You are the owner of this article.
Family of La Crosse man who died after fight in parking lot starts Go Fund Me for memorial

Family of La Crosse man who died after fight in parking lot starts Go Fund Me for memorial

Russell Paulson

Russell Paulson leans against a tree in this family photo. Paulson died as a result of injuries he sustained in a May 1 incident at the La Crosse Menards parking lot.

The family of a La Crosse man killed outside the La Crosse Menards started an online fundraising campaign Thursday to raise money for a memorial in his honor at one of his favorite places to watch birds.

Russell W. Paulson, 79, died Monday after a May 1 altercation with Matthew L. Kinstler, 50, also of La Crosse, that police say started when Kinstler was upset by Paulson’s parking job.

Paulson’s family aims to raise $5,000 to place a bench for their father and grandfather, who had a passion for wildlife, especially bird-watching. Any additional funds will be donated to the Mississippi Valley Conservancy to aid its mission to preserve the wildlife habitats in the Driftless Region.

Paulson’s obituary, published on the Coulee Region Cremation Group website, describes him as a caring person, who went out of his way to help others.

“He was a great bird watcher. He cultivated an interest in birds in his grandson at an early age. Nothing made him happier than going birding with his son and grandson,” according to the obituary.

Paulson also had a passion for traveling and photographing covered bridges.

He was survived by his wife, Connie Paulson; his son, Lance Paulson; and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Dian Bauer, a friend of the couple who often traveled with them to the hometown she shared with Connie Paulson, described Paulson as “the perfect husband.”

“He was so full of life,” Bauer said. “I can’t say enough wonderful things about Russell.”

To donate to Paulson’s memorial, visit

Paulson was also fighting cancer at the time of his death.

Matthew Kinstler mug

Matthew Kinstler

According to the La Crosse Police Department, initial investigation showed that Kinstler became upset with Paulson because he thought Paulson had parked too closely to his vehicle in the Menards lot at 223 Lang Drive. The two got into a verbal argument, which escalated into a physical altercation in which Paulson was injured.

Paulson died Monday morning at Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse as a result of his injuries.

Kinstler was arrested Tuesday on a charge of first-degree reckless homicide. He is being held on a $100,000 cash bond in the La Crosse County Jail. Kinstler is scheduled to be back in La Crosse County Circuit Court at 1:30 p.m. Monday to be formally charged.

Jourdan Vian can be reached at or follow her on Twitter at @Jourdan_LCT.


Sign up for our Crime & Courts newsletter

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News