Belleville / Fitchburg: Paul Arthur Natzke was born December 18, 2001 and died Saturday, August 19, 2017 at American Family Children's Hospital. Paul resided in Belleville and Fitchburg, and attended Belleville Elementary and Intermediate Schools and Verona High School.
Paul was active in sports, and was especially proud to be one of the first members of the Wisconsin youth sled hockey team, now known as the Wisconsin Skeeters. Paul did not let his lack of mobility slow him down, also participating on the Verona High School track team, swimming, skiing, bowling and waterskiing. He was always eager and willing to try new things, and his smile, red hair and his wheelchair opened many doors for him. Paul was an active member of the Spina Bifida Family Network, a group of families in the Madison area. He loved holding babies and playing with younger kids.
Paul was often the only person in the room, crowd or school in a wheelchair and he was able to change the way people thought about kids with disabilities. Anyone that met Paulie was his friend, and he had the ability to disarm people who were apprehensive about his disability. Somehow doors always opened and opportunities would present themselves. Paul would charge through the door and take the opportunities whenever he could.
He was a fan of all Badger athletics, but especially Women's Hockey. Paul formed a special bond with members of this team while playing wheelchair hockey at the Shell in Madison, where the members of the Women's team would push him. He was exceptional at needing help from the women in these situations. He was an avid Brewers fan that every single April knew that this was the year for them to go to the World Series and no one could tell him otherwise.
He enjoyed watching the Packers. For several years he was the ambassador for American Family Children's Hospital at Mike McCarthy's golf outing in Oregon, WI. He would sit at one of the par 3 holes and help coerce the golfers to pay to "beat the pro". He was able to chat with many players and coaches, and took the opportunity to wear Super Bowl and All-Star rings from many alumni players.
Paul attended camp every summer, often more than one each year and loved the new people he met there. Over the years he enjoyed Baycliff Health Camp in Michigan, Spirit Camp in Minnesota, Camp Courage in Colorado, Camp Wawbeek in Wisconsin Dells and Grandma Camp with his crazy Grandma Sue.
Paul is survived by his parents, Jim and Kathie, his sister, Paige and his dog, Stella. He is further survived by his Grandparents, Ken and Sue Kiesau and Ken and Joyce Natzke, and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.
An informal celebration of Paul's life will be held from 11:00 am until 5:00 pm, Sunday, August 27, 2017 at Cress Funeral Home, 6021 University Avenue, Madison. Sports attire is encouraged. Please bring your stories and photos about Paul to share.
Special thanks to Dr. Benny in Pediatric Neurosurgery, the amazing nurses, therapists, tutors, teachers, coaches, instructors, camp counselors, neighbors, friends, and medical doctors that have been with us every step of the way, and who helped Paulie live a very full life. There are hundreds of people that made Paul such an awesome person, and we hope his celebration is an honor to all of them, whether they can attend or not.
His parents ask that in lieu of flowers or gifts, donations will be directed to the Wisconsin Skeeters sled hockey team. An account is being set up at Oak Bank in Fitchburg, WI. Please share a memory.
6021 University Ave.
Madison, WI 53705
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I started to think maybe you all and Paul, because of the length of time apart, have a fresh snapshot in your minds of how much you love each other. That you got it all out when you saw him again saying everything you wanted to say because you missed each other so much over the 7 weeks.
And I thought about life. Bay Cliff is a place where people off all abilities live life to the fullest. I can promise you that Paul lived everyday intentionally and fully everyday for those 7 weeks.
I will never forget Paul. Bay Cliff will never forget Paul. He will be in our hearts forever and his memory lives on.
Dear Natzke family,
My deepest heartfelt condolences over the loss of Paul. I was back at Bay Cliff for Adult Camp when I heard the news. I couldn't help but imagine Paul, rolling around the grounds--off to a job or pool or activity--he was so full of life.
I spent some quality time with him while he had strep throat. He requested "The Carrs" radio on Pandora, and we jammed out for hours and I swear he knew the lyrics to all the songs...We chatted about school. About him going home to a newly remodeled house. We talked about Jesus.
Paul was the same kid that came to me the end of the first week holding back tears saying "this isn't for me" and homesick needing encouragement; and left camp as an encourager to younger campers who looked up to him. He told me he'd be back next year.
At first I was really mad for you all, maybe thinking that you regretted his time spent at Bay Cliff. Hoping you didn't think we stole any precious time. But I've thought about that differently lately. I started to think maybe you all and maybe Pau
Dear Jim and Kathie,
I'm so sorry to hear about your devastating loss. What an unbelievable young man with such amazing accomplishments in just too short of a time - you must be so proud of Paul. Jim, I'll never forget the kindness and patience you offered me when I started at RK many years ago - it sounds like your son was a true reflection of you.
With deepest sympathy,
Amanda Gershberg Cocheo
I didn't have the opportunity to know Paul or his family, but I was very moved by his obituary. I am terribly sorry for your loss.
I didn't have the opportunity to meet Paul, but I attend UW-Madison with his parents. Knowing them tells me what a wonderful young man I imagine Paul to be and what a loss this is to all who know and love him. Prayers to the Natzke family.
We have known the Natzke Family since Paul was about 3 years old. A support group called Spina Bifida Family Network brought our families together. It was a pleasure to see Paul grow up to be such an inspiration to the other kids from our group. Always active, always trying new things, always smiling. We will miss him very much. SBFN won't be the same without him. RIP Paul.
My daughter Amanda Dreger who goes to Verona high school is a senior , she said Paul was nice always talking to everyone ,he will be missed at Verona high school , but they will always remember Paul smile in the hallways , our deepest symaphty as you deal with the loss ,
We are so sorry to hear about Paul. He was such a wonderful advocate for American Family Children's Hospital! Our thoughts are prayers are with you.
Photos of Paul at the Mike and Jessica McCarthy Golf Invitational benefitting American Family Children's Hospital.
We will greatly miss seeing Paul at the Mike & Jessica McCarthy Golf Invitational for American Family Children's Hospital each year. The 2016 event just wasn't the same without him, and we were so happy to have him back this year. What's most memorable for us is how Paul won the 50/50 raffle and donated the money right back to the children's hospital to support the Child Life Program. To the Natzke Family - you are in our thoughts.
Paul is an extraordinary young man, he touched so many lives in his life time. Paul is a celebration.
Paul, we only met a few times at Swim West during C.I. O.T. sessions where I was bringing my son Sam. Sam was encouraged by you with actions and words. I can't tell you what that meant to me as a nervous mother. Kathie, you also took the time to chat with me and I appreciated your wisdom beyond words. Paul is an incredible young man who seems to have lived his life to the absolute fullest. I am truly sorry for your loss. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Though I did not know Paul, his life was clearly the reflection of a loving family. Bless your hearts.
We were so lucky to know Paul and having him one of the "backyard" kids. Paulie brought curiosity, a huge smile and joy to us. Favorite memories are when the kids were all younger and he would come over, knock on the patio door and ask Liz and Zange to come out, or better yet, just yelling "Zange" across the hedges for her to meet him. They always ran over because he was a good friend to them. Paige, Jim and Kathie: our hearts go out to you. The O's
This red headed young man made me a better teacher and an even better person. I am so lucky that he wheeled his way into my life. I will be eternally thankful that our paths crossed. I will so miss you, Paul. Much love, Ms Patti (Halverson)
My deepest sympathy to Paul's family. Elaine Anderson, Brandon Graves grandmother.
Our sincere sympathy yo you and your family. Joyce and Lyle Hoagland. Parents of Emily Delles.
My absolute favorite day on the boat ever.
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