CATHOLIC HERALD STAFF
You’re a Marquette graduate, but it took you a little while to finish up the degree — can you tell us that story?
When I graduated from high school in 1949, I moved to Milwaukee because I wanted to go to Marquette. I flunked out because I had no money and was working a full-time job. But I went back and in 1961, I got my degree from Marquette in engineering. I missed the graduation because our fifth child was born that day.
And you spent your career as the city engineer for Wauwatosa?
Well, the title was the assistant city engineer because a year before I got that position, we had moved out and built a home in Menomonee Falls. The city engineer position required residency, so they changed the title to assistant city engineer.
Do you get back home to Sturgeon Bay often?
Not very much anymore, but I still consider it my original hometown. I just turned 89 and I’m not that crazy about driving. But my father’s family has had ties to Door County since the 1850s. My dad, in 1924, built a cottage on Lake Michigan, and years later when my nine brothers and sisters decided it was time to give up the cottage, Marge and I were fortunate enough that we could buy them out, so we had a cottage there for a couple of years. Later, we tore the cottage down and we built ourselves a home there and we lived up there for maybe 20-some years or so, and every Sunday we went into Sturgeon Bay to go to Mass at St. Joseph. A little over a year ago, we were staying at Fox Hills and went into Sturgeon Bay for Mass at St. Joseph, and it just so happened that my grandson Donovan was having his child baptized at that Mass, in the same church I was baptized in back in 1931. I’m sure that as he gets to be older, his parents will tell him that story.
You love being an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion — how did you get started in that role?
Well, it was in 1970, and we had just had a new baby, so I went over to St. Mary’s to ask Msgr. Carl Eschweiler if he would come to the house to baptize her. He said, “I’ll be glad to do that, but I have a favor to ask of you — I’d like you to be an Extraordinary Minister of Communion.” I had never heard of an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion before then. I said, “I’m not worthy of that.” He said, “I’m not either.” That was 50 years ago this summer.
What do you love about being an EMHC?
I just love it when people come up with their children, and you get these 7- or 8-year-old kids who are just starting to receive Communion. The smiles on their faces — it’s really wonderful.