Paul Edgar Schenck was born 2 February 1929 in Algona, Iowa, the third son of Alfred B. Schenck and Elizabeth Upton Schenck. He grew up on the family farm homesteaded by his great-grandfather, Horace Porter Schenck in 1856. He and his three brothers all attended the one-room rural school adjacent to the farm. He graduated from Algona High School in 1946 and then received a bachelor’s degree in English from Iowa State Teachers College, now the University of Northern Iowa, in Cedar Falls, in January,1950.
Paul was drafted into the United States Marine Corps during the Korean Conflict. He served almost three years, first in the enlisted ranks and then as a commissioned officer – the last year in Yokosuka, Japan. The Marine Corps provided pivotal experiences, discipline and leadership for Paul that endured his lifetime.
Upon discharge from the service, he moved to Houston, Texas, and began work as a writer and photographer for Tunnell Publications Inc. There he met and married Wanda “Tod” Tunnell. Paul was editor of Trailer/Body Builders trade magazine for 40 years, plus the company’s two other magazines in the truck transportation field. He retired in 1998 yet continued as a consultant and field editor, especially in the international arena. He had covered truck and intermodal events throughout North America, Europe, the Orient and Australia for 45 years.
Since 1971, Paul was actively involved in the restoration of pioneer Texas buildings. First was the balloon-framed farmhouse originally built by the Knigge family in 1872, and later the one-room sandstone cabin built by the Knigges about 1870. An 1880 Victorian house was moved from Smithville and restored on the farm to save it from destruction. A typical German four-room house that had started as a one-room cedar log cabin in the 1840s was restored on its original site on the farm. The largest project was moving the 1847 Willrich family home to the Schenck portion of the Bluff and rebuilding the fachwerk structure to become the Schenck family home. Oak beams salvaged from the 1865 Trinity Lutheran Church at Black Jack Springs were used in the construction. The most recent project was rebuilding of an 1859 oak log house moved to Texas from his cousin’s farm in Liscomb, Iowa.
Paul admired Germanic architecture, history, people and customs. Paul was a docent at the 1855 Kreische Stone House and Brewery on Monument Hill since 1998. For 10 years, Paul organized and narrated individual stories of the courageous men involved in the Dawson Creek Massacre. He supervised restoration work on the 1860 Witte-Schmid-Haus Museum near Shelby for the Texas German Society. Paul was actively involved in the operation of the Museum for decades.
Paul’s love for classical music and opera was sparked by his mother’s influence on the farm. He and Tod supported Festival Hill music projects since the 1970s and enthusiastically attended concerts each year. Singing was a double form of prayer for Paul. He joined the Texas German Society and sang with their choral group. Paul was the only non-native German singer and truly enjoyed learning more about the German language and inflections from these friends.
The richness of Paul’s life revolved around history – history of the world, the USA, military and family. Farm life, lifelong learning, stories of people, places and operations, classical music, his church and his family all blended for him. These interests converged with the influence from his 60 year membership at Christ the King Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Paul died peacefully at home on March 30, 2022 and is survived by his wife of 60 years, Tod. Paul was father to four children: Kathleen Schenck Glassford (David), Gregory Schenck (Karen, children Christopher (Tabitha) and Allison), Robin Anderson Stait (Geoffrey, children Savanah (Sandy) and Alexander), and Raymond Anderson (Deana, children Kristin (Jack), Chase (Brittany) and Paige). Paul’s great grandchildren are Bodhi, Piper and Oliver. Paul is preceded in death by his parents and his brothers: Jerald, Lee, and Raymond and grandson Eric Anderson. Half-brother, Sandy Schenck, farms the Old Homestead Farm north of Algona, Iowa as the fourth generation of this Heritage Farm. Paul was quite pleased with the ongoing operation of this family heritage.
At Algona High School, Paul memorized the poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, which he recited over the years. His favorite stanza were lines 614-617: “ He prayeth best who loveth best. All things both great and small. For the dear God loveth us. He made and loveth all”.
Paul’s family will host a reception on Friday, April 1 at Bradshaw Carter Funeral Home on 1734 W. Alabama Street at 5:00 - 8:00 pm. The Service for Christian burial will be conducted at Christ the King Evangelical Lutheran Church on 2353 Rice Boulevard on Saturday, April 2 at 1:00 pm. On Sunday, April 3 at Cedar Cemetery in La Grange, TX, a graveside service will be officiated by Pastor Lemae Higgs at 3:30 pm with military honors.
For an honorary remembrance, please consider the Colorado Valley Detachment for the Marine Corps League. Paul was actively involved with this League, serving in several capacities for many years. Donations may be mailed to Larry Schimek at 500 Veteran Memorial Drive, LaGrange TX 78945.