Goss: ‘Boomer’ tales: Plenty of memories of Pat Paul
By Dick Goss email@example.com September 8, 2013 6:20PM
Pat Paul | Supplied photo
Updated: October 10, 2013 6:15AM
Except perhaps for being over the top with his beloved New York Yankees, Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Lakers, Pat Paul represented all things good.
Family mattered to him — big time, as his widow Karen, son Kevin and daughter Megan will tell you.
Pat — Boomer to those who knew him best — worked as a part-time sportswriter at the Herald-News for more than 30 years. That meant many a late night at the ofice.
Yet nothing kept him from one of his true loves, being a hands-on eighth-grade teacher, basketball coach and athletic director at his alma mater, St. Patrick Grade School. He was there for 29 years until he died of cancer on June 28, 2007.
“Pat said teaching and coaching at St. Pat’s was his ideal job even before he got it,” said his lifelong friend and former fellow Herald-News sportswriter Dave Parker.
“When he went to St. Pat’s, his dream was to be an eighth-grade teacher in the same room where he was an eighth-grade student, and he made that happen,” Karen Paul noted.
His students loved him as a teacher and a coach.
“Over the years, he touched a lot of students,” said Karen, an English reading specialist at Joliet Central. “There are lots of posts on Facebook, things former students still remember about him.
“He enjoyed the students. He was funny. He told stories, but they always related to something they were learning.”
Karen said even though Pat arrived home close to midnight so many nights after a shift at the Herald-News, she never had to as much as nudge him to get up for his 8:10 a.m. start the next day at St. Pat’s. That’s where he wanted to be. He belonged there.
Led by Chris Schaal and members of the St. Pat’s Class of 1986, an All-Years St. Pat’s Class Reunion is scheduled Saturday at St. Joseph Park to coincide with the annual Will County Celtic Fest. During the event, which runs from noon until 10 p.m., the first Pat Paul Memorial Scholarship, worth $1,500 to a high school senior, will be awarded.
The entry fee to Celtic Fest is $5. However, for anyone who identifies himself or herself as having attended St. Pat’s or St. Pat’s CCD classes or who are parents of anyone who attended St. Pat’s, the Irish American Society of County Will, host of Celtic Fest, has agreed to donate the $5 to the scholarship fund.
So not only will you have an opportunity to come out and have a great time with former classmates and schoolmates, you will be contributing to the memorial scholarship fund in memory of a teacher you deeply respected.
“In about eight months, we put together what turned out to be a monster day,” said Schaal, president of the St. Pat’s alumni and new member director for the Irish American Society of County Will. “From the St. Pat’s end alone, it looks like we will have a minimum of 350 to 400 alums there.
“That shows what students thought of Pat Paul. He was civic-minded besides a good father, teacher and coach.”
While being an “A” student never hurts, Schaal said the winner, who has been chosen but will not be revealed until Saturday, represents all Pat Paul stood for.
After listening to Pat discuss his basketball teams and strategies through the years, and playing with him for years on the KenWoody softball team, I can see why he was such a successful, and fun, coach.
“He was very animated when he coached,” said Bob Charley, who coached at St. Pat’s for 32 years. “He was funny. He’d jump up and down and make calls before the refs did. He always wanted to stay one step ahead of them. He was one of the true veteran grade-school coaches of Joliet. He had a lot of good teams and great players.
“But all the kids liked him. It wasn’t just the boys, or sports. The girls all liked him, too.”
Those who coached for him in the St. Pat’s program — Charley, Pat Ryan, Chris Adler, Daryl Miller, Puddy Hettman, Mike Seeman, Paul Delrose and Jim O’Brien included — you better believe they’ll be spinning “Boomer tales” at Celtic Fest.
Mike Reilly headed the scholarship committee, which included Parker and his wife, Sue Treharne, along with Megan and Karen Paul, Robyn Ward Curbis and Stephanie Gulas.
Karen Paul said special thanks “go to Chris Schaal for putting this all together.”
For information, visit www.willcountycelticfest.com.
“There’s a hot link there to the St. Pat’s event page firstname.lastname@example.org,” Schaal said.