Meet Paul, new Valley VNA Board Member

When you first meet Paul Verbeten, you see how he was in the glee club in college at UW-LaCrosse. He moves and speaks confidently and exudes a kind of energy best described as motivational. As he recounted his career path prior to his recent retirement, he even laughed about his early failures: trying to sell copiers, and later, kitchen appliances. Paul finally hit his stride in the mid-80s after a tip from a patron at the Out-of-Town Club where he was biding time as a bartender near his hometown of Wrightstown. “Thilmany is looking,” his friend told him. “Are you interested?”

Paul got his first big break as a salesman for Thilmany Paper in the Chicago market. Then a stint at Milprint in Milwaukee, where he helped oversee the production of millions of Snickers candy bar wrappers, led to an even bigger opportunity when the company was purchased by Bemis. Paul eventually retired in 2016 as the president of Bemis Healthcare Packaging where his responsibilities included regular travel to plants in Puerto Rico, Malaysia, China, and Ireland to work with his global operations team.

Feeling Connected to the Cause

Paul watched his own parents age and was present in their lives up until their last days. “I am happy to say I played golf with my dad when he was 88,” he said, just one year prior to his father’s death. His mother had Alzheimer’s disease that took away her ability to recognize and communicate with her own family. She eventually passed away while living in an assisted living community in Wrightstown. “I know what it means to care about aging parents and to think about how I want to be cared for,” Paul said.

Valley VNA Board President Frank Kearny, also a Bemis man, recruited Paul to the board of directors after his first year of retirement. “I knew Frank wanted me on the board, but I asked for a year to decompress (after retiring). When he called me again, and I already knew so many of the other board members, I signed on.”

Paul expects he will play a role in the financial aspects of Valley VNA’s operations, especially since daily profit-and-loss statements were part of his routine at Bemis. “I also think I’m good with people. I hope to help inspire and motivate people to continue their good work and to help with recruitment and hiring.”

Traveling Together (or Not)

Paul and his wife Peggy, a retired educational assistant with the Neenah Joint School District, spend several weeks in Florida each winter. This spring they plan to be back in Wisconsin in time for the birth of their third grandchild in early April. Baby number three will join Carter (3) and Frances (7 months) as a cousin at the center of family activities and affection. Paul and Peggy’s two daughters and their husbands, Annie and Kevin and Abby and Brian, live in Wisconsin:

When they are in state, the elder Verbetens go to St. Margaret Mary Parish in Neenah, but you will hardly ever see them there together. For decades, Paul has served as a cantor or choir member at Mass (remember the glee club?), and this puts the couple in separate parts of the sanctuary every weekend. He, his father, and his daughter Annie all were given the gift of a beautiful, uplifting voice. Valley VNA is very fortunate to have Paul join our choir of vocal supporters.