Paul was born in Blanchard, North Dakota in 1883. He married Lillian Nelson who was born in Bark, Wisconsin in 1883. They came to Lethbridge in 1914 and then homesteaded in Del Bonita until 1921 when, after repeated crop failures they moved to Spring Coulee. Paul started a garage business in a building rented from John Thompson. He had the Texaco and Minneapolis Moline dealerships. He also wired homes and supplied electricity for the town of Spring Coulee with a Delco plant. Few people who lived in Spring Coulee did not benefit from the kindness of Paul in some service, from blacksmithing to repairing cars and machinery and furnishing electricity. It was often said "If Paul can't fix it, it can't be fixed".
Paul used to play his violin at home and the children would dance around. He converted an old 1928 Buick into a truck and painted it black. It was named the Black Mariah. Paul used to fix the kids bicycles and keep the kids supplied in old tubes for swimming.
Lillian was a niece of Congressman Nelson of Wisconsin who spent some months in Spring Coulee with his family. She was an active member of the Women's lnstitute and community affairs in Spring Coulee. She was an omnivorous reader but later became blind.
Paul and Lillian moved to Lethbridge in 1952 and Paul commuted back and forth. Paul passed away and due to poor health Lillian eventually lived in Southland Lodge until her death on Feb. 26, 1992. Paul and Lillian raised eight children. Their two oldest daughters were born in Wisconsin and the other children were born in Spring Coulee and Magrath.
by Charles T. Ripley
Paul Boettcher was a long time resident of Spring Coulee who served the district as blacksmith and machinist for over fifty years. His ingenuity and skill in making repairs was phenomenal and his ability to foresee what items to keep in stock to make repairs for his customers was little short of uncanny.
Seldom did anyone come to his shop in need of help that he couldn't find something in his meager stock that, with a bit of altering, if necessary, and welding of broken parts, would get his customers equipment operative.
Long before Calgary Power came to Spring Coulee, Paul installed a diesel powered generator in his shop and built a transmission line to the homes in Spring Coulee.
His loyalty to his customers was remarkable. He could be found in his shop 12 to 14 hours a day, seven days a week.
When his health was failing he said "I must keep on until after harvest and keep the boys going." An objective which he nobly attained.
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