Paul J. McCann
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Polson —When Anne Marie Zwisler accepted a ride to Minneapolis from Chicago with a young and handsome law student named Paul McCann, she was unaware that this trip would be the beginning of a 65 year journey together. During his life with Anne Marie, Paul consistently displayed his love for their family and friends, an appreciation for education, a deep intellectual curiosity, a passion for business, generosity for the communities in which he lived, and an infatuation with the independent and entrepreneurial spirit that defines the West.
His life began in the small farming community of Crookston, Minnesota. He later moved with his family to a farm near Cando, North Dakota. When discussing his childhood with friends, he often said that he "rode the milk cow to school so that I would not have to buy milk at lunch". He attended Saint John's University in Minnesota for two years and then transferred to the University of North Dakota, which enabled him to find work while attending college. Following college, he served in the U.S. Army during WWII. After serving his country, he moved to Chicago to attend law school at Loyola Marymount University while working at the Internal Revenue Service. Chicago changed his life.
There, as a result of his having attended law school, he developed a highly analytical way of thinking. His time at the IRS also gave him some excitement. He had the
opportunity to audit some of Chicago's most infamous criminals of the 1940s and was fond of recalling his adventures prosecuting organized crime. It was also in Chicago that he met Anne Marie, a beautiful young social worker.
While attending law school, he and Anne Marie started their family. They eventually had eight children: William, Thomas, Paul Jr., Miriam, Genet, Timothy, Kathleen, and Sheila. Paul's strong work ethic enabled him to provide for his wonderful family by working as a tax attorney and later as a successful entrepreneur. Paul loved the intellectual challenge, the strong relationships, and the entrepreneurial mindset required to be a successful businessperson. Although he spent much of his time outside the home in order to provide for his large family, he cherished every moment spent with them, so
much so that he would often leave the house just when a plane began boarding, which often resulted in hair-raising races to the airport.
As his children grew he felt strongly that they should pursue higher education. He paid for all eight of his children and many of his grandchildren to attend college and graduate school. He had a special regard for legal education, to the extent his granddaughter, Tori remembers him trying to persuade her to attend law school instead of dental school. When she would not relent, he advised her to pursue both degrees, but to
attend law school first.
Paul's family and friends remember him in constant celebration of life itself. His gregarious nature manifested itself through many cheerful parties. He continued to be
gracious in welcoming friends and family to stay at his home throughout his life and had a habit of inviting people to "have a seat" as a way of initiating conversation.
His abiding love of Montana led him to relocate to the Flathead Valley from Eastern Montana in later years. While overlooking Flathead Lake from his home on Polson Bay, he would reflect on his life with his devoted wife while enjoying the changing of the seasons. He especially appreciated the numerous boating excursions he took with his son and daughter-in-law, Tim and Corinna. His admiration for his fellow Montanans led
him and his wife to create a foundation, which supports children's causes, Catholic organizations, mental healthcare facilities, and other Montana charities.
On June 29, 2013, after saying the rosary with his wife and having a pleasant lunch, Paul passed away in his sleep from a heart attack at home. He was 92. He will be
missed by his wife, Anne Marie, his eight children, his fifteen grandchildren, and his five great-grandchildren. His funeral will be held in Polson at Immaculate Conception Catholic Parish on Friday, July 12, 2013 at 12:00 noon. Messages of condolences may be shared with the family online at www.groganfuneralhome.com.
Published in Great Falls Tribune on July 9, 2013