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Pastor Paul M. Schmeling, 56, died May 25, 2009

Paul Michael Schmeling, 56, was born on July 5, 1952, in Springfield, Ill., the son of Arlyn L. and Evelyn H. (nee Heldt) Schmeling.

He was baptized into the Kingdom of God and made an heir of eternal life through the cleansing of Holy Baptism on July 13, 1952, in Springfield.

He attended elementary school at St. John Evangelical Lutheran School in Two Rivers. On Palm Sunday, April 3, 1966, he publicly confessed his Christian faith and promised to remain faithful until death to his Savior Jesus Christ.

He attended Manitowoc Lutheran High School for three years until joining the graduating class of 1970 at Northwestern Preparatory School in Watertown, to begin preparation for the ministry.

Following his graduation from Northwestern College of Watertown in 1974, he enrolled at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon. After spending his vicar year (1976-77) at St. John, Baraboo, he returned to the seminary campus and graduated with the WLS class of 1978.

He was assigned to serve Ascension in Roseville, Mich., and Zoar in Detroit, and was ordained and installed as pastor on July 9, 1978.

His service to those congregations ended on Jan. 31, 1981. He served Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, from 1981-1990 and Bethany Lutheran of Granite Falls, Minn., from 1990-1992.

Pastor Schmeling has served at Faith Lutheran in River Falls since June 1, 1992. He preached for the last time and conducted his final service here on Sunday, May 24. He served the church at large in many capacities, most recently as coordinator of the MN District Parish Services and currently as chairman of the MN District Nominating and the WELS Nominating Committees.

On Dec. 28, 1975, he married Beth (nee Berger) at Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Milwaukee. The Lord blessed this union with two sons, Andrew and Pastor Benjamin Schmeling and two daughters, Amy (Schmeling) Bryant and Caralyn Schmeling.

In addition to his love for the ministry and spending time with his wife, family members and friends, he enjoyed a wide variety of activities and games, golf, swimming, lawn and garden work, music, computers and traveling.

The Lord Jesus in his infinite wisdom and love called to himself in heaven the soul of Pastor Paul Schmeling while at home with his family on Monday, May 25, 2009, at the age of 56 years 10 months and 20 days.

He is survived by wife, Beth; children: Andrew (Andrea nee Berg) and children, Luke, Jack and Samuel of Wilsonville, Ore., Rev. Benjamin (Ann Marie nee Uecker) and children, Noah and Owen of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada; daughter Amy (Ethan Bryant) and children, Cole and Landon of Woodbury, Minn., and daughter Caralyn and fiancée Brian Wrobel; parents: The Rev. Arlyn L. and Evelyn H. Schmeling of Sun City, Ariz.; mother-in-law, Marie L. Berger of Milwaukee; siblings: Angela (Darvin) Klatt of La Crosse, Rebecca (David) Klatt of Buffalo, Minn., Marian (Gaius) Wiechmann of Elk River, Minn., the Rev. James (Martha) Schmeling of Monroe, Mich., and the Rev. Steven (Paula) Schmeling of Menomonie; along with Beth's five siblings and spouses, numerous nieces and nephews, many other relatives, friends and beloved members of Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church.

He was preceded in death by his father-in-law, Gerald Berger; and sister, Ruth Ann, who died in infancy.

The Christian funeral service for Pastor Paul Schmeling was held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 30, at Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church.

A private committal service will be held at a later date.

Memorials may be directed to Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church or St. Croix Lutheran High School.

Funeral arrangements were with the Bakken-Young Funeral Home of River Falls.

Jesus' words in Matthew 25:21 might best summarize his life of service to his Savior: "Well done, good and faithful servant!"

Then I heard a voice in heaven say, "Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." (Rev. 14:13)