131207_20wc_seifert

Herman Seifert

Rome has Michelangelo. St. Joseph has Herman Seufert.

While he's yet to depict the creation story, Mr. Seufert's paint brush has helped brighten places of worship of various denominations around St. Joseph.

"I'm the best painter in town... and the cheapest," Mr. Seufert, 86, said.

A father of nine and grandfather of 15, Mr. Seufert is known as a man who loves to work and is dedicated to his craft. He shows less dedication to the bill-collecting aspect of his projects, which is one reason why his work has been in high demand among churches and private citizens who need an affordable painter or handyman.

"Sometimes they pay, sometimes they don't," Mr. Seufert said with a shrug. "If it's a little job, I go out and help."

By his estimate, Mr. Seufert has painted 15 churches and more than 1,000 homes. He has twice painted St. Joseph Cathedral, where he served as a maintenance employee for 30 years, along with St. Patrick, St. Mary, St. Joseph in Easton, Mo., and churches in Wathena and Troy, Kan.

He got started painting churches with his father, who fought for Germany in World War I and then came to the United States. Mr. Seufert served in the U.S. armed forced in World War II and the Korean War, before a long railroad career with Rock Island and Burlington Northern.

His own home burned down three years ago, but that hasn't changed his positive outlook.

"There's a lot of jobs out there," Mr. Seufert said. "There's a lot of things you do in life."