Vince Paul left this earth on July 2, 2022. That is how he referred his eventual meeting with the fate we all must encounter. Vince was born July 23, 1929 in Spring Valley, MN to Leo George Paul and Catherine Russell Paul. Growing up in depression era small-town Minnesota, Vince was no stranger to hard work. Although he knew from an early age that he wanted to be a dentist, his first job was operating a popcorn stand outside Leo Paul’s Barber Shop in Spring Valley, which was especially popular on Saturday nights in the summer. By age 13, Vince was hand-milking six cows every day and delivering the milk to the local creamery. In the summers and weekends during high school Vince worked on farms and in an iron mine outside of Spring Valley that provided raw material for WW2 manufacturing. A gifted athlete, Vince made time to letter in 3 sports all through high school. When Vince, the first Paul to go to college, attended St. Johns College outside of St. Cloud, he paid his way through with savings from summer employment. Vince often remarked how that feat is no longer possible and how fortunate he was to live when he did.
Vince earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery at the University of Minnesota in 1954. A much more important thing happened to Vince at dental school. One day across the chair assisting him with patients was Elizabeth Ann Wolter, a St. Paul native with whom he was immediately smitten. Vince and Liz were married in October 1954 and moved to Rapid City, SD, where Vince served as an Air Force dentist at Ellsworth Air Force Base. Meanwhile, Liz became active in the creation of a new generation. Their eldest son was born in Rapid City.
In 1956, after the military, Vince and Liz scoured Iowa and Southern Minnesota for the right place to set down roots and chose Faribault. There Vince took over a dental practice that he continued for almost 30 years. Liz continued to produce offspring, rapidly creating and raising six male children still known around Faribault as “The Paul Boys”. Michael Vincent, Gregory Leo, Thomas Robert, Jeffrey Edward, Joseph William, and Daniel John all graduated high school in Faribault and went off to seek their fortunes. Vince and Liz were devout Catholics. Vince attended daily mass at Immaculate Conception and later Divine Mercy for over sixty years. This may explain how they survived the antics of their sons.
When Vince retired from dentistry in 1984, he and Liz set out to explore North America, traveling to every state, every Canadian province and parts of Mexico in a recreational vehicle. They deeply enjoyed their travels, loving our abundant natural wonders and the many friends they met along the way. Eventually they put down a second set of roots in Fort Myers, Fla, but only for the winters, as they loved Faribault too much to leave it behind. In these years, Vince also took up cycling, averaging 30 miles a day whenever the weather allowed. Sakatah Singing Hills Trail was a favorite, and probably has tire ruts from Vince’s frequent trips. Meanwhile Liz became a regular at the Paradise Art Center developing a skill in pottery. When Liz passed away in 2012, Vince decided to stay in Faribault year-round again. He found a kindred spirit in Regina (Genie) McComas and they spent many hours together and with family. In June of 2018, Vince moved to Mill City Assisted Living and passed away after a gradual decline and rapid, merciful final illness. The family is grateful to Hospice for their loving care of Vince in his final days.
Vince is survived by Mike Paul and his four sons James, spouse Cheryl; John, spouse Sara, sons Sean and Owen; Stephen, spouse Clair; Kevin, spouse Kristen and son Robinson. Greg Paul and Mary Hart-Paul, daughter Hillary Halpern, spouse Noah, their daughters Marlowe and Evan and son Jacoby; son Jared Paul and spouse Nora Vogel and their daughter Sylvia. Judy Cook , former spouse of Tom Paul and their daughter Ana Paul, Jeff Paul and Julie deRosier-Paul; Joe Paul and spouse Elisa, daughter Melissa Paul; Dan and Colleen Paul, their son Danny, spouse Cora and sons Daniel III and Austin; daughter Rachel Paul, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. He was also predeceased by his parents, his brothers Ken and Bob, his son Tom, and most of his classmates, friends, and colleagues.
Visitations will be held at Parker-Kohl Funeral Home Friday July 8 from 4-6 PM and from 9:30-10:30 on Saturday July 9, 2022 at Divine Mercy Catholic Church immediately followed at 10:30 by a Mass of Christian Burial. The family requests that all attendees wear masks as we have immunocompromised members. Interment will be at the family plot at St. Lawrence cemetery, next to Liz and son Tom, a talented landscape designer who oversaw the design and construction of the plot.
In lieu of flowers, Vince has asked that you consider donating to Divine Mercy Catholic Church, St. Vincent DePaul, Faribault, or the Paradise Art Center.