the crash of an airplane he was piloting near Kulusuk, Greenland.

{mprestriction ids="1"}Paul was born Aug. 30, 1980, in Bismarck, N.D. From there he moved with his family to Sioux City, Iowa, where he attended Bryant Elementary School and then to Prairie Village where he attended Prairie Elementary School, Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, Indian Hills Middle School and Shawnee Mission East High School.

Paul and his family were members of Congregation Ohev Sholom in Prairie Village, where he celebrated his Bar Mitzvah in 1993. He attended the University of Kansas where he majored in computer and electrical engineering.

Paul married the former Joanna Johnston in Shelton on May 7, 2005. He began his skydiving career and added freefall videographer skills at Skydive Kansas. He then moved up to Skydive Cross Keys in Williamstown, N.J., where he received acclaim for his nationally-televised videos. He also became a tandem instructor, and made more than 7,000 professional jumps.

Paul’s interest then turned to flying airplanes. He received his pilot’s license in 2008, began commercially flying skydivers the next year, and obtained specialized ratings up to Airline Transport Pilot. Using his unique skill set, Paul then built an international reputation as a ferry pilot. He also trained paratroopers and jump pilots for American and allied military forces.

Paul is survived by his wife Joanna of Shelton; his parents, Norton and Terry Wheeler of Joplin, Mo.; his sister and brother-in-law, Inga and Noel Selders of Prairie Village; brother and sister- in-law, Travis and Karen Wheeler of Missoula, Mont.; five nieces and nephews; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.

He was preceded in death by a sister, Tanya Wheeler.

Although tragically cut short, Paul’s life was truly lived, filled with adventure and kindness. He profoundly touched the lives of countless people who had the privilege to cross his path. His journey is an inspiration to us all. A celebration of Paul’s life is currently being arranged in Shelton.