Paul Edward Hartsel
1946 - 2020
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Paul Edward

July 4, 1946

September 10, 2020

Paul Edward Hartsel, 74, of Vinton, Virginia, passed away on Thursday, September 10, 2020.

He was born in Roanoke, Va., on July 4, 1946, to Frank and Mary Elizabeth Hartsel. Paul grew up in Vinton and attended William Byrd High School where he was a star athlete in football, basketball and track. After high school, Paul continued his football career at Fort Scott Community College in Kansas.

After two years at Fort Scott, he finished his college football career as a defensive end with the University of Miami Hurricanes. During his football career Paul received many accolades and awards, including induction into the Fort Scott Community College Hall of Fame in 2005, and the NJCAA Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2009. He remained life-long friends with many of his Fort Scott teammates. The "Miami U" was celebrated proudly by his children and grandchildren in his honor.

Paul was also a naturally talented and passionate golfer, spending many days on the links with great friends. He mastered many courses, and often shared that "Time spent golfing is not deducted from one's lifespan."

Paul received a Bachelors in Education degree from the University of Miami and returned to Roanoke to be a Physical Education Teacher for Roanoke County Public Schools for 33 years. He educated and inspired thousands of children with his warm smile, high expectations, and calming encouragement. Everywhere Paul went he was recognized by a former student sharing stories of "Mr. Hartsel" as their favorite teacher and his influence on their life. Paul was equally loved by his many colleagues and life-long friends within Roanoke County Public Schools. During his career, Paul taught at Roland E. Cook Elementary, Cave Spring Elementary, Clearbrook Elementary, Back Creek Elementary, and W.E Cundiff Elementary.

Paul is survived by his wife of 34 years, Bonnie Hartsel. Upon their first meeting, arranged by close friend, Dan Hudson, they were smitten with each other. Their love and devotion to each other was admired and envied by all their family and friends. A true love story, and a marriage made in Heaven.

Paul is also survived by his brother, Cliff Hartsel; daughters, Karen Williams and Kim Poff; stepchildren, Linda Hodges, David Short, and Cathy Watson; 10 adoring grandchildren; and numerous other family members and life-long friends and neighbors.

Paul was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Bob, Norman, and Donnie Hartsel; and son, Mark Hartsel.

A Celebration of Paul's Life will be held at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, September 15, 2020, at Grace Family Church, 2021 Hardy Road, Vinton, VA 24179, with Pastor Rodger Hogan officiating. Interment will follow at Mountain View Cemetery, Vinton, Va. His family will receive friends on Tuesday from 12 noon until 1:30 p.m. at Grace Family Church. Masks and social distancing will be required.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Paul's memory may be made to Midland Baptist Church, 460 Dale Avenue, Vinton, VA 24179, or to Grace Family Church, 2021 Hardy Road, Vinton, VA 24179. The family encourages people to go online and share memories of Paul and condolences at

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Roanoke Times from Sep. 12 to Sep. 13, 2020.
Calling hours
12:00 - 01:30 PM
Celebration of Life
02:00 PM
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11 entries
September 15, 2020
Paul, Mr. Hartsel, was my PE teacher at W.E. Cundiff. I honestly cannot remember the name of another PE teacher throughout school, but Mr. Hartsel was a stand out teacher that I still remember fondly today (a kind person who made PE fun for so many kids).
April McGhee
September 15, 2020
May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief.
Stephen Huffman
September 15, 2020
Great friend, an honor to know him.
Mike Wunderlly
September 14, 2020
Paul’s easy going ways and love for children meant a great deal to all who were lucky enough to have been in his PE classes. Paul had many friends and was loved by all who worked with him at WE Cundiff. Many thanks for his years of service to Vinton’s children. I’m so very sorry I will not be able to attend his service. You’ll be missed, Paul.
Jackie Glover
September 13, 2020
Another Greyhound gone too soon... entirely too soon. We hadn't seen Paul since 1995, when he came to visit us one day while he was making his "rounds" in Oklahoma, but there is no way we could ever forget this special, special person and Bill's former Greyhound roommate. What great times they had together! Bonnie and family, we are so very sorry for your loss, and we send our deepest condolences. Paul will live in our hearts forever.
Barbara and Bill Belger
September 12, 2020
I always did love Mr. Hartsel he was my gym teacher at Roland E. Cook when I saw him outside of school hours ge would always well meme with a smile.
Harry Overstreet
September 12, 2020
Mr. Hartsel was the nicest guy. Fond memories of him when I went to Roland E. Cook. I remember this group of boys making fun of a rather tall girl in our class at gym and he didn't let it slide. Straightened them out right quick. Just a great guy. R.I.P. Mr. Hartsel.
September 12, 2020
Bonnie and family, We are at a loss for words to describe how sorry we are to hear of Paul's passing. We have so many fond memories of him.....such a soft spoken, southern drawl speaking giant-teddy bear of a man who gave the biggest and best hugs. On his many return trips to Kansas to reconnect with his Fort Scott Greyhound teammates and to receive many well deserved achievements awards, he was the glue that held them together. My the stories they would tell of their young football adventures in a small Kansas town....Paul always smiling, always humble about his athletic talents. After reconnecting with his “greyhounds” he and Bonne traveled back to Kansas several times..we enjoyed a few special trips with the “Greyhound bunch” had some special trips to an OK Pow Wow and Savannah, GA where we all stayed in a beach house,, did sight-seeing.etc. Paul always the life of the party. Those memories remain precious in our heart and only wish we had another place and time to share with he and Bonnie. Rest in Peace ole you Coach Mahanes, Buddy, Stu, Bucky, Bill and Dave have found a football field and playing a Heavenly game.

Your Kansas friends,

Dave and Billie Strunk
David Strunk
September 12, 2020
May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief.
Darlene Allie
September 12, 2020
Correct email
Barry carter
September 12, 2020
Paul was a likable person I will miss him prayers for family
Barry Carter
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