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Alumni Connection - Paul Schroeder '63

Life After WHS I graduated in 1963, that in itself was an accomplishment for me. School was not my strong suit. However, I knew that a good education was very important, but I lived on a large dairy farm and there was a lot to of work to be done. College was not in my sights at that time. However, one year later, I enrolled at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. As life takes its turns, I made some great life-long friends and came back with a wife but not a degree. Ruth Webster and I were married in 1967 and she took the job as the Marinette County Extension Agent. I stayed on managing my parents’ farm. In 1972 I left the farm and Ruthie and I started North Country Real Estate. That was a great time in our lives. We helped move so many great folks to Wausaukee, including many school teachers. Friendships were made then that are still strong today. In 1994 I got bored with sitting behind a desk. We sold the real estate company, bought a large tract of pastureland from my parents and started a Christmas tree farm. We hired local kids to shear the trees in the summer and then branched out to do custom shearing for other tree farms. In the following years we had as many as 40 WHS students on our summer shearing crew. One year in the late 90’s I had 15 football players on my crew. There was a 5 day road trip planned to Antigo and football practice was going to start mid-week. Coach Wickman agreed to allow the boys to spend the full week if I’d give them a one-hour workout each day. So we did. Up at 6:00 A.M., leave the hotel at 6:30, back to the hotel at 4:30, and a full one-hour workout at 6:00. Ah, the good old days. We loved the Christmas tree farm and became very active in the industry. I am a past president of the Wisconsin Christmas Tree Association and immediate past president of the National Christmas Tree Association. The tree farm now produces over 40,000 trees each year and has hosted the state trade show twice and the national trade show in 2017. We recently sold the tree farm to John and Tammy Grutza, ’93. Personal Ruthie and I have been married for 53 years. We have 3 children, all graduates of WHS. All were infused with the desire to succeed from the tremendous staff at Wausaukee High. All have degrees or multiple degrees and have blessed us with 6 grandchildren. We have done our share of traveling and have visited numerous foreign countries. We have also gone on many family ski trips, some up north and several out west. My favorite hobby is trout fishing on our creek, where we did a lot of habitat improvement. Sunday supper in summer is almost always fresh brook trout. School Memories My best memories of WHS came much later when Mr. Goddard asked me if I would help him start a ski club. We both loved to downhill ski and were teaching our kids to ski…why not a few more? Sounded great! I started collecting used skis, (ski rental can be expensive). Mr. Goddard and others started having bake sales, (lift tickets can be expensive). From about 1985 till about 1995, we had at least 3 ski outings a year…many were overnight affairs…somedays with as many as 30 kids. We taught about 300 kids how to ski. I know that many of them are still skiing today…I am, too.

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