Moorhead residents fly flags at half staff in honor of a neighbor's passing

A south Moorhead neighborhood is honoring a much loved World War II veteran and homeowner there.

MOORHEAD — 93-year-old Paul Eidbo had long been a character in Moorhead. He was passionate about his politics, his neighbors and the American flag.

Tucked in between Concordia College and Minnesota State University Moorhead, there's something about the cozy, 10th Street neighborhood. Everyone WDAY News talked to said Paul Eidbo is the glue behind this stretch of Americana.

A few years ago, Eidbo returned from a WDAY Honor flight to Washington DC. He came back to Moorhead and urged his neighbors one by one to put up an American flag.

"He came over and his message to me was, 'I have a job for you, we need a committee, and I think you should be on it, (...)We need to put up flag poles in the neighborhood,'" explained neighbor Chuck Kehler, who grew up in Canada.

Eidbo and a flag brigade would often to the labor for the neighbors and soon a half dozen flags lined 10th Street, then a dozen. On Wednesday, July 14, 15 flags were out.


"At first, it took my breath away, because I am very patriotic," said neighbor Karen Pitsenbarger, who has a flag in her yard as well.

"He put mine in," said Kehler. "He didn't say, 'they are 90 bucks.' He said, 'we are putting a flag in your yard, and that was the end of it.'"

"I can't tell you how many people - I went up and down the street to let them know he had passed away, Friday, and their comment was, 'he was the first one that came and welcomed me to the neighborhood.'" said Pitsenbarger.

As the news of his death trickled through the neighborhood, the neighbors all walked out and lowered their flags to half-staff.

"Somebody told me once you aren't supposed to just make up your own mind to lower a flag," Pitsenbarger said. "Well, he deserved it."

Paul was a World War II Navy veteran. As his family arrived to plan his Friday, July 15, funeral, there was joy and pride in knowing their father touched a lot of lives.

"He loved people, he loved everybody," said Paul Eibo's son Eric Eibo. "(He) never met a stranger, kinda like Wil Rogers."

Eidbo was a longtime leader with Clay County Republicans, and spent years helping refugees and the poor. While he and his neighbors maybe didn't vote the same, they loved and cared for each other. Nothing says that more than the tree-lined stretch of waving flags flying at half staff.


Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

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