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River Falls pastor tumbles from ladder and dies

The Rev. Paul Schmeling

The Rev. Paul Schmeling, who headed the Faith Lutheran Church congregation in River Falls for 18 years, died Memorial Day after falling from a ladder while trimming a tree.

An investigator revealed that Schmeling fell about eight feet while trimming a branch from a tree in the church parsonage yard.

He was taken by ambulance to River Falls Area Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Funeral services are to be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Faith Lutheran.

Visitations are scheduled for 3-7 p.m. Friday and 9-11 a.m. Saturday. There will be a community memorial service at 7 p.m. Friday.

All services for Schmeling will take place at Faith Lutheran.

He leaves behind a wife and four adult children.

His wife, Beth, said that her husband's death was a shock to everyone.

"The thing we want to make very, very obvious is that he practiced what he preached," Beth said regarding the memorial services. "He knew that he was going to heaven. He was very enthusiastic about preaching the word of God."