Paul Temple: A Life Enjoyed

What you should know about my friend and what we’ll all miss

We lost a friend this week. He left us too fast, too soon. My friend Paul Temple, who saved my life, has died. Our thoughts and energies are with his partner Molly (who also saved my life) and their young son Jack, the center of their universe.

In relation to Paul’s many friends and colleagues, I’ve known him and Molly for only a short time. It’s our favorite story to tell when we introduce each other to new friends: Paul and I met about this time in 2010 in an Internet chat room where mostly grown men talked about “pounding and squeezing”. That really refers to rivets and jigs for an airplane, but what an opening line–and Paul relished the dirty prose of it all, followed by a smile and a mischievous chuckle.

The viewer roster for DreamBuildFly. Paul’s screen name was “PT”. File

Paul and I weren’t lurkers: I was moderating an internet chat room for a weekly Livestream of an airplane build in a friend’s basement in Oshkosh. Paul was a regular and we soon discovered we both lived in Madison. We stayed in touch, and by the next summer my personal life was disintegrating. That’s when Molly and Paul extended a lifeline.

By late summer of 2011 I was spending Sunday afternoons at their Schenk’s Corners apartment in a structurally-suspect easy chair talking sports, especially fantasy football, while dodging random swats from their mercurial cat Misty.

I adored these two. They watched sports together and operated multiple fantasy teams across several sports. From their sojourn in Chicago, they acquired some “complicated” sports allegiances; but I could live with it. I think Paul and Molly would be proud to know that after recently explaining NFL training camp to my six-year-old, he now keeps asking me if today is the day the Packers are cutting down from 85 to 80 players.

Paul carries on the tradition with Jack. It is unknown if in this photo they are analyzing fantasy stats. Temple Family

But it wasn’t all sportsball. We also talked politics and pop culture, eventually discovering that in 2004 during some of Paul’s political work we may have crossed paths when I was flying then-Senator Herb Kohl to Appleton, Wisconsin for a rally with Presidential Candidate John Kerry.

They also occupied an apartment at the end of the block where my parents live. Cosmically we knew each other much sooner.

Paul had an incisive wit, an expansive mind and asked great, probing conversation-starting questions. I highly respected his perspective, as he demanded the highest out of our representatives, even the ones he voted for.

With Paul, it was mostly about the planes. I don’t know how long Paul had desired to be in the skies but in 2011 he was close to beginning actual lessons and I cheered him on. 

We also made plans: someday we would own or build an airplane together. As the airline portion of my career ramped up I would get random emails from Paul with links to aircraft he found in Trade-A-Plane or Barnstormers. It was a not-so-subtle suggestion that he had not forgotten my promise. One day he’d want to build a Zenith, then a Sonex Waiex because it had folding wings that better fit a Madison garage, then he’d spot a good deal on an Ercoupe, then it was a Cessna 172 hangared at an airstrip on the edge of town. The man oozed rivets and 100LL.

Paul Temple soloed in June 2017, a proud moment for all aviators. Temple Family

When Paul and Molly bought their house on the East Side of Madison, we of course scoped the garage for its potential as an airplane womb.

I found love again and soon I was on the precipice of marriage. In usual airline fashion, I started an almost-wedding-day morning in some distant east coast city. Once released, I still had to find a way home. There I was at Chicago-O’Hare, running out of space-available seats and running out of time as my fellow “bachelor” party attendees fell by the wayside as the evening faded.

A Facebook post where I remind Paul where we should meet soon. Paul was skilled at expressing himself through memes. File

Paul never wavered. After a bus ride to Madison, he picked me up in the Suzuki of Justice (my favorite name for a car) and whisked me to my apartment so I could wash off the air transportation system. 

By 10 pm we were at the Tornado Room, a tradition that would live on with us well after the bachelor party was just a memory. It mattered little that John O’Hurley sat next to us following his show at the Overture.

A few days later Paul and Molly would stand with me and my wife Jamie as we began a new journey that has yielded two young sons. Paul and Molly made us pledge that despite my vocation we would stay in Madison and never leave as they were just finalizing their new house. We are so grateful for the bond we formed with them.

And they were there for us, especially during my long absences when the kids were in the infant and toddler stages and Jamie was struggling to find the energy. In 2018 we were ecstatic to learn that baby Jack would be coming along. Also born that year was Paul’s greatest aviation triumph; he earned his Private Pilot License. 

Having experienced the many fits and starts of student pilot training from scheduling to instructor availability he persevered. I would be fortunate enough to fly with him a few months later at Morey Field in Middleton. It would be the only time we flew together. He let me try a few landings since I was used to much bigger planes and wasn’t current on light aircraft. I leveled off just a bit high almost every time but he was patient with me. In those early hours of his flight experience, I saw in him as a careful, instinctive aviator that would make a great instructor someday.

Paul was always willing to help no matter the time or place. File

This spring things were looking great for everyone after long periods apart from our friends. Capacity limits were increasing, and Paul and I met at a Sushi place on Willy Street and feasted. Of course, we talked airplanes, life, and a new organization (Willa Brown Aviation Academy) I was starting to introduce aviation to underserved youth in Madison.

Paul and Molly had already done a ton of leg-work for the organization. Molly researched the Willa Brown family; Paul worked with me to help secure permission from them to use her name for our organization. They donated financial resources and talent to help cover the legal costs of creating our corporate and 501(c)3 certifications. We would not have been able to stand up a brand new organization and launch such complex programming, in the middle of a pandemic, without their help.

Paul, Molly, and her sister Allie with Jack attending one of his first Cub’s games. The Temple Family

I last exchanged texts with Paul a week ago on the morning our aviation camp began. I showed him some of the last-minute legal paperwork he helped create was working just fine. He “liked” the text, which was tantamount to approval. He did that for many of our textersations. His GIF and Meme game was exceptional.

It was the same on social media, whether it was a joke or a stale pop-culture reference. I may have been posting for a broad audience, but it was really an audience of one.  I always looked for that “like” from Paul, because immediately I could see his broad smile and hear his wonderful laugh.

And then he was gone. But approval came once more in the form of one last gift from the gods to Paul, Molly, and Jack on the day of Paul’s passing…

Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Cubs Win!

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Isthmus Rail Crossings Spared From Closure

OCR says times have changed since railroad first petitioned to close crossings

The railroad crossing at Livingston Street has been marked for closure since 2012 but has now been spared along with Brearly Street.

The saga of the fate of several railroad crossings on Madison’s isthmus may be over, for now. In an order signed today (March 26) by the Wisconsin Commissioner of Railroads (OCR), a petition to close rail crossings at Livingston, Blount, and Brearly Streets by Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Company (WSOR) was dismissed after a legal battle with the City of Madison had stagnated along with changing conditions adjacent to the tracks.

In dismissing the petition, Wisconsin Commissioner of Railroads Yash P. Wadhwa cited active development at the Livingston Street crossing as well as outdated evidence that supported the original petition as a reason to end the current legal process and invite all involved to keep working together voluntarily to improve the corridor.

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Monster 2016 Willy Street Fair Parade Gallery


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Willy Street May Become a ‘Bus-ling’ Corridor

Alder wants Metro to study making temporary route permanent

Will the old pavement not be the only thing gone from Jenifer after reconstruction is finished?

Will the old pavement not be the only thing gone from Jenifer Street after reconstruction is finished?

Any traveler on Willy Street, be it by foot, bicycle or horseless carriage, knows it just takes more time to negotiate the heavily utilized thoroughfare; choked with traffic that barely makes it to the posted speed limit except during rush hours.

Conversely, the traffic flows much more freely on Jenifer Street,  a street that once held trolley cars. Now devoid of stop signs for six blocks, it is a veritable expressway that holds bicycles, buses and transient cars that try to escape Willy and their own speed control.

Traffic on Jenifer is too darn fast, it has always been over the last four decades of my own existence living on or nearby. But the reconstruction is bringing about a rare opportunity to test a thought neighbors have been having for years: Moving the bus routes to Williamson.

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Like a Phoenix — 1018 Williamson

What’s happening with that abandoned house on Willy Street?

Brandon Cook purchased 1018 Willamson after the home was given a reprieve from demolition if a buyer could be found. Photo by: Gary Tipler

Brandon Cook purchased 1018 Willamson after the home was given a reprieve from demolition if a buyer could be found. Photo by: Gary Tipler

Many of us have noted the recent changes to the formerly abandoned 1890s house at 1018 Williamson. It’s the doings of Brandon Cook who has an unmitigated enthusiasm for renovating old buildings.

Most people would wonder, why did 1018 Williamson appeal to Brandon – a building that had been both gutted and derelict for about 24 years? The house had “good bones” but needed someone committed to renovating it.

“When I first looked inside, I thought, this could be great. What a fantastic opportunity to redo everything. What needed to be done was very clear. And I could put it back together to the best of my ability. I had an accepted offer within an hour,” Cook said. “Everything about this project is a labor of love. How can I make the best installations?”

Brandon closed on the property in 1018 Williamson in March, 2015, and began planning the renovation. He and his architect Doug Pahl of Aro Eberle put together a plan for two, two-story apartments — a second floor flat with the attic and the ground floor coupled with a finished basement. It included a rear addition as most houses in the neighborhood historically have them.

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New Reporter to Expand Reach of Willy Street Blog

Hire part of new focus after recent headquarters relocation

Recently, Willy Street Blog has undergone a deliberative process to realign editorial focus following a change in permanent headquarters in February.  As part of this process, we are pleased to announce at 12:08 a.m. April 11, 2016 the addition of Silas Faisal Guyot (8 lbs. 19 inches) as Assistant Editor in charge of our Nuclear Family Desk.

Silas was recently named the 2016 Marcia Brady Fellow at the prestigious Sibling Rivalry School at the University of Southern North Dakota. His groundbreaking thesis on the link between the 1970s children’s program “New Zoo Revue” and the Cabbage Patch as an acceptable dance move in America has already cemented his status as a leading light in child development reporting.

“Reporters are not made, they are born, said Willy Street Blog Editor Fareed Guyot. “We are fortunate to have Silas on our team considering his glittering credentials.”

At the Willy Street Blog, Silas will focus on topics that will probe the root causes of vexing sibling issues such as: Whose toy is it really? Why he won’t stop bothering me? And if “mom truly loves me more than you”.

WSB’s Infant Sustainability Bureau Editor and brother Salah was effusive in his praise after meeting his new co-worker.

“I’m older than you”, Salah said.

Willy Street Blog Art Director Jamie Guyot did not comment, as is her policy, but was seen with a glowing smile following the announcement and is doing fine.

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Warning of a Treepocalypse

Jenifer residents hopeful some trees can still be saved

Will the Jenifer Street tree canopy survive reconstruction and a short-sighted City tree policy?

Will the Jenifer Street tree canopy survive reconstruction and a short-sighted City tree policy?

City of Madison forestry crews have begun to trim trees on Jenifer street ahead of a four block reconstruction project that will last most of the year. Forty two trees are slated for removal. Many are being removed because they are being ravaged by the Emerald Ash Borer or may be at risk.

In the face of the loss of legacy trees comes pushback from residents over the City’s policy on replacing those trees with a species that grows no taller than the base of the power lines. Lifelong residents and newer arrivals are fighting like mad as the idyllic beauty of the street is being threatened by a functional policy that takes a tactical rather than strategic view.

A silent protest arose on the 800 and 900 block of Jenifer recently as signs affixed to many of the condemned trees sought to remind residents of the coming of a possible treepocalypse.

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Adjusting Focus

Willy Street Blog is confronted by geography

The Willy Street Blog may be zooming out, but will always keep 'the street' in the frame.

The Willy Street Blog may be zooming out, but will always keep ‘the street’ in the frame.

In about two weeks the Willy Street Blog will celebrate four years of chronicling Near East Side life. It hasn’t been the definitive voice of the neighborhood as I, the only writer on staff, have focused on ubran development, impacts of city projects in the neighborhood and our glorious leisure businesses and community events.

For the Willy Street area that is a lot to cover and I have focused on what I felt was quite interesting and consequential to our neighborhood and honestly, what I have had time for. Lately I have not had much time for anything and that is what this post is about.

I was born and formatively influenced in this neighborhood. For the last forty-plus years I have on and off lived within it’s “mom always wants you to visit” embrace. It has been my permanent home and the identity I have represented to others throughout my whole life.

Seeing the Williamson-Marquette neighborhood evolve into the most enviable place to live, and for many just be; is ratification of the efforts of my elders and their progeny. We never stopped loving this place when the rest of the city, at times, smirked and chortled.

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Chances Dwindling To Influence Jenifer Street Reconstruction

Neighborhood seeks to change scope of construction with recommendations

Jeni10The Marquette Neighborhood Association (MNA) will consider tonight (7:00 p.m.) several proposals deal with the impact of the Jenifer Street Reconstruction project that will begin this summer. The MNA Traffic Committee met Monday and debated a range of issues, some related to the construction, others regarding the legacy the construction will leave behind.

During construction, bus service will have to be rerouted. Currently as many as four routes traverse Jenifer Street and Madison Metro’s latest proposal has the bus routes moved to East Washington Avenue. The general sentiment has been that this solution is easiest for Metro and rather inconvenient for neighborhood residents who utilize this service heavily.

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Saving Trees From the Ground Up

Proposal would allow higher tree heights on terraces currently limited by powerlines


The Guyot house (right) has had this power pedestal outside their home since they undergrounded their power lateral in the late 1970s. MNA is considering a proposal to underground the primary power lines to maintain the high tree canopy which is threatened by MG&E’s tree planting policy.

The once-delayed major reconstruction or a four block stretch of Jenifer Street is moving forward again but residents are still working to blunt the impact of what may be stark changes to the look and function of the street.

The most recent initiative from neighbors is to advocate for the undergrounding of the primary power lines to help maintain the current tree canopy. The fabled canopy is under a dual threat from forced removal of trees due to the Emerald Ash Borer and any replacement trees being of a species that grows no higher than below the current power lines.

The Marquette Neighborhood Association Board (MNA) will vote this week via email to forward a recommendation to the City of Madison to include partial undergrounding of the primary power lines to help preserve the tree canopy. The initiative grew out of a series of meetings on the Jenifer reconstruction that have been held in the past months by MNA.

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