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Yesterday in La Crosse

John Paul (the bishop, not the pope) gets a promotion, 52 years ago

Brad Williams



In 1968, the Catholic Diocese of La Crosse named Monsignor John Paul its temporary administrator, while Bishop Frederick Freking was recovering from an illness.  Paul was rector of St. Joseph the Workman Cathedral at the time.  He was an Aquinas graduate, and a former principal at Eau Claire Regis High School.  The church said Freking had a “physical breakdown,” and would spend at least a month resting in Texas.  Paul would be appointed Bishop of La Crosse himself nine years later.  

Cars were cheaper in ’68.  A Mercury Cougar, advertised as a luxury sports car, could be bought for just over $2000.  If you wanted something smaller, but still with an engine, some new Honda motorcycles were priced at less than $300.  

On the tube around Halloween that year, “The Beverly Hillbillies” were visiting a castle they inherited in England.  Napoleon was brought to the 20th century on “Bewitched.”  Endora from “Bewitched,” Agnes Moorehead, did spooky comedy with Boris Karloff on “The Jonathan Winters Show.”  And in perhaps the most suspenseful show of the fall, Richard Nixon eked out a win over Hubert Humphrey in the presidential race, in 1968, yesterday in La Crosse. 

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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