Cover photo for Paul  Vernon Ellingson's Obituary
Paul  Vernon Ellingson Profile Photo
1954 Paul 2022

Paul Vernon Ellingson

June 16, 1954 — January 4, 2022

Paul Ellingson, 67, died on January 4, 2022, at Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital from complications of aspiration pneumonia. The eldest son of Maurice and Lois (Grinde) Ellingson, Paul was born on June 16, 1954, in Fargo, ND. He graduated from Fargo North High School in 1972, where he excelled on the highly competitive speech, debate, and golf teams. He was an active member of Hope Lutheran Church, North Campus, until he left Fargo for Grand Forks and the University of North Dakota. He graduated from UND in 1975 and headed east to begin graduate studies in English at the University of Connecticut. In 1977, Paul decided to follow another path, moved to Atlanta, and began working at the Georgia Department of Archives and History. In 1986, he became Public Relations Coordinator for the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, where he worked until 1993 under the leadership of Secretary Max Cleland.

In 1981, Paul met his future wife, née Margaret Whittier, a native Atlantan who shared his love of literature, politics, jazz, and outdoor grilling. To the surprise of many, including Paul, Margaret proved willing and able to cope with the self-proclaimed Norwegian bachelor “farmer” from the North Dakota prairie (a la Garrison Keillor’s PHC). Not wanting to rush into anything, Paul and Margaret finally tied the knot on June 4, 1993, at the First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta.

Along the way, both Paul & Margaret earned master’s degrees at Emory University -- Librarianship for Margaret in 1988 and Business Administration for Paul in 1992. After earning his MBA, Paul left the Secretary of State’s office to become Public Affairs Manager for Gwinnett County, GA. Paul and Margaret moved from Avondale Estates to Tucker in 1995. They quickly became active in the Tucker Civic Association (TCA) during its unsuccessful attempt to stop a certain big-box store from coming to town. Later, both Paul and Margaret served terms as President of TCA, when the organization was just beginning to explore the feasibility of cityhood for Tucker. Paul left Gwinnett County government in 1998 to become his own boss, first as the owner of a Franklin’s Printing franchise and then as an independent insurance agent and financial advisor.  

In January of 1999, daughter, Rachel Kathryn, was born, immediately transforming Paul and Margaret into ridiculously doting parents. Rachel grew up all too quickly and, in August 2021, she graduated from Emory University with a BA in Psychology. Paul and family have been active members of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Tucker for many years. Paul devoted himself to St. Andrews’ Mission Ministry during his first term as a church elder. His passion for serving neighbors in need also inspired Paul to represent St. Andrews on the board of Tucker’s NETWorks Cooperative Ministry for six years, serving as its President in 2018. Elected to a second term as an elder at St. Andrews, Paul ably led the Management Ministry until he fell seriously ill with pneumonia in June 2021.

Paul is survived by his wife, Margaret; daughter, Rachel; brothers and sisters-in-law, Kent & Kay Ellingson (Dallas, TX), and Brad & Denise Ellingson (Kennesaw, GA); nieces & nephews, Adam & Lynn Baumgartner (LeMars, IA), Samantha & Daryl Sullivan (Columbus, GA), Nathan Ellingson (Smyrna, GA) and Andrew Ellingson (Nashville, TN); and great-niece & great-nephews Sydney, Jaxon and Carter Baumgartner. Paul was preceded in death by his parents, Lois and Maurice, and his sister, Leanne (Baumgartner) Cosgriff.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 pm on Saturday, March 19 at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, 4882 La Vista Rd., Tucker, GA 30084. In lieu of flowers, we invite memorial contributions to NETWorks Cooperative Ministry (, the Mission Ministry of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church (, Clifton Sanctuary Ministries (, or a charitable organization of your choice. The family will receive friends from 1:15 - 1:45 PM in the Narthex, and a reception will follow the service in the Heffner Fellowship Hall. Masks are encouraged. The memorial service will also be live streamed,

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Paul Vernon Ellingson, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

St. Andrews Presbyterian Church

4882 Lavista Road, Tucker, GA 30084

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