MOUNT PLEASANT — Paul Schumacher’s life was cut short on Sunday, exactly two months shy of the date set for his ordination as a deacon in the Catholic Church.
Schumacher, 58, of Mount Pleasant, was driving home from a visit with his father, who lives in the dementia ward of a nursing home in the Green Bay area, when his vehicle was struck by a motorcyclist in the Town of Morrison in Brown County. Both the motorcyclist and Schumacher died at the scene.
Schumacher’s wife, Lisa, said her husband and his classmates were looking forward to beginning their work in the diaconate.
“They could not wait to be ordained and get out there and get into the community and help people,” she said.
Paul Schumacher had been taking classes through the Milwaukee Archdiocese for the past four years, working toward that goal.
“He absolutely loved delving into his faith and learning how he’d be able to help others be deep in their faith,” Lisa said.
Father Ricardo Martin, pastor at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 2201 Northwestern Ave., where Paul Schumacher and his wife had been parishioners for about eight years, said the news of Paul’s death came as a “punch in the gut.”
Martin was excited to have Schumacher, whom he described as a “great friend,” begin in his new role with the church. Martin said Paul was “warm, joyful and a genuinely nice guy.”
“We have grief not only for what he was but for what he was going to be,” Martin said.
Importance of family
Paul was born in 1960 in Outagamie County. His passion for the church started early, and he spent his freshman year of high school at St. Lawrence Seminary. While there, he rethought his plans, deciding that he might want a wife and family, so he returned to his home in the Village of Kimberly. Soon after that, his mother died of cancer. Paul ended up graduating from West De Pere High School.
Paul moved to Racine with his first wife in the mid-1980s. Together, they had three children, but later divorced. In the mid-1990s, Schumacher met Lisa at a Halloween party in a barn in northern Wisconsin.
“I was dressed up as a Harley chick and he didn’t know if that was a costume or not and he didn’t have a costume and I wasn’t quite sure if that was a costume or not,” she said.
They started dating a few months later. On their second date, he showed her photos of his kids.
“One of the things when we dated that I found so attractive in him was his love for his children and that everything he did, every decision he made was with his children first,” Lisa said. “That was such a standout to me.”
Together the couple had one son, Henry, who is now 15. And, as one of 13 siblings, Schumacher had a large extended family, with six grandchildren and 53 nieces and nephews.
“Every single one of them were the lights of his life,” Lisa Schumacher said.
One of the things his wife appreciated most about Paul was his kindness.
“If he was talking to you, you felt like he was talking to you,” Lisa said. “He was never distracted. You were his focus.”
He would make coffee and bring it to her in bed in the morning.
“He treated me like a queen,” she said.
Instead of giving gifts for Christmas, Paul spent extra time with his children. He would have one-on-one dinners with each of them once a month.
“Those moments, I think, are what we’re going to miss because those were filled with love,” Lisa said.
Paul worked in client services for Leeward Business Advisers in Kenosha. He loved camping and bacon and was a fan of the Packers and the Bucks.
Lisa said she’ll also miss the conversations with her husband.
“He had an incredible sense of humor,” she said. “He made you laugh, and he made you smile and he made you feel so good. We’ll miss that greatly.”
An education fund has been set up for Paul and Lisa’s son. Contributions can be dropped off at the parish office or sent to Sacred Heart Parish, c/o Henry Schumacher Education Fund, 2201 Northwestern Ave., Racine, WI 53404.
This article has been updated since publication to correct funeral service information.