Paul John Schaff Jr. of Mandan, died April 8, 2023, at his home under the care of hospice with his loving wife, Laura, and his family by his side.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 AM on Thursday, April 13, 2023, at Christ the King Catholic Church, Mandan, with Father Fred Harvey celebrating. Burial will follow at Mandan Union Cemetery.
Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 PM on Wednesday, April 12, 2023, at Weigel Funeral Home, Mandan, with a Knights of Columbus rosary at 6:45 PM followed by a parish vigil at 7 PM. Visitation will continue one hour prior to the service at the church on Thursday.
Paul was born at his family's home near St. Anthony on October 27, 1938, one of eleven children to Paul and Magdalena (Wetsch) Schaff. He attended country school at St. Anthony Sister School and then St. Joseph Catholic School. Paul went on to attend St. Henry Seminary in Belleville, Illinois for one year. In 1973, he completed an extension course of training in building construction from the Commercial Trades Institute.
On June 8, 1959, he married his sweetheart, Ann Koller of Glen Ullin and they were blessed with four children. Along with his faith, Paul taught his children the value of hard work, love for farm life, integrity, and honesty. From 1959 to 1981, they farmed near Solen, raising Angus cattle and dairy cows. His strong Catholic faith guided Paul in his daily life. He served for over twenty years as a Eucharistic Minister and usher at Christ the King Church. He was an honorary lifetime member of the Knights of Columbus and also served for seven years as president of the Solen School Board.
Paul and his brother, Tom, purchased Mandan Supply & Equipment in 1981 and ran a successful operation until retiring in 2004. Paul continued being self-employed serving his previous customers, whom he truly appreciated. Paul was well-known for his Christmas decorating for 20 years at his homes on Custer Drive and West View Place SE, displaying numerous decorations with over 50,000 lights. He was a master of many trades including work in the cattle business, as a mechanic, landscape artist, and gardener. He had a wealth of wonderful friends throughout his career and continued to work until he was 80 years old.
Following the death of Ann, the first love of his life, Paul married Laura (Hopfauf) Helbling on April 12, 2008. Together they shared fifteen wonderful years of marriage, joining their love of companionship and family, and opened their home as a ministry of social gatherings for the elderly and young alike. They traveled the United States and to many countries in Europe, Africa, and the Holy Land. They continued to serve the Lord through their love of church and fellowship. Paul and Laura began creating concrete leaves, glass water fountains, and bird feeders during the Covid crisis. Paul continued to work as long as he could and gave his creations to family and friends.
Paul was preceded in death by his wife of 47 years, Ann; son, Brian; an infant son; three grandchildren; his parents, Paul Sr. and Magdalena Schaff; brothers, Adam and Tony; sisters, Katie Taghon, Barbara Saumell, and Leona Schaff; a special niece, Judy (Preston) Bankhead; and in-laws, John and Gertrude Koller, Bill and Clara Miller, Martin Koller, Lawrence Koller, and Mary and Ned Chandler.
Paul is survived by his wife, Laura (Hopfauf) Helbling-Schaff; Paul’s sons, Jim Schaff, Bismarck and Jerry (Brenda) Schaff, Mandan; one daughter, Sue (Clair) Gullickson, Solen; grandchildren, Amanda (Donny) Fisher, Clayton (Megan) Schaff, Brent Schaff, Cole (Amy) Gullickson, Callie Gullickson (fiance, Bayle Bertch), Carsten Gullickson, Amber Mathern, Ashten (Herb) Bristow; and several great-grandchildren. His siblings, Bertha Heinrich, Joe (Ruby) Schaff, Marianne (Mike) Blasco, all of Bismarck, Tom (Lois), Shakopee, MN, and Martin (Angie) Schaff, Mandan; brothers-in-law, John (Mimi) Koller, Great Neck, NY and Mike (Bev) Koller, Glen Ullin; sisters-in-law, Barbara Schaff, Delores Koller, Jamestown, Lori Chamblee, Florida, Sister Annuncia, Philadelphia, Lucy Koller, Minneapolis, and Irene (Chris) Rudy, Michigan; and several nieces and nephews.
Paul’s stepchildren include, Brandon (Julie) Helbling and Montague Helbling, all of Mandan and Lacey (Jeff) Paul, Queen Creek, AZ; step-grandchildren, Breanna, Brady, and Austin Helbling and Brody and Brooklyn Paul; brothers-in-law, John (Mel) Hopfauf, San Antonio, TX, Dwight (Lynn) Hopfauf, Roscoe, IL, and Scott (Kareen) Hopfauf and Dean (Jeri) Hopfauf, all of Bismarck; sisters-in-law, Jacque Hahn, Grand Island, NE, Marlys Hopfauf, Bismarck, Lynette Hopfauf, Mandan, and Mary Mieras, Orlando, FL; and several nieces and nephews.