Paul and Joyce Melchert’s connection to Mayer Lutheran High School goes back to the very beginning of the school. They were among the founders of the “Carver County Lutheran High School” in 1959, and Paul prepared the first Articles of Incorporation. Paul had the privilege of watching his father, the Rev. John E. Melchert, lay the cornerstone for the first building project, on August 13, 1959.
Although neither Paul nor Joyce attended Mayer Lutheran, all five of their children – John Michael Melchert, Kristin Marie Mocol, Mark Paul Melchert, Paul David Melchert, and Karla Jean Melchert – graduated from MLHS. Paul and Joyce both attended Valparaiso University, Paul graduating with his B.A. in 1956 and his LLB (Juris Doctorate) in 1958, and Joyce graduating with her B.S. in 1959. In order to work his way through college at Valpo, Paul made mortar for masons working on building projects at the school, including for the 20 masons who worked on the Chapel of the Resurrection in the summer of 1957.
Paul and Joyce married in 1959 and moved to Waconia, Minnesota, to start their life together. Joyce worked as an accountant at Pioneer Telephone Company for three years until she left to devote her energy to raising a family of five children and supporting Paul in his career.
In 1959, Paul began a 60-year career of practicing law with the firm Melchert, Hubert, and Sjodin in Waconia, Minnesota. Over those years, he served at various times as attorney for Waconia, Chaska, Watertown, Cologne, Young America, and St. Bonifacius, and also did some legal work for Carver County. He has also served as an attorney for many individuals and businesses. Early in his career, he did a lot of trial work, and as the amount of legal business in the firm grew, he did estate planning for many wonderful people.
Paul’s service to his country included serving on active duty in the Army from January to July 1959 and in the Minnesota Army National Guard from December 1958 to December 31, 1989, attaining the rank of Colonel. For the last 12 years, he served in the office of the Minnesota Adjutant General on the capital mall as Judge Advocate General for the Minnesota Army and Air National Guards.
Paul’s community service includes being a co-founder of the Waconia Chamber of Commerce in 1962, acting as its first Secretary and later its President. He also has been a long-time and active member of the Waconia America Legion and the Waconia Lions, having served as Lions president and Secretary, and from which organization he received several awards, including the Melvin Jones Award. Paul is also the past president of the Carver County Historical Society, and as founder and president of the Waconia Heritage Association, he helped publish two books on the history of Waconia. From 1993 to 2005, Paul and Joyce personally strung Christmas lights on 22 trees in City Square Park and on Main Street, after which the city of Waconia took on the task. The gazebo at City Square Park, constructed in 2004, is dedicated in recognition of Paul’s lifetime of service.
Paul and Joyce were both faithful members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Waconia, Paul served as President during the church’s centennial year in 1965; served terms on the Board of Trustees and the Board of Planning; was co-chair of the Building Committee to build the present church building in 1965; headed the historical committee to write Trinity’s 150-year history; and sang in the church choir into his 80s. Joyce was active in the church’s Ruth Guild, and faithfully served on the Altar Guild for many years.
Paul was recognized by Minnesota Lawyer Magazine in 2009, along with four other attorneys in Minnesota, for service to the legal profession, and is a member of the Waconia High School Hall of Fame.
Joyce went home to be with her Lord on May 6, 2023.