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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Keith Earle Comeaux

Issue Date: June 17, 2021

Keith Earle Comeaux, age 97, of Marinette, passed away peacefully at his home on June 12, 2021.

He was born June 25, 1923 to Lloyd and Hermine Comeaux in Medford, Wisconsin. The family later moved to Colby, where he graduated from high school in 1941.

After graduation, he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps, a government project to provide work for young people and improve the national parks. He joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in December 1942 and was assigned to aviation maintenance service, rebuilding airfields that had been bombed by the Nazis in Africa, Sicily, and Italy. For his valor in the Battle of Arno, Rome, he was awarded the Bronze Star.

After World War Two ended in 1945, he moved to Oshkosh and started college at U.W. Oshkosh. In December he met the love of his life, Ruth Pauline Rueckert. They were married six months later on June 22, 1946. He graduated from U.W. Oshkosh in 1949 with a Bachelor of Science degree in secondary education - social studies. He later returned to the same college and in 1965 earned a Master's Degree in History. In 1949, he accepted a position in the Marinette School District where he taught Civics and American History for thirty-six years. The latter subject was a special passion of his and he enjoyed telling his students stories of the great heroes of our nation.

During his summers "off," he worked in a variety of positions: Camp Counselor at Camp Menominee in Eagle River, Construction worker for Raygo Construction, Factory worker in a milk processing plant, and in the late 1960"s and 70's Camp Director for Camp Bird, 4-H and Bible camps, Crivitz.

Keith was an active volunteer in many organizations during his retirement years. For various lengths of time, he guided visitors through the Marinette Historical Museum, chaired the Lions' Club Sight and Hearing Project, delivered meals for Meals on Wheels, volunteered on the Porterfield Fire Department, served three years on the Marinette School Board, and participated in the Porterfield Lutheran Church in various capacities.

He received the Marinette County Volunteer of the Year Award in 1991 and the Melvin Jones Lion's Club Award for his service. When not busy volunteering, he enjoyed fishing on the banks of the Menominee River and on county lakes, always enjoying telling tales of "the one that got away." He also enjoyed traveling to far-off places such as Mexico, Alaska, the Canadian Rockies and New Orleans.

He is survived by his daughter, Michelle Comeaux (Ed Belongia); his son, Steve; daughter-in-law, Mary Comeaux; grandchildren, Daniel and Lauren Belongia, as well as his "grandchildren of the heart" Lauri Goetz (Frank), and Randy Begotka (Tammie) and their children Austin and Morgan.

He was preceded in death by his wife of seventy-one years, Ruth; his son, Jon; his daughter-in-law, Sheila Comeaux; his brother, Galen and sisters, June and Jerry.

Funeral services will be held at the Porterfield Lutheran Church at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 19th. Pastor Christina Forsythe will lead the service. Visitation will occur from 10 ൓ a.m. at the Church. Wearing a mask is optional. After the funeral, burial will take place at Glenwood Memorial Gardens on County Road B, Marinette, with a military send off. Hansen Onion Martell Funeral Home of Marinette is assisting the family in the arrangements.

Following the burial, a late lunch and Celebration of Keith's Life will he held at the Corner Grille, at the intersection of Cty Hwy G and Highway 180, Marinette, until 4 p.m. All relatives and friends are invited.

Keith's family would like to thank his special caregivers Jane Sakovitz, Angie Spaude and Kelly Wiedemeier, who cared for him with humor, compassion, and love. A special thanks to his nephew Jeff Groeschl and his wife Eulonda whose loving attention, care and supervision made it possible for Keith to remain on the River Road until his death.

It is said that "it takes a village to raise a child." It also "takes a village" to care for the elderly in a way that supports them with respect and enables them to live with dignity and a good quality of life. Many thanks to Keith's friends and neighbors who visited him at home and helped out when needed. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Keith may be given to the Marinette Historical Society, or to the Marinette Lions Club.


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