Cyril Henry Van Zeeland, age 88, of Combined Locks, passed away peacefully on August 28, 2019. He was courageous and passionate about business, fishing, hunting and family for most of his life.
Cyril (who acquired the nickname “Cease” in high school) was born on May 30, 1931, son of the late Henry and Minnie (Bongers) Van Zeeland of Little Chute. At the age of four, upon the death of his mother, Cyril and his older twin brothers, Rich and Rob Van Zeeland, moved with their father to live with their grandmother, Anna Bongers. The early loss of his mother, and eight years later, the grandmother who helped raise him, left Cyril with a lifelong appreciation for a sense of home.
He attended St. John’s Catholic School in Little Chute, where he served as captain of the football team, absorbed a deep loyalty to the Catholic faith, met the woman (Johanna Vander Heyden) who would become his wife, and made friends with a group of classmates called “The Gang” who would remain close throughout their lives.
After graduation, Cyril served as a helicopter mechanic in Korea during the war. Upon returning to Little Chute, he and Johanna were married on August 21, 1954. Although his own father worked in the Little Chute paper mill, Cyril was strongly influenced and supported by the entrepreneurial spirit of his Van Zeeland uncles. He started out running a gas station called Cease’s D-X on Depot Street in Little Chute and eventually owned businesses on Main Street and HWY 41 selling Ski Doo, John Deere, and Kawasaki products. As his children grew up and became a part of the business, his legacy expanded to include what are now Team Winnebagoland and Team Motorsports dealerships in Oshkosh and Green Bay.
Although he lived and raised his own family on Darboy Road in Combined Locks, Cyril was always very proud of his Little Chute roots, and while he remained in the same home most of his life, he still had an adventurous spirit. Many of the memories we hold as a family come from either stories dad told or opportunities he gave us. These include: the story of how someone brought in a whole tub of fresh strawberries to eat while he was working on Uncle Len’s pheasant farm in Northern Wisconsin; the old school bus he bought and turned into a camper with his good friends James and Betty Perrenboom; the building projects, fishing, frogging, hunting, snowmobiling, dirt biking, and exploring we did at the old farm in Crivitz, Wisconsin; the family trip out to California in the 1960’s in our Chrysler Newport; and later, yearly fishing trips to remote lakes in Canada with his sons and grandchildren.
As a Dad, he gave each of his children a sense of strength, determination and passion that we could do anything we set our hearts to and that we could take risks to follow our dreams.
Cyril is survived by his loving wife of 65 years, Johanna Van Zeeland; their four children, sons, Lee (Kathy) Van Zeeland of Appleton; Mark (Lynn) Van Zeeland of Appleton; Joe (Dawn) Van Zeeland of Amberg; and a daughter Lu Van Zeeland of Norton Vermont; one brother, Rob Van Zeeland of Kaukauna; one sister-in-law, Betty (Mike) Linzmeier; 10 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by a brother, Rich Van Zeeland; a brother-in-law, Hank Vander Heyden; sisters-in-law, Margaret Maas; Alice Turner; Mary Van Zeeland, Carol Vander Heyden and Betty Van Zeeland.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 3, 2019, at St. John Nepomucene Catholic Church, 323 S. Pine Street, Little Chute, with Fr. Ron Belitz officiating. Visitation will be at the church from 9:00 a.m. until the time of the Mass. Interment will be in St. John Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, a memorial is being established in Cyril’s name. For online condolence, please visit www.verkuilenfh.com.
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