Cover photo for James A. Gonyea's Obituary
James A. Gonyea Profile Photo

James A. Gonyea

d. November 9, 2020

James Alfred Gonyea James Alfred Gonyea, 86, of Lincoln, passed away peacefully on the morning of November 9, 2020, at MidMichigan Medical Center in Alpena. Jim was born and raised in Lincoln, Michigan, son of Joseph and Esther (Stevens) Gonyea in 1934 and was the youngest of their seven children. He was raised by his mother, as his father was killed in an auto accident two months prior to his birth. Jim was a 10th generation descendant of a Mayflower passenger. After graduation from Harrisville High School in 1952, he served his country proudly in the United States Army until his honorable discharge in 1955. During his army career he was a court reporter at Fort Bragg, NC, at the 82nd Airborne Division Headquarters. He was a member of the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment, Paratrooper and Classification and Assignment Section Chief. Jim’s service included time in Korea and he kept in touch with other members of the Rakkasans unit throughout his lifetime. After his honorable service, Jim attended Alpena Community College. Through his younger years, he worked an array of jobs including the assembly at Flint Buick, petroleum truck driver, wood cutter, carpenter and mason. He later used his carpentry skills to build a home for his mother as well as his own home, both in Lincoln. In 1962, he was proudly appointed by President JFK to a Federal Postmaster position and was the Postmaster in Ossineke for 27 years until his retirement in 1989. He also was a certified real estate agent and tax preparer. Jim lived as a life-long Democrat and true to his party’s beliefs that all people are created equally. Upon his retirement, Jim continued to work at his tree farm transplanting trees and creating deer habitat at his beloved “Chickadee” Hunting Camp, of which he was the last remaining of seven original members. His favorite pastime was spending time at his camp and home and watching the wildlife and enjoying the company of many family and friends visiting him there. He loved the annual tradition and camaraderie of deer hunting. He also enjoyed watching English Setters Chip and Jack work finding birds. He was passionate about antique Ford tractors and the preservation of their history. Jim was a wealth of information of the history of Alcona County and the surrounding areas. Throughout Jim’s life he identified as a farmer and a woodsman and at creating a self-sufficient lifestyle. Past and current organization memberships include: Ossineke Fraternal Order of Eagles, Ossineke Chamber of Commerce, VFW Post 2496-Alpena, American Legion, Sanborn Township volunteer fire fighter, Ossineke United Methodist Church, Rakkasans Unit life member, National Wild Turkey Federation and United Postmasters and Managers of America. In 1980, he was honored as Postmaster of the Year. He also served as V.P. for five years for the State of Michigan Branch of National League of Postmasters. He was an active supporter of Ducks Unlimited. Jim is survived by his seven children: Debi (Mark) Stephens, Steve Gonyea, Curt (Kay) Gonyea, Marcy (Vince) Moster, Brian (Julie) Gonyea, Gerald Gonyea, and Jacqueline (Sean) Guitar as well as his sister-in-law, Zella Gonyea, and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, siblings: Joseph Gonyea, George Gonyea, Ruth Walker, Catherine Perkins, Eva Teeple and Janet Preston and daughters-in-law Betsy Gonyea and Tamarah Gonyea. Jim was GrandPa G. to: Andrew (Holly) Thomas, Bethany (David) Duperreault, Katy (Matt) Sobek, Chris and Matt Gonyea, Heather (Howard) Parish, Craig (Buey) Surbrook, Kevin Surbrook, Keegan, Oliver and Lara Moster, Jessica (Chris) Hansen, Kyle Gonyea, Stephenye Boyat, Aurelie, Annalise and Addison Guitar and great grandfather to Kendyl and AJ Thomas, Zach Duperreault, Sam, Charlie, Amelia and Dan Sobek, Henrik and Hadley Parish, Redding Surbrook, Caleb and Hayley Klein, Abigail and Emily Hansen, Darren and Adelle Boyat. Jim’s longtime, special companion Ruth Timm survives as well as many friends. One of Jim’s favorite pieces of advice was, “You’ll never acquire any wealth if you only work 9-5.” Per Jim’s wishes, cremation has been arranged by Gillies Funeral Home of Lincoln and no service will be held. In memory of Jim, memorials may be made to Alcona Conservation District, Huron Pines, Alpena Cancer Center or donor’s charity of choice. To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James A. Gonyea, please visit our flower store.


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