Well, Golden has lost another gem, a man who looked around each day, wondering what he could do that would make the world a better place to live, work and play.
Paul Hambruch was born in Frankfurt, Germany on April 6, 1927, the youngest of a family of 3 and while he was still a small boy his father passed away, leaving his mother to care for her small family. Paul’s mother made the decision to take her children to live with her parents in Baden Baden, where in time she met and remarried.
Paul emigrated to Canada in 1953. In 1956 he made the trip back to Germany to bring his wife Ingrid and daughter Sabine. Christoph was born in Canada in 1957.
I first met Paul and Ingrid when they opened the flower shop in Golden, as I’m sure many of you did as well. They offered expert knowledge of plants and flowers and exceptional customer service, something that is lacking these days.
But while I knew who they were I didn’t really know either of them until the Historical Society was looking for more information on the new Columbia Basin Trust and asked me to look into it.
Paul was the speaker that they sent to one of our meetings to make a presentation of the information. As the meeting time approached we didn’t have a quorum. Paul was determined to give his talk and asked “how many more people do you need and how much is membership?” I said one more person and $10.00. He paid his membership on the spot. Our meeting went ahead and he gave an excellent presentation.
While most of you think that having a museum is important, many of you have paid your dues to help the museum to continue and then never come to meetings so imagine my surprise when Paul was at the next meeting.
Soon he was taking on several jobs, the most important one for the Historical Society was the position of treasurer. He took our books, made sense of them and then worked really hard to get me employed year round.
At each special event or as new members arrived Paul took pleasure in taking them into the main gallery of the museum to show them the old CPR waiting bench. It sat under the big eave at the old Station and Paul’s first night in the Columbia Valley was spend sleeping on it as he awaited his sponsor who was coming from Brisco to pick him up.
He was familiar with digging ditches, which was a good thing because one of the first jobs that he worked on when he arrived in Brisco was digging ditches for a community water system. During one of the community events held at the Golden Museum someone backed their truck over one of our water spigots and Paul said I’ll fix that. The brought over his shovel and started digging – down 4 feet and then back 4 feet the connection. He fixed it all up and thru the dirt back in, apologizing for taking so much time. He was 75 at the time.
Soon he was bringing Ingrid with him to meetings and she too, helped anyway she could.
They worked tirelessly together and one of my favorite memories of them was when I was picking up one of my children from the bus station.
It was late in the evening and there was Ingrid waiting for Paul to come home after being away for 4 days, I think he was at one of the granddaughters houses building something.
Anyway, Ingrid explained that they hadn’t spent many nights apart and she would certainly be glad to see him. Straight off the bus, he was looking for her and when he found her, he kissed her soundly and squeezed her hard. I remember going straight home to tell Gino that I hoped he was that happy to see me after 50 years.
Paul actions were the true definition of a community volunteer.
It’s easy to say that you are an involved community member but to put your words into actions is something we rarely see. Paul never asked why someone else didn’t do something about something that needed done – he just did it and we were all richer for it.