Leonard Paul Hugen (Paul) was the first of three children born to Leonard Frank and Madonna (Trinkle) Hugen. He was born on November 23, 1932, in Bussey, IA. He lived a classic Iowa childhood in the small town with his parents and younger sister, Doris. Some of his favorite memories of childhood were the Bussey 4th of July celebrations and time spent with friends. He often told stories about both to this family. To everyones surprise, his youngest sibling, Michael was born when Paul was 19.
After high school, Paul spent a couple years studying at the Iowa State Teacher’s College, now known as University of Northern Iowa. His plans changed when he and a friend decided to join the Army during the Korean War. Paul was stationed with the 101st Airborne of Fort Campbell, KY, where he was a paratrooper. One of the proudest days of his life was when his grandson, Joe, followed in his footsteps and joined the Army, and was granted his first choice to also be stationed at Fort Campbell, KY.
When the war ended, Paul returned home to Bussey. He reunited with friends and worked various jobs, but opportunity was scarce in the area. That prompted Paul to make the decision to move to Chicago and work for Amway – a decision that would change his life forever. In Chicago, Paul met the woman who was the love of his life, Mary Agnes Howard. Mary was working as a receptionist when the pair began dating, but after 6 months, she had an opportunity to go to stewardess training. Over dinner one evening in Chicago, she told Paul that she was going to become a stewardess and wasn’t sure what it meant for their future. She told Paul she had to make a life for herself. Paul replied, “Make your life with me”, and as Paul himself would often say, the rest was history. The devoted couple married in 1958 and moved into an apartment together, along with Mary’s mother, Margaret.
A few years later, the first of their four beloved children was born. Angela was born in Arlington Heights, IL, followed a few years later by Ken. The family then moved to Wisconsin, where Rachel was born, followed soon after by Joan. Not long after that, Paul moved the family back to Bussey. Money was tight raising four kids but the family embraced their life in the tiny town, even though their stay there was short. Paul soon got a job at the radio station in Knoxville, and moved the family to a housing development called Park Hills, just outside of Otley. Paul and Mary raised their family in the cedar home on Roberts Creek Lake until all four children graduated from Pella High.
After leaving the radio station, Paul got a job as a salesman for Vermeer Manufacturing Company in Pella. Paul was a natural born salesman and quickly realized this was the career he had been searching for. Charismatic and charming, he became the Master of Ceremonies for all the dealer events and sales meetings the company had, in Iowa and across the country. He was in his element as host of these events, mixing humor and spirit into them. Paul, or “Huggy Bear” as he was known at Vermeer, was a regular Johnny Carson. Another great source of pride and joy was when his son, Ken, joined the company as a salesman for the California dealership. Like his dad, Ken made his mark with the company as well and the pair often spent time working together and going to events. His daughter, Rachel, worked for over 20 years at the factory headquarters in Pella, as a Technical Writer, and worked together on one of Paul’s last MC jobs. Both Ken and Rachel would rarely go more than a week without hearing someone mention what a great man their father was. Paul’s illustrious career at Vermeer lasted for 30 years, until he retired in 2000.
Paul loved college football, specifically the Iowa Hawkeyes, and he and Mary shared a love of the Chicago Cubs. He loved a good Brandy Manhattan, or two or three. He loved cars. Driving them, looking at them, and talking about them. He loved all four of his children with all he had. When his grandchildren came along and eventually great grandchildren, he loved them with the same gusto. He was a wonderful father, friend, and man. But above all, he loved his Mary. This amazing couple remained devoted and happy together for nearly 40 years, quick to laugh with one another. They were true partners, until Mary passed in 2003. He never really recovered from Mary’s passing, but he always had a smile on his face when spending time with his family. Paul developed Alzheimer’s in the last 5 years of his life, but never forgot his true love. Shortly before he died, he asked Ken if he was going to see Mary soon. Ken said yes. He replied “That pleases me”. Paul passed from complications of a stroke on May 29, 2017, in Tracy, California.
Paul leaves his four children and their families: Angela and Jane (Longtin) Hugen of Minneapolis, MN, Foster daughters Sandra and Nancy; Ken and Deana (Evans) Hugen of Tracy, CA, Travis, Christopher, Olivia Hugen and Chris Johnson Handley; Rachel and Dirk Rietveld of Pella, IA, Anna, Joseph and Shayla Rietveld of Otley, IA, Hayden, Owen; Joan and Chad Nagel of Ankeny, IA, Maggie, Abby.
Paul leaves his sister, Doris Klun and her husband, Rick, of Show Low, AZ, and their son, Mark.
Paul is preceded in death by his wife, Mary, his grandson, Travis Hugen, his parents, Leonard and Madonna Hugen, and his brother, Michael.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, July 13, at the Pella Community Center, Room 206, Pella, IA, with the family present from 5 to 8 pm. Funeral Service will be held at the Bussey United Methodist Church in Bussey, IA, on Friday, July 14, at 10:30 am. A light lunch will follow.