Robert Warren Paul, 93, a lifelong resident of Wakefield, Nebraska, passed away on Thursday, November 12, 2020, at Providence Medical Center in Wayne, Nebraska. Private family funeral services will be at the Presbyterian Church in Wakefield, with Pastor Charity Potter officiating. Burial will be in the Wakefield Cemetery in Wakefield with military honors. Memorials are suggested to the Wakefield Senior Center. Arrangements are under the direction of Bressler-Munderloh-Smith Funeral Home in Wakefield.
Robert “Bob” was born August 3, 1927, to Edward and Grace (Heikes) Paul in Wakefield, NE. He was the youngest of 5 boys and hard work was expected of all. Throughout junior high and high school, Bob had a twice-a-day paper route, worked at the Farmer’s Union, and farmed land north of town. At one point, Bob held all 3 jobs simultaneously. In high school, he was a member of the Future Farmers of America, served as a student manager for the basketball team, and against his father’s wishes, decided to play football his senior year. Bob graduated from Wakefield High School in 1945.
Bob enlisted in the Army on March 20, 1946. After basic training, he was stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado, and assigned as a pack driver to the “mule team.” This team was responsible for leading mules carrying cannon parts across streams and treacherous terrain up into the mountains. Bob was later promoted to Special Orders Clerk and was the only person on base who could do that particular job. He thoroughly enjoyed using that to his advantage. He was honorably discharged from the service on September 20, 1947, with a rank of sergeant. He loved to tell stories of the old days, especially his time in the Army, and remembered the details quite clearly, even at age 93.
Bob met Linda Barner on a blind date set up by mutual friends. They were married on Easter Sunday, April 13, 1952, at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Wayne. This was the year the Missouri River flooded, and Bob was the last person allowed to cross the bridge from Sioux City, after pleading his case to the police officer that he had to get back for his own wedding. The couple spent their entire married life in Wakefield.
Bob initially worked for his father in the third-generation family business, the Wakefield Locker Service. When his parents retired, Bob became manager and co-owner of the business with his brother Eugene. They worked very hard and had very long hours. Many memories revolve around various family members working at the Locker, including prepping sausages for Pancake Day and peeling 100-pound bags of potatoes for his homemade potato sausage. The Locker was sold in 1984, ending a family tradition beginning in 1905. Bob then was employed in the Seafood and Specialty Meats department for Hy-Vee in Norfolk, Nebraska, making the 2-hour commute nearly every day for 14 years. He loved working with others, especially the younger kids, who he liked to tease. He finally officially retired in 1998.
Bob was a longstanding member of the Presbyterian Church in Wakefield, as were his parents. He was baptized as a child and reconfessed his faith as an adult in 1952. He served the congregation in various positions in the church, including elder, session member, and usher. He enjoyed playing cards with his friends and golfing and fishing when he could spare the time. His friends often referred to him as “Bobby” or “Herman.” He also enjoyed watching his children competing in sporting events and giving “advice” on how they could improve. In his later years, he developed a great fondness for woodworking. Bob made beautiful items mainly from oak, including flag cases, crosses, doll beds, and shelves to name a few. He could do any home repairs you could imagine and was known to do most things himself including building his own combination workshop/2-car garage in his 70’s, painting his 2-story house with a makeshift ladder when he was nearing 90 as well as mowing and maintaining his own yard. He enjoyed fishing trips with his friends to Canada and family trips to Washington D.C., San Francisco, San Diego, the Bahamas, Alaska, Arizona, Vegas, and many other places. Bob was a great fan of Husker volleyball and football and could often be found uptown with family and friends during the NCAA volleyball tournament each year. He also particularly enjoyed going to coffee, often twice daily, with his group of friends in town.
Robert is survived by his children: son, Alan Paul of Council Bluffs; daughters, Joni (Gene) Pfeifer of Overland Park, KS; Lisa Cuvelier of Omaha, NE; Shelley (Donald) Hosick of Minden, NE; 10 grandchildren, and 6 great-grandchildren.
He is preceded in death by his wife, Linda, his parents, twin sons Ken and Keith Paul, four brothers, and many other family members and close friends.