In Memory of Paul Alan DeBriyn

Paul Alan DeBriyn, age 65, of Estero, FL and formerly Houlton, WI, was called to Heaven unexpectedly on February 15, 2021.

Paul was born on March 24, 1955 in Thief River Falls, MN to Lester and Gladys (Westman) DeBriyn. After graduating from high school in Thief River Falls, he attended the University of Minnesota and graduated with an agribusiness degree. While attending a fraternity and sorority party on campus, he met his future wife, Lori Anderson. The two married on November 18, 1978 in North St. Paul, MN and were blessed with four daughters: Kristi, Kelsey, Kayla, and Karolyne.

Paul was an accomplished businessman, proudly serving as CEO & President of AgStar Financial Services (now Compeer Financial Services) for over 26 years. He was a true leader and mentor to everyone he worked with. He had the honor of serving on a variety of boards and councils including: Minnesota AgriGrowth Council, Farmer Mac, St. Anne Pastoral Council, Farmhouse Fraternity, and Cornell University. He also was awarded the Siehl Prize for Excellence in Agriculture from the University of Minnesota for his extraordinary contributions to the agribusiness industry throughout his career. He frequently guest lectured at various university classes to advise and inspire students pursuing agribusiness careers.

In his free time, Paul enjoyed being outdoors, whether that was deer and pheasant hunting, fishing, or playing a round of golf. His love of the outdoors was found in his appreciation of Terry Redlin paintings and in his collection of antique duck decoys. Often, when he was “duck hunting,” he was out at the local thrift and antiques shops looking for more ducks to add to his collection. He was also fond of classic cars since his father worked in the auto industry, and he had a longtime dream of owning a red Corvette. He cherished the time he spent at the family’s home in Estero, FL, always taking time to appreciate the sunset each evening. He will be remembered for his devotion and love for his family, his sense of humor, and being “a man of threes.”

He is survived by his wife, Lori; daughters: Kristi (fiancé, Gennadiy), Kelsey (Justin), Kayla (Michael), and Karolyne; siblings, Gary (Randi) DeBriyn and Nancy Larsen; and many nieces, nephews, relatives, colleagues, and friends. He is preceded in death by his parents; brother, Ronald; and brother-in-law, Robert Larsen.

Private family services will be held on February 20, 2021. Memorials are preferred to St. Anne Catholic Church in Somerset, WI.

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Paul Alan's Tribute Wall

Tributes (19):

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    • I was saddened and shocked to hear of Paul’s passing. My deepest sympathies to you, Lori, and your family. I first knew Paul from our days as students on St. Paul Campus at the U of M. Prior to his retirement it was a pleasure having him stop by to see me at the State Capitol in Madison to discuss issues relating to agriculture and farm credit and of course catching up on our personal lives. You all are in my thoughts and prayers!
      May God hold you close and comfort you in your time of sorrow.
      Sheila

    • My thoughts and prayers are with the DeBriyn family. Paul was an amazing leader, with such vision and passion. Working for a company who not only valued the clients and stockholders but to also value the team member and their family at the level he did is a blessing. God bless.

    • We are saddened by the death of Paul, your dear husband and dad. We are praying for you, Lori, Kristi, Kelsey, Kayla, Karolyne and family. May the love of God give you peace and strength. You are all very dear to us.
      Love & prayers, Scott & Sharon Kron

    • On behalf of the Columbia Business School EMBA Class of 2019, sending our deepest condolences to Lori, Kristi, Kelsey, Kayla, Karolyne & the extended DeBriyn family.
      Paul’s sage advice was often shared in the classroom by Kristi & we relished in the stories of his achievements that she shared, taking many a moment to think how those learnings could be applied to our own situations.
      We are truly sorry to hear of his early passing & will continue to remember him when Kristi tells us, Go. Fight. Win., when we are approaching an important career & life moment.
      – Columbia Business School EMBA Class of 2019

    • Lori and family,
      We were so sad to hear the news of Paul’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this very difficult time. We feel blessed to have known you both since our college days and then having our girls at Hill-Murray together. It was nice to spend some time catching up with Paul at the new Farmhouse dedication. May the wonderful memories you have of your life together, bring you peace!
      Steve and Janet Miller

    • My sincere condolences to Lori and family. Paul was such a kind man. I always enjoyed seeing him around the community in West Bay Club. We would talk about business, what was happening in the world and always fishing. He loved his family and would always smile when he talked about his daughters. I will miss him.

    • Our thoughts and prayers are with the DeBriyn family. Paul was a visionary and truly made a difference in agriculture and Rural America. He had a lasting impact on the people that he worked with. Paul was a wonderful teacher and mentor to many. May he rest in Eternal Peace.

    • Lori,

      Our prayers are with you and your family. May God give you all comfort and peace as you grieve.

      Mike and Lynne

    • Lori and family,
      Our sincerest condolences on the passing of Paul. While I did not know him well, he was always open and honest about things to better our home at West Bay when I was on the BOD. He truly had a keen business sense and a love for his family. May the many wonderful memories shared with you Lori, and your girls, bring you some comfort during this incredibly sad time. Many blessings over the family.

      Jeff and Nancy Stamps
      Jasmine Bay South

    • My condolences to the family. Paul DeBriyn always had my utmost respect. As a journalist, I appreciated Paul’s insight into the farm economy. As a fellow Agri-Growth board member, I’ll remember Paul’s vision for Minnesota agriculture and his ability to see the ‘big picture.’
      Paul was a class act–a true gentleman. I always enjoyed our conversations. Again, my sympathies go out to Paul’s family and friends.

      Don Wick
      President
      Red River Farm Network

    • Our sincere condolences Lori and family. Paul had an unique ability to inspire, rally and motivate team members to work towards a mission to help rural America like none other. I had the privilege to know and proud to work with him from the beginning of his career at AgStar, throughout the many mergers, to his retirement. As others mentioned, He knew that to remain relevant and be successful that you needed to continuously work towards change to improve and pave the way. He lead the team towards much success and rewarded us all with many opportunities and experiences we wouldn’t otherwise of had. It was apparent His family was the most precious part of his life as he would frequently mention his personal life’s teachable moments with us in his letters to the team. May all of your good memories with him help you through this difficult time. God’s blessings for comfort.

    • Paul was one of the best leaders a company could ask for. He knew that to remain relevant and be successful that you needed to continuously improve. He inspired his team through his mantra that “happy team members lead to happy clients and happy stockholders”. Paul lived this philosophy by treating his team very well.

      I had the good fortune to know Paul for 30+ years. His family was the most precious part of his life. I will always remember the stories he shared of taking his daughters to their first year of college. My sincere condolences are sent to Lori and family.

    • I send my sincere condolences to the DeBriyn family. It was always easy to see how much you all meant to him in the stories that he enjoyed telling. I remember meeting him for the first time as a new employee to AgStar many years ago. I sat with him during one of the speakers during the summer conference. We had such a nice conversation about family and I’ll never forget it. He was always a visionary and treated everyone well, no matter what your status was in the company. He made all of us feel cared for and appreciated. Thinking of you often and sending prayers to each of you during this difficult time.

    • So sorry to hear of the unexpected passing of Paul. As a leader, Paul was one of the most visionary minds I have ever known, yet he took the time to make sure every team member felt important. Certainly set a great example to follow. So grateful for all of Paul’s talents and contributions to agriculture. He will be missed.

    • We are heart broken with the news of Paul’s passing. As CEO of a large company and my being an employee, Paul had time for everyone. When he spoke with you he made you feel important to him.
      May your precious memories bring you peace and comfort. Rest in peace Paul, you will be missed.

    • Lori and daughters,
      We were shocked to hear the news of Paul’s passing. Know that you are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time and in the days ahead. He will be missed and fondly remembered by many. Hugs.
      Jean and Steve Johnson

    • We have lost one of the most dynamic and innovative leaders in Rural America and the Farm Credit System. His endless desire to provide new and better solutions to farmers, cooperatives, and rural infrastructure benefited many.

      As the former CEO of AgriBank I had the opportunity to work with him often. His passion for providing new and better ideas was always evident and contagious.

      My condolences to his wonderful family and former colleagues and staff. God bless and may he Rest In Peace.

    • So sorry to hear about this . I served on the Agstar Board of Directors with Paul as CEO for 10 years. Paul always valued the contributions of team members and would find innovative ways to reward them. However when he talked about Lori and his girls his passion really came to life. He will always have a special place in my heart. God Bless. Steve Johnson

    • On behalf of the members, alumni and Housemother of Minnesota FarmHouse Fraternity, I extend our heartfelt condolences and prayers to the Paul DeBriyn family. Paul was a great friend of Minnesota Farmhouse Fraternity and the University of Minnesota. He will be missed by all who knew him.

      May he rest in Eternal Peace.