Obituary for Paul L. Essaff at Newport (2024)


After a brief illness, Paul Essaff, known to many as “Pastor Paul”, left his earthly body and went home to Jesus on February 3, 2022.

Paul was born in Newport Vermont on May 20, 1942, to Louis J. Essaff and Gertrude LaPlante. He lived most of his life in the Newport area, attending Sacred Heart School at St. Mary Star of the Sea. In the many years since, Paul always looked forward to attending his class reunions to connect with old friends.

Paul married Judy Flynn in 1963 and raised two wonderful children, Timothy Essaff of Derby Line and Sherrie Essaff Rediker of Ogden, Quebec. Judy went home to Jesus in 2002, and in October 2005 Paul married Linda Hale, his wife, friend, and ministry partner for the last 16 years.

Paul had a variety of careers in his lifetime. His family owned and operated the East Side Restaurant in Newport, where Paul was regularly a patron – enjoying his favorite cheeseburgers and fries – but never a worker. In his teen years he worked on the Chaput farm and had very fond memories of his experiences there. He also had jobs in a dairy plant, as salesman and then manager of Gladstone Shoes, a carpet/flooring salesman for Montgomery Wards, a self-employed painter, and salesman for St. Johnsbury Paper Company. Eventually, Paul started three local businesses - Northeast Kingdom Placemats, Northeast Kingdom Brochures, and a regional brochure distribution business.

Although he was raised in the Catholic Church, it was not until 1972 that Paul had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ and was born again. Shortly thereafter he and Judy experienced a miracle when Judy was healed. Paul loved Jesus because he knew, believed, and received Jesus’ love for him. He cherished every opportunity to share the message of God’s love and grace for everyone, with everyone.

Paul felt God calling him into ministry, so he and his family moved to Texas for a year in 1975 where he attended Christ for the Nations Institute. After returning to the Northeast Kingdom he founded the River of Life Fellowship Coffee House in Newport, served as an Associate and Interim Pastor of the Church of God, and was Interim Pastor of Advent Christian Church of Newport / Beebe Quebec. In 1985, Paul and Judy founded Life in Christ Fellowship in Derby (now Newport) through a series of divine interventions and confirmations. In 1999 Paul was ordained through the Maranatha Ministerial Fellowship.

After Judy passed away, Paul retired as pastor from Life in Christ. After marrying Linda, they were called to serve as elders at Lighthouse Christian Church in Montpelier and were there for eight years, travelling back and forth from St. Johnsbury. He and Linda also served at First Congregational Church in North Troy for three years, retiring in September 2021. When he was not pastoring full-time, Paul ministered at various churches across the Northeast Kingdom as a guest preacher.

Over the years, he ministered at most of the region’s nursing homes and participated in prison ministry in the state of Vermont until the pandemic. Paul also conducted many funerals throughout the years in his capacity as a minister. He felt blessed by every opportunity to help families dealing with loss by pointing them to Jesus for hope and salvation. Through his words and actions, Paul shared the truth of God’s love for them and encouraged them to find strength through their own relationship with God. He wanted everyone to know the love of God and to be part of God’s family for all eternity.

Paul took several mission trips including to the Los Angeles Dream Center and to the Dominican Republic. He and Linda, with generous donations from their community, sponsored a pastors’ conference in the Dominican Republic in 2015. His last trip to the Dominican Republic included a trip to Haiti and Caicos Islands in 2019. He was planning another trip to Central America in 2020 but was unable to travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paul was predeceased by his father Louis, his first wife Judy, brother-in-law John Sanville, and best friend Bob Lillis. He is survived by his second wife, Linda; his children, Timothy Essaff and wife Doris, and Sherrie Essaff Rediker and husband Paul; grandchildren Joshua Rediker, Hannah Rediker Dostie and husband Shane, April Plante and husband Grady; great-grandchildren Emma, Ava, and Owen Dostie and Jackson, Landon, and Theo Plante. Paul was blessed with six brothers and sisters, all of whom survived him: Joann and husband Jack Anderson; Roland Essaff and wife Emily; Diane Essaff; David Essaff and wife Ellen; Carol Sanville; and Michael Essaff. He is also survived by his stepchildren Robert McGregor and wife Tracey, and Tennille McGregor Gonyon and husband Andrew; step-grandchildren Haven McGregor, Noah Purviance and Justin, Carter, and Cameron McGregor. Paul also leaves behind a multitude of extended family members, and many, many friends.

One of Paul’s joys in life was to spend time with his family and especially his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Paul and Linda often video chatted with his great-granddaughters, Emma and Ava, reading them Bible stories, praying with them and singing about Jesus. Because his family was so important to him, Paul researched his Lebanese and Abenaki heritages with his grandson Josh. They traveled to Canada to meet some distant Lebanese relatives and had a wonderful time together. He cherished the time with Josh, meeting their extended family and enjoying an amazing traditional Lebanese feast.

Paul knew and loved so many people. He was a friend to all and always saw the good in others. He will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him. A celebration of life will be held in early June at the Church of God, Derby VT, with Pastors Janet and Allan Bishop of Life in Christ Fellowship officiating.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Paul’s memory to the church he and Judy founded over 35 years ago: Life in Christ Fellowship, Mortgage Fund, PO Box 1114, Newport VT 05855. On-line condolences at Arrangements are entrusted to the care of Curtis-Britch & Bouffard Funeral Home, & Cremation Service, locally family owned and operated.

To plant Memorial Trees in memory of Paul L. Essaff, please click here to visit our Sympathy Store.

Obituary for Paul L. Essaff at Newport (2024)
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