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Paul M. Brandhagen

1976 - 2024

Thinker, Carver, Musician, Friend. Most of all, Paul was a dog dad.

Long before he was a dog dad, Paul Brandhagen was elected ASB President for his senior year and was valedictorian, graduating #1 in a class of almost 300 (A.C. Davis, Yakima, Wash.). He achieved district, state, and national recognition for academic achievement. Paul was honored with a National Foreign Language Award, letter of commendation from the National Merit Scholarship program, named in National Who’s Who, and named a Tandy Technology Scholar (top 2% of graduates). Not one to miss what he thought to be an essential experience, Paul requested to be deemed a disruptive influence and was sent to the principal’s office. His reprimand was lighthearted, commensurate with the level of his disruption. Paul chose to attend the University of Washington where he considered math, chemistry, and engineering, but he ultimately majored in Music (Jazz Studies), made lasting friendships, and met his wife.

Music was Paul’s true passion. He took drum lessons with the late Garey Williams. He was a member of UW Husky Marching Band, Seattle Cascades Drum and Bugle Corps, UW Studio Jazz ensemble and combos, various theater pit orchestras in high school and college, and an original member of Seahawks Blue Thunder Drumline. Through his affiliations, Paul performed at college bowl games, March Madness basketball games, and UW women’s volleyball games; and he performed at events in Detroit, Michigan ahead of Super Bowl XL. Paul toured across the US with Seattle Cascades. He toured Fiji, Australia, and New Zealand with Husky Marching Band. Paul was especially proud of his award for musicianship from Husky Marching Band.

Paul studied Jazz, Taiko, and West African drumming. He heard – and felt – rich, immersive layers of sound inside Village Vanguard, Club Dizzy, and the Rose Theater. Paul wrote and arranged drumline charts. He set aside time to practice daily. Practicing was never labor for Paul; he made it fun. Paul particularly enjoyed big band jazz and tunes with a strong groove, great hook, and the challenge of a time signature that wasn’t in four. He was inspired by rhythm and could source it anywhere: the subway, birdcalls, spoken word, his dogs lapping water… Music was meaningful and multidimensional.

In his professional life, Paul was a data analyst. Paul was recognized for contributions at Washington Mutual and Intellectual Ventures (IV). At IV, Paul tried to rise to every challenge – including once, just for fun, encoding a note and leaving it near the WWII T-52 cipher machine. Among his notable achievements, Paul proudly displayed his IV-earned dinosaurs, a Presidential Award (2011), and an Impact Award (2021).

Paul had multiple, diverse interests – too numerous to share. He studied knife sharpening and spent hours engrossed in woodcarving. He was interested in trains, and he knew specs of almost any model of automobile. Paul was self-motivated and well-read. He could not resist a bookstore, getting lost in Powell’s, the Strand, and technical bookstores wherever he could find them. He had an insatiable curiosity. His curiosity was about seeking and making connections. Paul was a self-starter who kept himself sharp. He was challenged by change, but Paul was always willing to ask, “What if?”

Paul contemplated the Statue of Liberty from her pedestal. He met Rosa Parks.  He explored the tunnels of Hoover Dam. Paul let himself be enveloped by large scale Jackson Pollock paintings. He attended lectures by Northwest Coast indigenous artists. He visited Expo ‘86, walked his dogs in Stanley Park, and experienced the 2010 Winter Olympics in Whistler, BC (attending 4-man bobsled races). His experiences also included road trips with family and friends, standing in multiple time zones at once, joining a scooter gang in Honolulu, graffiti hunting throughout Montreal, travelling by train to Quebec City, encountering culturally modified trees in Alert Bay, and never wanting to leave a Pacific Coast vacation.

Paul once owned a ferret, met a koala, and bottle-fed a black bear cub; he was also sneezed on by a yak on the Olympic Peninsula and watched buffalo use a crosswalk on Antelope Island. He spied belted kingfishers on his honeymoon, heard his dog (Ellis) converse with a Great Horned Owl in his backyard, and saw the glory of bald eagles throughout the West. Paul insisted he once saw a moose cross I-90 from North to South in the Western Cascade foothills. When the local news reported a verified moose sighting in Mt Rainier National Park the following week, Paul was delighted to have both his claim  substantiated and an age-old question answered at the same time. (Why did the moose cross the road?)

Paul experienced natural wonders, too. He witnessed the Northern Lights, ash falling from Mt Saint Helens in Yakima, the Milky Way from the shores of Kennedy Lake, BC, comet Neowise with his Leos at his feet, shooting stars on family camping trips, a solar eclipse with his wife and IV friends, and the wonders of Western US and Canadian National Parks with his family. He left adventures unrealized, but he did not have regrets.

Most of all, Paul was a proud dog dad. Paul lived for the love of animals. It was unusual for an animal not to love Paul - not just because he always had a pocket full of dog treats. Paul let dogs be dogs. Leonbergers Lucy & Ellis and Dizzy & Pippi held his heart and soul. They brought him the joy and happiness he sought. Their songs, greetings, hugs, and super-snuggles rescued him when he had hard days. His greatest joy was a lineup of Leos waiting for a turn on his lap. In Dizzy and Pippi, he had lap-Leos every day for more than four years. Being separated from them was agonizing for him. Being separated from him is devastating for us.

Paul had a giant heart, and he shared it. He was an introvert who loved all of his family and friends. Quick-witted, Paul easily turned a phrase and dispensed puns good and bad. He loved to laugh and was constantly seeking happiness. Paul was kind, caring, well-liked, generous, helpful – making his loss more difficult. There are tales untold, but Paul lived.

After a progressively difficult seven months, Paul (48) experienced a complication related to his metastatic cancer. Paul joins his dad Gordon, mom Judy, stepdad Jerry, beloved cousin Julie, father-in-law Keith, and, if there is a bridge, Lucy and Ellis are most certainly waiting on the other side. The list of people who loved and will miss Paul is long. It starts with his wife and best friend of 27 years, Lise; his loving dogs, Dizzy & Pippi; brother Eric (Tina); bonus mom Janet; brother-in-law Keith (Erin); mother-in-law Flavia; and much-loved nieces, nephews, and extended family.

At Paul’s request, there will not be a service. Above all, Paul believed in improving the quality of life for others. To continue donations in this spirit, he was a longtime supporter of Northwest Harvest (, World Central Kitchen (, and World Vision (

If you would like to help provide short-term financial security for Lise, Dizzy and Pippi during this time of uncertainty and readjustment, consider


Sounds like an awesome person. Wish I could have met him. So sorry that he is going ne

Terri Foxx-Wishert

Although I didn't know Paul well, I felt his kindness, humor, and genuine love for Lise. He will be missed, but never forgotten.

Karen Beisner

What a beautiful memorial! Just know that we are holding you up in prayer and available if you need to talk.
Big Hugs!

Ann Sweet


Gina Rae

I’m so glad I was able to meet Paul. I knew when I met him he was a sweetheart a good man with a good heart. He will be missed terribly by so many. I know his family cherished him. My heart is with you all.

Cindy Carris

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