Paul Francis Mettling was born June 12, 1927 in Tacoma, Washington. He was the first of two sons born to Peter and Mae (Dusell) Mettling, who farmed on a ranch in Reed Point, Montana, until Paul was 9. Due to a severe drought, they moved to Monroe, Washington for a year and half, and then came to Pine City, Minnesota in 1938, settling on a farm east of Rock Creek in the spring of 1939. Paul attended Pine City Schools, graduating from high school in 1945. He was a great athlete, excelling at many sports, especially football and track and field. He was proud to have received the coveted “Most Valuable Blocker” Award from Coach Les Nell, whom he admired and respected. In track and field, he was district champion in the high jump, the 440 yard dash, the 880 yard relay, and the shotput, which he had never thrown until that meet. Years later, in 1999, he was a member of the inaugural group of athletes to be inducted into the Pine City Athletic Hall of Fame.
Paul was drafted into the United States Army and served our country in 1945 and 1946 as a corporal in the intelligence office on the island of Attu, part of the Aleutian chain of Alaska. He was honorably discharged in 1946 and returned to Pine City where he took over the operation of his parents’ farm.
In 1948, at the Bridge Pavilion Dance Hall at the St. Croix River, he met the love his life, Mavis Lockert. They were joined in marriage on August 12, 1950 in Pine City. Paul and Mavis moved a second house onto the Mettling farm and began their life together there. They were blessed with seven children. Paul, a devoted husband and proud father, focused his love and energy on his family and their needs, and with seven active children and farming responsibilities, that was a big job. Paul thoroughly enjoyed attending the many sporting events and music concerts that his children and grandchildren were involved in. For years, he could be found in the sports bleachers filming games, keeping score on a clipboard, or just generally supporting Pine City sports teams. In 1993, Paul and Mavis received the “Fan Appreciation Award.”
Paul was an intelligent man, and he used his broad knowledge of many things creatively and generously. He was well known by his family, friends, and neighbors as a repairman, carpenter, farmer, outdoorsman, joke and story teller, and generally as the guy to go to when you were in need of materials, skills, help, and know-how, not expecting anything in return. In the interest of saving money, he usually dreamed up ways to concoct whatever he or someone else needed; for example, building a hay elevator, cement mixer, log splitter, and boat anchoring system (etc.). He even made his own crossbow.
Paul enjoyed reading, playing cards and Trivial Pursuit, doing crossword puzzles, and watching mind-challenging game shows and any program about science, nature, or history. He also really enjoyed hunting. His favorite pastime, however, was fishing for small-mouth bass on the St. Croix River, whether he was by himself or with his kids or grandkids. Paul inspired his children and grandchildren by how he lived his life. He led by example. He was an honest, generous, faith-filled man who put others’ needs and concerns ahead of his own. Paul was a long-time member of Immaculate Conception parish of Pine City. He loved and was extremely proud of his wife, children, and grandchildren, and showed that love and pride freely. He will be greatly missed by all who knew, respected, and loved him.
Paul is survived by his children: John (Laurie) Mettling of Pine City, Jeffrey Mettling of Pine City, Jerry (Roxanne) Mettling of Kettle River, Joan (Steve) Thieman of Pine City, Janine Mettling, OSB of St. Joseph; daughter-in-law Sue Mettling of Pine City; son-in-law Dean Coplan of Minnesota; 14 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren; sister-in-law Betty Hanson of Grantsburg, Wisconsin; many nieces, nephews and friends.
Paul is preceded in death by his wife Mavis Alene (Lockert) Mettling; daughter Judith Ann Coplan; son Joseph Paul Mettling; parents Peter and Mae Mettling; brother Robert Dean Mettling; great-grandsons Deven Eugene Mettling and Weston Robert Koch.
Monsignor Aleksander Suchan will celebrate Mass of Christian Burial for Paul: 10:30 AM Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Pine City. A time of reviewal and visitation is planned Monday evening 5:00-8:00 PM with a prayer service at 7:30 PM at the Swanson Chapel and also 1 hour prior to the service in St. Anthony Room, Immaculate Conception Church.
Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Funeral and Cremation Service, Swanson Chapel, Pine City, Minnesota.