CATHOLIC HERALD STAFF
What made you decide to go into masonry?
I was born on a farm, and I did outside work all my life; so it more or less led me to the construction field. I didn’t like farming. My father passed away at a young age; so I would have had to take over at probably age 17, and that wasn’t in me at that time.
What brought you joy in that work?
Looking at a complete product when it was done. We built a new house here in a subdivision in Mount Calvary, and it’s all brick. I put on about 50 percent of it by myself and had some of my guys help me. I had pride in the work. And after 42 years, I still got all my limbs; so I’m lucky.
How long have you been helping to take care of the cemetery at Holy Cross?
I’d say 10 to 12 years. One person asked me to start cutting; they needed help and I’m not one to turn it down, and it was some extra cash. The cemetery was pretty rough going at the time — a lot of the vaults years ago were just wood; so they started collapsing. There were holes up there from that; so I filled them in.
You also did work on the monument.
That monument, grass was growing out of the top of it; so I cut it all out and redid it. The stones were all cracking on the bottom; so I cut all the masonry joints out and redid them, and it’s lasted for six or seven years.
There are 1,300 people from your parish buried there — many generations of Catholics. Do you ever think about them while you’re working?
When you see a name, yes, of course — my parents are buried there, and my grandparents and also my wife’s parents. And sometimes I walk up the hill there and I say a prayer for the whole cemetery.
What’s your favorite movie or TV show?
Star Trek. I’ve been watching the original one with William Shatner if it’s on TV. In the 1960s, who the heck ever thought we were going to go to the moon? And now we’re going all over the place.
Who gives you the best advice?
My wife gives me good advice. There’s an old saying — happy wife, happy life.
Are you a night owl or an early riser?
Being in construction, I’m an early riser. We’re up at 5:30, 6 a.m.
What’s your favorite thing about being a grandpa?
They range from age 20 to 30; so they are almost all adults. As they were growing up, my wife and I spent a lot of time watching and enjoying their sporting events from kindergarten through high school. Three of the four are done with college and all very busy with their jobs; so we don’t see them as much as we would like to, but we still try to get together for family gatherings.
What are you most looking forward to this summer?
I’m looking forward to a nice quiet summer, playing some golf and doing whatever comes up. Being retired lets me do that.
If you had to live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?
We winter a few months in Florida — but would never want to live there — just content living in our little village of Mount Calvary.