Remembering Paul Appenbrink, 1940-2021

Family and friends are remembering Paul Appenbrink, and sharing this with his community:

Paul E. Appenbrink made his final train ride to heaven on March 21, 2021.

Paul was born on August 26, 1940 in Moweaqua, Illinois. He graduated from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Illinois, with a business degree in marketing in 1964. Prior to following his lifelong dream of working with the railroads, Paul was in sales and marketing for various shipping lines in the Midwest. In 1991 he started with AMTRAK in Chicago, becoming a conductor in 1993. His love of the Pacific Northwest drew him to Seattle in 1996, finding a position with AMTRAK as conductor. He retired from AMTRAK in 2008 but never really retired from his abiding love for all things “trains.”

Paul was a long-time, active member of the West Side Presbyterian Church in Seattle and was involved in two men’s Bible Studies. He volunteered at the West Seattle Food Bank. His many friends knew him as a great storyteller, having a story at the ready for any occasion.

He will be greatly missed by his ten nieces and nephews, John, Sally, Jessie Ann, Jac, Dave, Martha, Laurie, Jane, Linda, and Anita. He was preceded in death by his parents, infant brother, sisters Gloria and Edna, and brother Dave.

Memorials may be given to West Side Presbyterian Church in Seattle at 3601 California Avenue SW, Seattle, Washington, 98116 and the West Seattle Food Bank at 3419 SW Morgan St, Seattle, Washington 98126 or donor’s choice.

A private family service will be held at a later date.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please email the text, and a photo if available, to

5 Replies to "Remembering Paul Appenbrink, 1940-2021"

  • miws April 8, 2021 (9:53 am)

    So sad to learn of Paul’s passing. Although we hadn’t been in touch for several years, I considered him to be a friend and have fond memories of him. Paul was a regular customer of mine at the West Seattle location of Seattle FilmWorks, where I worked from 1998 until the store’s closure in 2003. He would bring in his rolls of film of…train photos, of course, to be sent to our lab for processing. He really surprised me one day, in early 2001, I believe, when he came into the store for the first time in a while. We were doing the usual small talk as I input the info for his processing and I mentioned that I was taking some vacation time and planned to rent a car to explore the Kitsap Peninsula, where I lived during my junior high years about 3 decades earlier. I was a bit stunned when he offered me his Jeep Cherokee for the trip in order to save money. He was going to be gone a few days on the job on either the Spokane or Portland run. This was before we had established a friendship and the trust that comes with it, and again, I hadn’t seen him for quite some time. I would continue to “car sit” for him over the next few years, including the brand new 2002 Jeep Liberty, (first year for the model) that he bought in July 2001, as he’d go on the Spokane/Portland runs, or, go on a week’s or so vacation…on the train. This not only benefitted me, having been car-less since 1995  but Paul as well, as his older condo-conversion building in the Junction offered no onsite parking so he’d have to park in the street.My sincerest condolences to Paul’s family and friends… —Mike 

  • slc April 8, 2021 (10:02 am)

    I will miss his friendly smile along with the train whistle at the Admiral Kids 4th of July Parade.  May there be many trains for you to ride in heaven, Paul. 

  • Bell April 8, 2021 (10:24 am)

    I met Paul many years ago as long time volunteers at the Food Bank. What a lovely, kind Man. Always had a smile on his face and laugh to share. Sending thoughts and Prayers to his family and many friends. Rest in Paradise Paul, you made this world a better place and will be very missed. ❤️

  • Lester R Yuh April 8, 2021 (12:59 pm)

    Paul was a loyal and dedicated volunteer for us at the West Seattle Food Bank.  He was one of the “bad boys” of our van food rescue program for years.  After retiring from the van, he joined our off site distribution team that sets up a food service in locations where folks are homebound and unable to come to the food bank.  He had soft spot in his heart for the less fortunate people in our community and was always willing to help us in fulfilling our mission.  He was always sharing a story or a joke (regardless if you wanted to hear it or not!) and was always warm and friendly to everyone he encountered.  The West Seattle Food Bank will miss Paul greatly.  Rest in peace. 

  • Timothy Noel April 21, 2021 (12:46 pm)

    I met Paul in 1989 at a railfan’s Friday night get together at Connie’s, in Berwyn,  IL. We hit it off immediately.  Paul had his own business at the time called “All Container “. He bought and sold  shipping containers,  and I remember many a night tromping through Chicago freight yards, looking for legendary “good containers.”  We would grab a bite wherever we could. There was the Steak and Egger, a wonderful Mexican grill in Summit that served Burritos as big as your head!! There were the evenings we’d meet “on the platform” at Harlem Ave, right across from my apartment.  And of course, the meals at Connie’s.  We were definitely “foodies”!!!!  I worked at Amtrak’s Chicago Reservation Office at that time. After knowing me for about a year, Paul asked me to help him apply to the RSO (as it was known). Well, that’s where Paul began his career with Amtrak. In 1995, Paul left the RSO to become a Conductor with the company.  In 1996, he transferred to Seattle. We kept in touch through phone calls and the wonderful “Paul Packages” which he’d send me. By this time, I’d gone to On Board Services as a Train Attendant.  When I would be in Portland, OR, Paul and I managed to hook up. By 2006, I was working on the California Zephyr. I had enough seniority to hold it regularly and had inherited the house I grew up in. But Paul would call occasionally and we’d chat for hours. On the visits to his the family farm, we’d meet for a day in Crawfordsville, IN.  In 2019, I took a medical leave of absence from Amtrak. Paul gave me a wonderful surprise during my time off – he paid for a round trip to Alaska on the Alaska Marine Highway!! When I got back, he met me on the train and he rode with me to Portland. Where we changed to the Empire Builder and rode with me to Spokane. That year he made his annual trip to the farm. But we were unable to get together  because he had cataract surgery.  Next year’s (2020) trip was kaput because of the pandemic.  But we would talk on the phone. Paul’s last call to me was on March 16. I was on the road and it was (and still is) in my mailbox. To my friend, I’ll miss you. To his family,  my deepest condolences.  Take care, Paul.

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