Cover photo for Keith Gonyea's Obituary
Keith Gonyea Profile Photo
1940 Keith 2023

Keith Gonyea

February 10, 1940 — March 29, 2023

Combined Locks

Keith Gonyea, 83, of Combined Locks, passed away on March 29, 2023.
Born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin on February 10, 1940 to Merle and Rita (Pope) Gonyea. The family moved to Barberton, Ohio during World War II then back to Eau Claire area where Keith grew up. A 1958 graduate, he attended Eau Claire Regis and Altoona High School. Keith served three years active duty in the US Army. He received his honorable discharge in June of 1961. He attended Eau Claire Technical Institute, graduating in 1965 with an Associate Degree in electronics. On July 25,1964, he married Charmaine Geissler. They had five children, Todd, Brent, Michelle, Sean and Troy. He and Charmaine later divorced. In October 1973, Keith married Shari Schroeder Paalman. They loved living together in the quiet village of Combined Locks with step-children Joe and Kelly Paalman until her passing in May 2013. 

Keith was active in various sports such as softball, basketball, and football. Also a boxer, skydiver, and a polar bear. But foremost a rugby player until age 50; when he acknowledged the ground was hard and his body soft. He turned to golf. He wrote the original club constitution for the Appleton Rugby Football Club. In 1979, he began work as an Appleton Machine Company electrician, remaining there through a series of takeovers and mergers until his 2008 retirement. As shop chair of the International Association of Machinists Local 747, he helped negotiate six consecutive contracts. He was proud to be a loyal lifelong fan of the Packers and Badgers. He was also a fan of the Bucks, Brewers, Phoenix, and the Kimberly Papermakers. He was first of all a huge fan of his kids, not just for what they did but rather who they became. He admired their spirit of adventure, their idealism, their sense of self. Keith relaxed with his guitar, piano, and writing poetry and silly kids stories. 

Keith is survived by his son Todd (Amy- Dominique, stepchildren Michael and Andy), Minneapolis; son Brent (Brianna-Delila, Keller, and Jasper, stepchildren Iris and Phoenix), Menomonie, Wisconsin; daughter Michelle, New York City; son Sean, Boulder, Colorado; son Troy, Westminster, Colorado; stepson Joe Paalman (Peggy-Logan) Kimberly; stepdaughter Kelly VanZeeland (Roy-BreAnna and Cole) Combined Locks. Also survived by bonus children, Ryan and Cory Huss. He is further survived by brothers Dale (Judee) Rice Lake, Rex (Cindi) Wausau, and sister LeAnn (Dennis McMahon), Eau Claire. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews, and first cousins.

A service will be held for Keith on Sunday, April 2, at 3:00 PM, at Jansen Fargo Funeral Home, 204 E. Kimberly Ave, Kimberly. A visitation will be held prior from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM. In memory of Keith, please consider wear Adidas, Packers, Badgers, or Kimberly Papermakers clothing.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Keith Gonyea, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Sunday, April 2, 2023

1:00 - 3:00 pm (Central time)

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Funeral Service

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Starts at 3:00 pm (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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