The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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June 16, 2000 Issue
Local News

Clintonville couple celebrates 70th anniversary

Praying together is important in their relationship

By Susan Gloss
Compass Intern

This month, while an estimated 230,000 American couples are walking down the aisle to begin their lives together, Joe and Emma Paul of Clintonville are looking back on and celebrating 70 years of marriage.

It all began in Norway, Mich. Emma had just graduated from high school. Before leaving for business college in Milwaukee, she went out for what she thought would be her last ice cream cone with one of her girlfriends. As it turned out, that friend introduced her to Joe Paul and his cousin, who invited the girls to a dance.

While at first she felt like a "third party," she and Joe soon decided that they had a special connection, which they continued with letters between Milwaukee, where Emma studied, and Norway, where Joe worked as a mechanic. They were married on June 14, 1930, in St. Mary Church, Norway.

The Pauls moved to Wisconsin during the Depression and raised their two children, Rodney and Maxine. They have long been active at St. Rose Parish and in the Clintonville community, where they volunteer for several causes.

Their philosophy as volunteers is simple: When they see a need, they respond. For example, when they noticed that friends and neighbors were paying high prices for blood pressure testing, they asked the Red Cross about training volunteers and starting a clinic at the Senior Center. Now the senior citizens group runs a monthly clinic. Patients pay what they can to have their blood pressure tested and proceeds are used for improvements within the center.

The Pauls started and served as officers in the Clintonville chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons and are charter members of the Historical Society and the Garden Club of Wisconsin.

Joe has been a member of the Moose Lodge since 1956, and has chaired the craft bazaar at St. Rose. Emma has served as president of the Altar Society and sung in the choir.

"They're very involved ... always there to give input on what more can be done and to lend support. You can depend upon them," says Msgr. Mark Schommer, pastor of St. Rose Parish, of Joe and Emma Paul.

The key to their life together, they say, has been common interests and shared faith.

"We both enjoy the outdoors, fishing, gardening - we've been able to do those things together," Joe says. "And we always go to Mass together."

"Marriage isn't something to be done on the spur of the moment," agrees Emma. "You have to realize that you're compatible."

As for getting through the conflicts of married life, Emma says "praying together" has been one of the most important aspects of their relationship, along with commitment.

"We were married right around the Depression," says Joe. "We never expected things to be perfect, and were happy with what we had."

They say that what they have has been a full and blessed life together. As the parents of two, grandparents of four, and great-grandparents of seven, Emma says their family is the "most wonderful family we could have. They are so good to us."

When asked about advice for newlywed couples, Emma recalls what her mother told her 70 years ago: "Never go to bed angry at each other, and always end the day with a kiss good-night. It is so important not to dwell on anger and to start fresh the next day."

The Pauls and their family will be celebrate their anniversary June 25 with a family brunch and Mass at St. Rose.

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