It is with great sadness that we share the unexpected death of Paul Mathias Christensen Knudstrup who
died on September 1, 2021. Paul was born in Lansing, Michigan on October 10, 1946, and grew up in
Mason, Michigan. Paul was active in the boy scouts and earned his Eagle Scout ranking in high school.
Paul graduated from Mason High School. Paul served in the US Navy. Paul’s academic background
included bachelor’s and master’s degrees and doctoral work at Western Michigan University. Paul died
before he was able to accomplish his long list of dreams and missions. Paul was a man of high
expectations. Paul was looking forward to more sunrises and sunsets, especially in northern Michigan.
Paul’s work at WMU from 1970 - 1991 brought him many opportunities and challenges. Paul first
worked in the University Libraries System where he met and married his soulmate and love of his life,
Sue Shirkey Knudstrup. Paul worked with interesting people and developed many friendships while at
WMU. After leaving the library system Paul worked in the WMU Development Office where he was part
of the effort to raise money for the first Capital Campaign to build the Fetzer Center. Paul served as the
first Executive Director of Fetzer Center’s. His work there brought Paul to discover his true calling
working as a management consultant. Paul left WMU to form his company, Midwest Consulting Group.
Through his nationwide work with MCG Paul mentored hundreds of individuals and groups in
management and leadership. In 2010 Paul wrote his book, The 8 Essential Skills for Managers and
Supervisor, focused to provide individuals, businesses and nonprofit organizations a guide to working
together for more positive outcomes. Paul loved working with non-profit organizations. Kalamazoo
Public Libraries’ OnePlace held a special place in his heart assisting new leaders in Kalamazoo area
Paul also took time to give back serving on several nonprofit groups/boards: St. Paul’s Methodist
Church; Pretty Lake Adventure Center; the Strategic Management for Advanced Research & Training
Technology; WMUK’s Advisory Board; Van Buren Youth Camp; Lawton DDA; Lawton Village Council, and
most recently as Lawton Village Council President. Paul relished his roles as teacher, writer, mentor,
volunteer and friend to many and learned much from his experiences.
Paul enjoyed photography, woodworking, Prairie School architecture, music, working in his yard,
University of Michigan sports, his family and traveling.
Paul was preceded in death by his parents, Harold and Margaret Calhoun Knudstrup; Sue’s parents, Don
and Martha Henry Shirkey; his sister, Karen Knudstrup and wife, Diana Haskell; his brother-in-law,
Edward A. Shirkey; and his son-in-law, Mark Gawronski; as well as his dogs, Katie, Holly, Cari and Lucy.
Paul leaves many loved ones to remember and cherish the times they shared together; his wife, Susan
M. Shirkey Knudstrup; daughter, Kiersten M. Knudstrup Gawronski; grandson (Kiersten’s son) Oliver S.
Chapman; sister, Kristine (Dale); brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Robert H. and Linda Coleman Shirkey;
nephew, Zachary (Erin) Shirkey; niece, Kezia Shirkey Zakem (Jeffrey), great nephew, Coleman, great
niece, Aaliah; sister-in-law, Karen Willis; nephew, John (Miriam) Willis, and great nieces, Xochitl and Itzel
Willis; and his chocolate lab, Piper. Paul also leaves many cousins and many friends.
A Celebration of Life will take place at Van Buren Youth Camp, 12370 45th Street, Bloomingdale,
Michigan, 49026 on October 10th, 2021, at 2:00 pm. Casual attire. If you are unvaccinated, please wear
a mask. Vaccinated people are welcome to wear a mask or not.
Donations in Paul’s name may be made to Van Buren Youth Camp to fund a camper scholarship, or to
your favorite environmental or animal protection organization.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Paul Mathias Knudstrup, please visit our floral store.