Pavilion honors parishioner who ‘never met a stranger’
April 4, 2012
By Patricia McGeever
SHANDON — When members of St. Aloysius in Shandon dedicate a new pavilion built behind the church next month, they will add a thoroughly modern gathering space to hold future events while remembering a man who was such a part of their past.
Paul’s Pavilion is named for Paul Bricking, a lifetime member of the parish who died in 2010 and by all accounts, never met a stranger.
“He would be so happy with us, sitting out there with us in that shelter. I don’t think we could have done anything better,” said Kathy Lysaght, one of the organizers of the effort to get the shelter built.
For more than 30 years, Bricking was the youth director of the Catholic Order of Foresters St. Aloysius Court No. 2172. He led two generations of children through the fraternal organization’s service work projects and family activities. He drove a truck for Kroger and raised five children on his own before marrying wife, Ruth. Paul was 84 when he died of kidney problems related to diabetes.
“There was just one Paul. There will always only be one Paul,” said Joyce Slaughter, who’d known Bricking since she was a young girl and active in the Catholic Order of Foresters.
“He was either a grandpa or a father or some kind of figure that they looked up to. He talked to them on their level,” added Julie Burkwinkel who now holds Bricking’s old job as youth director.
Joe Meiners drew up plans for a shelter more than a decade ago but when Bricking passed away, it seemed like the right time to take action. “It’s just something we wanted to do for him and for the parish,” he explained. “It was just something really that would pull us all together.”
“The shelter is something the whole parish wanted. It goes back 15 years,” says Charley Sunderhaus, one of the volunteers who worked on the build. “It adds a new feature to the church for our festival. When Paul died, it was the perfect way to do both: build a shelter and dedicate it to Paul.”
Construction on Paul’s Pavilion began in late August and was completed in early November. When church officials church announced plans for a building it to honor Bricking, donations poured in and $60,000 was raised. Volunteers from the parish spent nights and weekends building a pavilion that is 40 by 120 feet with a 20 x 20 foot concrete connector that joins it to the back of the church. It has a tongue and groove ceiling made from 15,000 lineal feet of yellow pine. Concealed in the ceiling are rolled up canvas curtains that can be dropped to enclose the entire pavilion. Florescent light fixtures are also built into the ceiling and the pavilion has a sound system that’s tied into the church’s existing one.
Dan Lysaght was the construction manager on the project. His crew varied in size from day to day. “The day we poured concrete we had 31 volunteers. Another day there were eight. Another day we had 25.”
It took 110 cubic yards of concrete to lay the pavilion floor.
Steve Rigling was the electrician on site. “This was just a manifestation of that spirit at St. Al’s,” he said. “We look at it as evangelizing, too, because it attracts a lot of the community around here, and apparently since it’s been up, there’s been numerous phone calls about people wanting to rent it.”
Bricking’s widow, Ruth, gets teary eyed just thinking about the kindness shown to her since her husband’s passing. She said he would have love the pavilion. “His whole life was about giving,” she said.
“He was one in a million.”