Paul VanGoethem

Resided in Gladstone, MI
Died December 19, 2022

Paul Gerard VanGoethem of Gladstone, MI passed away on December 19, 2022 at the age of 66. Paul was born in Norway, MI on January 19, 1956 to Charles and Rose Marie (Savord) VanGoethem.

Paul enjoyed his younger years growing up in a home that over-looked Vulcan Lake in Norway, MI.  This is where Paul learned to fish in the summer and ice fish in the winter with his father, Charlie, and grandfather, Leo VanGoethem. Paul spent many hours in the outdoors hunting, trapping and enjoying swimming in the lake with his mother and siblings. Upon moving to Marshall in southern-lower Michigan, Paul soon discovered Ketchum Park across the street from their home. He spent endless hours there enjoying nature and Rice Creek which ran through it. Paul could be seen pulling a wagon filled with a camping stove and supplies for a great breakfast or lunch so that he could extend his time enjoying the park. Paul made friends with the numerous other kids that lived near this park including John and Robbie Costello, Phil Bonnell, and Mike Neeley to name a few.

Paul was a member of the Marshall High School class of 1974 and joined the U.S. Navy after leaving school. Paul served in the U.S. Navy for 6 years reaching the rank of Chief Petty Officer. Paul and his crew helped to keep the 4 ships that he served aboard afloat as they sailed to Japan, Korea, and one of his last assignments-Vietnam. This ship was sent to help bring our U.S. ground troops home and to assist the South Vietnamese in their evacuation before being taken over by the North. Three of the four ships that Paul served on were the USS Anchorage, the USS Duluth and the USS Richard B. Anderson

Upon his honorable discharge from the U.S. Navy, Paul began working for the San Onofre Nuclear Plant located in San Clemente, California. He worked his way up to a management position in the boiler and condenser department. When a difficult problem arose, Paul and his crew were called upon to solve and repair it. They soon became known as “Paul and his can-do crew.” Paul bought a home in San Diego and his pride and joy was a wooden house boat that he purchased and kept in a slip in the Oceanside Harbor. In his free time, Paul spent many hours working on this boat and fishing in the Pacific Ocean.  He was often accompanied by his younger brother, Tony VanGoethem. When Paul’s boat came into dock, everyone knew it was time for a “Wally fish-fry.”

Due to declining health, Paul returned to Michigan and worked several jobs including security at the Air National Guard Base in Battle Creek. He also worked at Renco in Homer, MI until he had to take early retirement for health reasons. While living in Homer, Paul purchased a small farm and raised chickens. He shared the farmhouse with his cat, Tuna. During this time, Paul continued to fish the area lakes, including Lake Michigan and the Detroit River near Lake St. Clair. Paul surprised his nephew, Mike Laupp and niece, Amy Laupp with a fish-fry for their respective H.S. graduation open houses! Paul also LOVED deer hunting and usually bagged a buck every year. He was happy to share the venison with his family and friends. Gotta love Uncle Paul!

A favorite time of Paul’s was what became to be known as “Family Breakfast Club”. For over 25 years, friends and family would meet every Saturday morning at The Pancake House in Battle Creek for breakfast. Always a good time and the group sometimes grew to over 10 to 15 people depending on who was in town. It was like a weekly family reunion and Paul loved it.

As Paul’s health continued to decline, he felt pulled back to the Upper Peninsula so that he could enjoy his retirement years there. Paul found an apartment in Gladstone, MI that over-looked Little Bay De Noc. He purchased a boat and snowmobile for fishing and ice fishing. Living there gave him the opportunity to visit relatives in Hermansville and Norway. He enjoyed stopping in to visit his Uncle Lawrence (TBoy) and Aunt Martha Savord in Hermansville to hear the many stories of years gone by.

Paul’s beloved mother, Rose Marie Cowles, preceded him in death, in December, 2019. In addition, he was preceded in death by his father, Charles VanGoethem (Norway) and step-father, Brian Cowles (Battle Creek), his grandparents, William and Rose Savord (Hermansville) and Leo and Margaret VanGoethem (Norway).

Paul is survived by 3 sisters, Joan VanGundy (NM), Victoria Laupp (Marshall, MI), Faith Ann VanGoethem (Lodi, WI) and 6 brothers, Peter VanGoethem (MI), Tony VanGoethem (Peoria,AZ), Andy Wolcott (UT), Jon VanGoethem (CO), Antony Cowles (IN), and Kevin Noran (MS)  His Uncle and Aunt, Lawrence and Martha Savord (Hermansville, MI) Several cousins,  nieces, nephews and grand-nieces and nephews.

A prayer and blessing will be held at the grave of Paul’s father, Charles VanGoethem, in Norway, Michigan in their honor.

U.S. Navy Funeral Honors will be presented for Paul Gerard VanGoethem at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta, MI on January 19, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. where Paul will be laid to rest. The Skradski Family Funeral Homes of Delta County are assisting the VanGoethem family.

6 Tributes for “Paul VanGoethem

    So sad to hear of Paul’s passing. We were just together at Thanksgiving. He was such a kind and caring person. He will be truly missed by my family and I. We enjoyed his stories of being in the service and his fishing stories as well. Our condolences. RIP Paul

    Paul was a very nice guy. We talked a lot about the things that that had been going on with him health wise physically, and how frustrating it was. I was very surprised to hear about this! My heart goes out to his family! My thoughts and prayers are with you! ❤️

    Little brother, so many memories.
    We shared the same affection for the Upper Pennisula and growing up there.
    One special memory comes to mind is going to Escanaba with mom & dad. We toured a Coast Guard Cutter docked in the bay. I remember your excitement and asked so many question of the crew.
    That, may have influenced your decision on enlisting in the Navy.
    Thank you for your service.
    As in the Navy Hymn
    “Until we meet once more
    Here’s wishing you a happy voyage home”.
    Godspeed little brother

    I was fortunate enough to live next door to the 1st 5 VanGoethem children. I was their babysitter!
    After no contact for many years, Paul brought Rose to visit me Iron Mountain. What a great surprise. He came twice and we got to know each other as adults. Thank you Paul and God Bless you.
    A beautiful obituary!

    So many memories of my step son Paul his visit to middleton with his sister will never be forgotten I have so many pictures of him threu out the years will never for get Paul

    As my husband and I packed up Paul’s life, it was sad but also uplifting to see the many treasures of his life. He lived the grand life that he wanted. Did we find venison and freshly caught fish in his freezer, “You betcha!” What do “Yooz guyz” think! We gave much of it to his neighbors and friends, but yes, our family will enjoy a bit of it too…just as he would have wanted. Furniture, clothes, and kitchen items were donated to St. Vincent DePaul in Gladstone (a wonderful community service store), so Paul’s spirit lives on in the community he loved. Gladstone/Escanaba, Little Bay de Noc area is a beautiful place and I can see why Paul loved it there so much. We met many wonderful Yoopers on that trip and are so thankful for them. Jim/Marty and his wife Cathy, Paul’s maintenance man, Shannon/Boston, Paul’s neighbors and our mutual friend (who also moved to Gladstone, Cathy Katz. (Pardon my use of the Yooper sayings, but it warms my heart with great memories to hear them.

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