Professor memorializes friend with padlock on Paris bridge

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Father Michael Class met Janet Gottfried at Marquette University more than 15 years ago -- he a professor and she a project leader in the Office of the University Architect.

"She was my best friend in Milwaukee," said Class. "She kind of adopted me, a guy from out of town, and introduced me to her family and would include me in family events and things. Just a wonderful, caring person."

When Gottfriend passed away from ovarian cancer in February, Class knew he wanted to do something special to honor his dear friend. He happened upon an article that mentioned the Pone Des Artes, a famous bridge in Paris.

"Generally couples, when they get engaged or are celebrating an anniversary or something, got a padlock and wrote their names on it, and they locked it to a bridge and threw the keys into the river," said Class. "This lock would be there forever."

Just a week after reading the article, Class took a planned trip to Paris with Interim President Father Robert Wild. He said Janet always wanted to visit , so he decided to memorialize her there.

Father Class bought a lock and had it engraved. One side reading "Janet. M Gottfried" and the other side "Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, USA" because, Class said, Gottfriend was very proud of her community.

"Really a lot of fun to memorialize her in that way," said Class.

Although most of the locks on the bridge have names written on them in marker, Class said he wanted to engrave Janet's lock so it would last.