Paul H. Hermsen entered his heavenly home on Thursday October 24, 2019 surrounded by his wife and family. With his strong belief in God and the love and devotion of his family, Paul waged a 4-month battle against complications from bladder cancer.
Paul was born August 16, 1927, the 9th of 10 children born to George and Anna (Gloudemans) Hermsen in Little Chute, WI. He married Alice Vanden Heuvel at St. John’s Church in Little Chute on July 25, 1950. Alice tragically passed away in February 1963, leaving Paul with 3 young children. Paul then met Lois Brown (Bayorgeon) and they married on May 4, 1964. Lois had 2 children of her own, and together they had 2 additional children. Paul affectionately quoted the 1960s movie title, “Yours, Mine and Ours” when referring to his blended family. Paul was a wonderful father who raised all of the children as his own and was especially proud of his grandchildren.
Paul’s entrepreneurial spirt was established early in his life while working in his father’s grocery store helping his family with all phases of the store operation including driving the delivery truck at age 14. As a young teen, Paul’s first “start up” was when he and his father opened a small “popcorn shack” on Main St. in Little Chute next to the grocery store. Paul graduated from St. John High School in 1945 and joined the Army Air Corps. He was honorably discharged in 1947 after serving in the Pacific at the end of WWII. He returned home to help manage the family grocery business from 1947 to 1950. Paul joined Kimberly Clark in 1951 as an inside sales rep and purchasing agent. He continued with the Kimberly mill after it was sold in 1976 to Midtec Papers/RePap until his retirement in 1990. Not one to sit still, Paul never really “retired.” As a result of his involvement with the Little Chute Advancement Committee in the early 1960s, Paul bought a 40-acre plat of land and developed a large residential subdivision in Little Chute. He then began contracting for homes built on speculation to stimulate lot sales. This led to further land developments in Kaukauna, Menasha, Neenah, and Omro, with the eventual construction of over 100 moderately-priced homes over the years. His background in the paper industry sparked further interest in the packaging and converting business with Paul launching H & H Packaging in 1983 and Precision Paper Converters in 1991.
Paul was an accomplished light-weight boxer in his high school years and always gave his opponents a tough battle. While he did not have formal training, his boxing success may be attributed to the years he spent as a youngster, carrying 100 lb. sacks of flour and potatoes from the store basement. Paul was a volunteer firefighter in Little Chute for 21 years and when he attended events for retired firefighters, he was frequently teased for being the best dressed retiree in the room. He served the Kaukauna Elks Club for over 50 years in various leadership positions. For many years he enjoyed time with his weekly card-playing buddies, and always told Lois when he got home that he had “won a few nickels.”
He was also one of the “McKinley Street Engineers,” a self-named neighborhood group of tradesmen that chipped in to help each other whenever one of them needed a new driveway/garage/electrical service/plumbing, etc. They rewarded themselves with a few “Adler Brau” beers after the project was completed.
While Paul was thankful for many things in his life, he always felt fortunate that he could provide a weekend cottage for his family to enjoy. It began very modestly with a basement covered in plastic sheeting. This eventually led to a series of different cottages on Legend Lake and Kelly Lake. At 5 o’clock Happy Hour, with the sun beginning to set behind the trees, and Paul looking out at the lake, he would always comment “this is the best time of the day.”
Paul is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Lois, and their children, Jeff (Debbie), Little Chute, Mary Sue Woldt (Tim), Appleton, Todd (Jan), Appleton, Jeff Brown, Appleton, Amy Kelly (Ray) Golden Valley, MN, Gary (Maureen), Kaukauna, 13 Grandchildren, Derek (Jackie) Woldt, Jason Woldt, and Stephanie (Freddie) Berger; Brian, Katie (fiancé Adam Hoebelheinrich), and Adam Hermsen; Ryan, Brayden, Tristan, and Brigid Kelly; Michael, Thomas, and Olivia Hermsen; and 6 Great Grandchildren, Josie, Jackson, Lucy, and Hayden Woldt; and Grace and Hope Berger. Paul is also survived by a brother, Bernard (Barb) of Sebring FL, sisters, Lorraine Schwinn, Minneapolis, MN, Joan Groh, Brookfield, WI, Rosalie Miller, Iola, WI, Imelda Kandler, Little Chute, and Margie Miller, Appleton.
Paul was preceded in death by his first wife, Alice; his daughter, Julie Brown; his parents, George and Anna Hermsen; in-laws, William & Christine Vanden Heuvel, and Marshall & Dale Bayorgeon; brothers, Gerald and Joseph; a sister, Mary Van Thiel, as well as other relatives.
Paul’s family would like to thank the staff at Eagle Point Senior Living, ThedaCare Hospice Nurses, and the staff at ThedaCare Medical Center for their compassionate care of him during this challenging period.
Visitation will be held on Wednesday, October 30, 2019, from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Verkuilen-Van Deurzen Family Funeral Home Little Chute location, 101 Canal Street. The evening will conclude with services by the Kaukauna Elks and Little Chute Fire Department. Visitation will continue on Thursday, October 31, 2019, at St. John Nepomucene Catholic Church, 323 S. Pine Street, Little Chute, from 9:30 a.m. until the time of the Mass at 11:00 a.m. Full military honors will be performed after the Mass by the Amercian Legion Post #258. In lieu of flowers, a memorial is being established in Paul’s name. Interment will be in St. John Cemetery. For online condolences, please visit www.verkuilenfh.com.
Dad, Thank you for exemplifying what it means to be a kind, decent, and considerate person. You were well-known in the community for your honesty and selflessness, and well-respected by everyone who was fortunate enough to know you. Your children and grandchildren all aspire to follow in your footsteps and reflect the values you taught us and demonstrated each day. We have been infinitely blessed to have you as our dad and grandfather.
You are right Dad, “The dance is not over.”
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