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Craftsy Helps Fulfill Paul Schuller’s Wish of a Lifetime

Meet Paul Schuller, a 94-year-old toymaker from Ohio who dreamed of sharing his love for his craft, and the process of doing it, with others. Especially children.

Paul Schuller WIsh of a Lifetime Recipient

Paul grew up in South West Virginia, the son of a coal miner and one of nine children. For him, toys were entertainment. “I always had enough,” Paul says, “and what I didn’t have I made.” And that’s what he would continue to do.

Cut to many years later when Paul was in a hardware store, and found himself suddenly inspired by a simple piece of pipe on the shelf. Who would even think a toy could be made from a piece of plumbing pipe, anyway? Well, that would be Paul, and he would go on to make toys — slide whistles, marshmallow shooters and train whistles — for the next 20 years.

Of course, the real inspiration goes all the way back to Paul’s deep admiration for children. “I love children,” he says. “I wanted to see the smile on their face when they received a whistle — and would want to blow them all day long.”

Paul Schuller and his candy cane whistle

And so, fast forward to January of this year when Mike Schuller learned his father had been nominated for Wish of a Lifetime by one of his doctors. If you’re not familiar, Wish of a Lifetime is an organization that fulfills the dreams of senior citizens. Their mission and vision are simple and pure: to shift the way society views and values our oldest generations by fulfilling seniors’ dreams and sharing their stories to inspire those of all ages.

Unfamiliar with the organization at the time, Mike admitted that although he was thankful for the nomination, his reaction to hearing of it took more of a wait and see outlook. “Given our recent family history dealing with mom’s difficult battle with dementia and the effects on dad, I thought this honor for him was more of just another distraction for me at the time. Boy was I wrong.”

In fact, Mike now says that following Paul’s wish fulfillment, he is still struggling for words to describe what this has meant for him. “He looked a little younger. He walked a little better on his way to dinner. His smile (internal and external) is a bit wider too. Dad is very grateful for everything you did for him.”

Paul Schuller Making a Candy Cane Whistle

Today, having touched countless lives, both young and old, with his love for whistle making, Paul is lovingly known as “The Whistle Man.”

Now’s your chance to watch Paul’s whole story in the video below.

And when you do, be sure to grab the tissues — this one tugs on all the heart strings.

Watch Paul’s wish of a lifetime come true!

Click below to see the three toy-making tutorials that we made with Paul. Who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired to make your own PVC pipe toys!

Watch the Tutorials

Download the Free Instructions

33 Comments

Lorraine Marsh

what a beautiful story and beautiful man your son is so lucky to have a dad like him thank you lorraine

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Sammi

What a GREAT story! Thanks for sharing it with us.

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Hope

Wonderful project to do with my grandson. I’m going to visit him in a couple of weeks and I always like to have crafts that we can do together. I only hope that his parents have a drill. I might need to do that part before I go for the visit.

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Maggie

What a wonderful man . I stopped watching our national news and put this on and WoW I am so glad I did. An honest, caring and loving man who delights making whistles for kids . My spirit is now sparkling!!!!
Thank you Craftsy for sharing this wonderful piece.

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Nancy Feekes

Thank you, Craftsy, for your generosity in providing Mr. Paul with your expertise in interviewing and filming him as he, himself, demonstrates the making of these whistles. I’ve always used Craftsy as my go-to site for various needs and am so proud of your company for taking the time to treat this gentleman as the true gentleman he is….these how-to video tutorials had me beaming from ear to ear as I watched them and listened to Mr. Paul’s gentle and clear instructions and especially the chuckles he emitted every time he blew on his whistles. 🙂 And last, but not least, thank you, Mr. Paul for your love of all children everywhere and for truly blessing all of us with your talents!! God bless you and may you continue to enjoy family, friends and most of all, our children – whom you have blessed time and again with your whistles!

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Jean

This is a wonderful story. What an inspiration this man is. Thank you for all you do to make wishes come true. Thank you for sharing this story. Made me smile and made my day!

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Deb Tyler-Cook

Thank you for sharing Paul’s story.
He has inspired me,to do something good today and always.
Please let him know I am a fan of his and wish him well.

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Cath

This touches my heart. It makes me wonder how many other older folks have a talent or knowledge that will die with them if we don’t document them. We throw away old information in favor of the new and lots of that knowledge has value and is hard to get back. We still can’t figure out how they made the vibrant stained glass in the cathedrals in Europe because that information was lost with the artisans.

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Rebecca A.-at Wish of a Lifetime

Cath,
Your point about the knowledge and value of older adults dying with them is true! Additionally, we as a society take older people for granted instead of valuing their stories and meaningfulness as human beings. At Wish of a Lifetime, we are trying to change that!!! Paul’s story is just one piece of that. Encourage others to change their views about aging and if you have a senior to nominate, go o Wishofalifetime.org! We would love your help changing society!

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Andrea L

Cath,

I know this is a few months later, but I whole heartedly agree with you. I am a former nurse and worked several years with the elderly in both hospital and nursing homes setting. The best part of my job was listening to the stories they had. I will never forget an Alzheimer’s patient who couldn’t tel me his story, but a few days after his death, his story was front page news! I will never forget sitting with my mother while she read the paper and was stunned when she exclaimed her sadness at this man’s passing and what a wonderful person he was and how much he had accomplished in life. Despite losing one leg, he was still known as an “energetic” and wonderful dancer! I had know idea my mother knew so many if my patients! But because of a news article I got to learn who this man had been before he could no longer tell his story. I felt so blessed to have become part his. It’s tragic and heartbreaking that our elderly are as treated as “throw-a-ways when we, as a society, are so much in their debt. Their past is our heritage and we are their legacy.

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Sandy

Just a cool project on every level! Good Job Craftsy

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Nadia

Loved it, it would great if he could teach a class to the little ones

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Cindy

What a nice story to be shared with others.Wish of a Lifetime is a generous gift for others.Thank you

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Kganello

I would like to send Paul a thank you for sharing his toy making skills, and to Craftsy for the tutorials. I will be making my granddaughter a whistle. Thank you!!

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Dona

What a wonderful, uplifting story. Way to go Craftsy!

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Kathleen Kingsbury

A lovely tribute. Very touching.

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Judy

Wonderful.. ..

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Liz

INSPIRATIONAL! What a lovely person! Thanks for sharing this story.

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Stephanie

An amazing story! Yet another reason why I absolutely love Craftsy! You bring the joy and skills of so many crafts to so many, using the very best online format, at a great price. You also bring crafters together, to share tips, our projects, our struggles and the magic that crafts bring to us all. Thank you so much for truly making my life better and more fulfilled!

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Elizabeth

What a wonderful Maker, truly inspiring story! Now to watch more videos!

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Rochelle

How touching. What a wonderful tribute. I love his laugh and the joy you can’t help but to feel whenever he laughs or smiles. Thank you Craftsy for sharing such a great story.

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Michele

This is priceless. What a precious man, and what genuinely fun, wholesome toys!
Thank you, Craftsy for making known this inspiring story, and the worthwhile organization that made it possible. Smiling from my heart! 😀

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Celia Barry

What a delightful man! Thank you for helping to ensure that his love of making toys for children will live on…

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Traci

Wow Craftsy! Thank you for helping make Mr. Schuller’s dream come true. I looked at the picture and saw my grandfather in him. After watching the video his mannerisms resembled him too. Brought tears to my eyes! He was always a tinkerer and loved my company as a child. I miss him. It is so great to be able to document such a great man as this. Men and women like him are the true heroes of our lives and they are so easily forgotten.

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Catherine

Love those whistles!!!
Maybe I could make one. Thanks Paul, whistle man for sharing!

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M B Stevens

Thank you Craftsy for stepping up and telling Paul’s story, and sharing his crafting skills. It would be wonderful to have a “Telling Their Crafting Stories” documentation program to preserve these wonderful stories and skills!

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LISA L ENOS

What a wonderful thing! I am so happy to see Mr. Paul smile, this is what life is about, sharing, caring, smiling. Mr. Paul is too, cute.

God Bless!

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Kim McCloskey

Thank you Paul Schuller for sharing your inspiring story and for your instructions on whistle making. My grandchildren will have whistles designed by you which means your legacy and memory will continue on.

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Penny Friedman

What a great story, thanks Paul for sharing it with us!

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laurelei

Oh, heaven help me. Watching Paul brought back so many memories of my grandmother. I miss her so much. What a lovely gift to his family, and the world. And what a lovely legacy he has made. Thank you, Craftsy, for giving us this, and thank you, Wish of a Lifetime, for granting the best kind of wishes.

Shout out to all the West Virginia coal miners and their families, shout out to West Virginia coal mining unincorporated town Ottowa, and the wonderful people who still chisel out a life in the embrace of the mountains. May the Union never fall, may your winters be easy, may your gardens be bountiful, and may the fellas wash the coal dust off before they sit on your good furniture. God bless.

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Cathy

Thank you for sharing, Paul! What a wonderful story; I have shared it with my friends in Central New York!

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