Many have fond memories of this kindhearted manFrom his above-the-crowd laugh and quiet support to his potty-pumper humor and impressive work ethic, Paul Cudd, Sr.’s loved ones acknowledged his long legacy during funeral services held Sunday and Monday.
By: Debbie Griffin, River Falls Journal
From his above-the-crowd laugh and quiet support to his potty-pumper humor and impressive work ethic, Paul Cudd, Sr.’s loved ones acknowledged his long legacy during funeral services held Sunday and Monday.
The avid Packers fan died last Thursday and went to his final rest wearing a team jersey.
“Uncle Paul was like a father to me,” said his nephew, Steve Cudd.
He has six sisters and said he felt like Cudd’s number four son because growing up, he was often at his aunt Janet and uncle Paul’s house.
He worked for Paul Cudd and Sons for 13 years, operating heavy equipment,
“I learned a wonderful work ethic from him,” said Steve.
His nephew chuckles at the thought of Cudd’s Potty Pumper business, remembering how he drew and painted freehand artwork onto the truck.
He recalls Janet wouldn’t let him apply the slogan, “Your (expletive) is our bread and butter.”
Steve recalls when his uncle sent him over to Cudd’s Court to work on new roads in the company’s biggest excavator.
“I thought I’d take a shortcut…I knew it might be wet…I proceeded to get it really stuck,” he said.
Hoping to correct the situation before his uncle found out about it, he grabbed cousin Pauly and went to get the bulldozer. It also became stuck in the thick mud.
Next the cousins brought in a tractor backhoe to try and pull out the bulldozer. It also got stuck, creating a “conga line” of heavy equipment in the mud.
He said when his Uncle Paul laid eyes on the conga line, he looked at his nephew and just said, “Steve, you knucklehead!”
Longtime friend of the family and fellow wrestling supporter Dave Black, who grew up with Cudd’s sons, says he remembers a supportive guy.
Black characterizes Cudd as fair, supportive, honest and compassionate to everyone.
“His kids were really talented, but he was a fan of everybody,” said Black. “You didn’t have to be good to be supported by him.”
Black remembers Cudd’s faith in his grandson Joe who as a freshman wasn’t a very well developed wrestler but improved enough as a junior and senior to win state wrestling championships.
He said for at least the last 20 years, Cudd wore a denim Wildcats Wrestling hat.
Black recalls a generous man who created and maintained softball fields when River Falls had none. He installed lighted fields near PR’s place and mowed them.
Wrestling Booster President Carlos Figi said he remembers Cudd not only providing a bus to transport wrestlers to and from tournaments, but also driving the bus when a scheduled driver couldn’t. He bought treats on the way home, too.
Figi said, “My intent was to have Mr. Cudd and his brother John (Johnny) Cudd sit mat-side at our first home meet this year and watch their grandsons as they coached the wildcat wrestling team…”
Family friend Joe Boles said his memories of Cudd come from growing up at the same time as his sons. He said their dad always made his sons’ friends feel special.
He said Paul Sr. never missed their wrestling, football, basketball and other sporting events, “…you would hear Paul shouting encouragement at every game. He could really project his voice.”
Boles remembers Cudd giving him and his friends an opportunity to work, driving a dump truck, laying sod or doing whatever needed to be done.
He said Cudd paid well, encouraged the boys and expected them to work hard.
Cudd grew up on the family farm in Beldenville with eight brothers and sisters, served in the Armed Forces for four years, married Janet in 1948, raised seven children, started two family businesses, supported local sports, attended church all his life and volunteered for several civic organizations.
Comments posted to the Journal’s website, from people near and far, tell more about his legacy:
n From Brian G. in Grand Island, Neb.:“Fond memories of The Potty Pumper, the softball field, and a laugh that was always above the crowd are what I’ll always treasure about Paul. The Good Lord will welcome him with open arms.”
n From Loueta T. in Overland Park, Kan.:“My college sorority sisters and I will always remember when “Uncle Paul” loaned us his dump truck to go Christmas caroling back in the late 60’s. He thought we wouldn’t take him up on his offer but we had the best of time and sang much better because of his thoughtfulness.”
n From Karen Frascone (Pechacek) in Dallas, Ore.: “…Growing up with Walter and Johnnie Cudd as neighbors and close family friends, I can only think… amazing one-of-a-kind irreplaceable men of a generation that makes us all proud!”
n From Mary R. in Stillwater, Minn.: “I remember Paul from 40 years ago..fun and always there to help out. I learned the phrase ‘it was enough to gag a maggot!’”
n From Mary R. in River Falls:“I recall being a frightened, young, divorced mother of two young children when I purchased a mobile home in Cudd’s trailer park. Through many struggles there were numerous times I would fall behind on the lot rent. I would receive the reminder that I was delinquent and would explain to Paul Sr. that I would make things right. Never did he react negatively, rather responding with a smile, a wink, and the encouraging words, “I know you will.” And I always did! As I reflect, nearly two decades later, I realize that his kindness had an incredible influence on my life…”
For more, go to www.riverfallsjournal.com.