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Whatever he did, he did for the long haul. C. Paul Lindholm became a lifelong member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, served the American Legion for 70 years and lived out his life in Maple Plain, contributing to the small community through serving on its Park Board.

Lindholm died from complications of Alzheimer's disease on Jan. 27 at 88 after the disease took a sudden turn for the worse shortly after Thanksgiving last year.

The day of his graduation from high school, Lindholm woke up to a telegram his father had placed on his chest asking him to report for duty in the armed forces, said Marlys, Lindholm's wife of 65 years. Lindholm served as a radio operator in the Philippines during World War II and in Japan just after the war.

Lindholm served as commander of the Paul Stinson American Legion Post 514 in Maple Plain and had been a member of the American Legion for 70 years after his father signed him up upon his return from service in the Air Corps.

Gary McPherson, who replaced Lindholm a few years ago as the post's commander, said Lindholm enjoyed leading the Memorial Day services, something he did for 16 years, and also was active in arranging Veterans Day events.

Lindholm would also occasionally buy ties, hats and jackets for members of the post so that the small outfit of about 40 legionnaires was well put-together, McPherson said. "He wanted us to look sharp."

Lindholm also served as president of the American Legion and Auxiliary Heart Foundation for a time and became a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

His involvement in veterans organizations came from his strong belief in the importance of caring for veterans, Marlys said. "He cared a lot about the veterans and the organizations as his father did also," she said.

Also like his father, Lindholm made his career in banking, working at the old Northwestern National Bank and eventually retiring as its senior vice president. He also was chairman and president of the Bank of Maple Plain after his father's death; his son, Peter, now holds that position.

Like his involvement in veterans affairs, Lindholm's interest in banking extended beyond his career. Between 1976 and 1977 he was chairman of the Minnesota Bankers Association, a position Marlys said he was very proud to have.

In his private life, Lindholm was a man of varied interests. "He loved his beekeeping," Marlys said, recounting with laughter how this foray ended after Paul was stung badly, and the bees were carried away in a netted truck.

Paul also enjoyed gardening, Marlys said, and he maintained a garden "as large as a football field."

"The kids would have to go down and help weed it, and they cried," Marlys said, laughing.

He also learned how to smoke 20-pound turkeys in an old fridge he had converted into a smoker, she said.

Paul and Marlys grew up together in Maple Plain, living only one block apart. They began dating shortly after Paul returned from the service.

Paul's was "a life well lived," Marlys said, citing his commitments to family and service as well as his penchant for leadership and fun.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, Paul of Sydney, Australia, and Peter of Medina; a daughter, Elizabeth Pederson of Minneapolis; a brother, Wallace, of Glenwood City, Wis., and six grandchildren. Services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Christ Lutheran Church, 5084 Main St. E., Maple Plain.

Elizabeth Hustad is a University of Minnesota student reporter on assignment for the Star Tribune.