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In Memory of Keith Vinge

Gathering of Family and Friends

4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Sunday May 22, 2022
O'Connell Funeral Home of Ellsworth
130 North Grant St.
Ellsworth Wisconsin, 54011

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Keith James Vinge, age 56 of Ellsworth died unexpectedly Monday, May 16th 2022 at his residence following an acute medical condition. Keith was born on May 20, 1965 in Red Wing, Minnesota; the son of James and Beverly (Hoffman) Vinge. Keith graduated from Ellsworth High School as a member of the Class of 1983. He would further his schooling at the University of Wisconsin River Falls where he would receive his bachelor’s degree in Education. He would advance his knowledge by obtaining his master’s degree from St Mary’s University. If you were raised in Ellsworth, chances are you learned your algebra and math from Mr. Vinge. He loved math. He loved the challenge of a good math problem and finding the value of X! Outside of math, he loved coaching basketball, volleyball, and track. He believed in his students and pushed them to believe in themselves and bring their very best game for their team.

On August 23, 2008, Keith was united in marriage to Cindy Kosbab. Keith and Cindy exchanged vows at the English Lutheran Church in Ellsworth. Keith thoroughly enjoyed watching sports, but basketball was his favorite. March Madness was his favorite time of year. Keith was a collector at heart and has a large collection of Michael Jordan and other sports memorabilia. He has signed basketballs, footballs, jerseys and quite possibly every Air Jordan tennis shoes ever made. Outside of teaching, and watching sports, he absolutely loved being a grandpa. He so enjoyed spending time with them as in his eyes, he was just a big kid himself.

Keith will remain in the hearts of his wife Cindy; step children Nicole Kosbab of Watertown, SD, Amy Kosbab of Glenwood City, Lisa Kosbab of Menomonie; step grandchildren Mason, Silas, Abel, Graham, Jonah; parents James and Beverly Vinge of Esdaile; sister Jill (Mike) Tharalson of Woodbury, MN and their children Steven and Erika.

A Celebration of Life for Keith Vinge, will be Sunday, May 22nd from 4pm to 7pm at the O’Connell Family Funeral Home of Ellsworth. Keith’s family will have a private service and burial recognizing his Christian life. Burial will be in the Burnside Cemetery in Red Wing. Active casket bearers will be Mike Tharalson, Steven Tharalson, Christian Brinkman, David Brinkman, Greg Kier, and Larry Frye. Memorials are preferred to the discretion of Keith’s family. Funeral services have been entrusted to the O’Connell Family Funeral Home of Ellsworth.

Keith's Tribute Wall

Tributes (19):

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  • We are so sorry! What a sad time for all who loved and treasured him. Praying all will be surrounded by God’s comfort and assurance of his bountiful grace. With love and sympathy,
    Bob and Kim Brunkow
    Elaine Larson

  • Was so sorry to hear of Keith’s passing.
    He was so much a part of this town. He will be sorely missed by so many people.
    We were all blessed to have had him here.

  • Keith was a big part of the Girls Basketball Program at EHS. Not only was he the long time 7th grade girls coach but he also gave generously of his time to the high school program. He did lots of things behind the scenes. Things that were little known but greatly appreciated–everything from running the Saturday Basketball program to calling in game results to local papers. Keith was loyal, reliable, dependable, and he loved working with kids. R.I.P. Coach Vinge.

  • Mr. Vinge was one of my favorite teachers. I have had a love for math most of my life, but he made me love it even more! I can and will never forgot him “spraying” some of the kids in my class with his green Gatorade water bottle. He was truly one of the best teachers and will be missed by so many.

  • Keith has been the toughest person I’ve ever met. His medical needs never stopped him, he never complained, he stayed extremely competitive, would stand up to anyone, and held firmly to his morals and values. Many considered him stubborn but I knew him to be deeply devoted. He gave his all to teaching, coaching, his family, and his close friends. I’m proud of our nearly forty year friendship and the gift he has been to this world. Keith is sharing his grin from Above now. 😇

  • I had this man as my 7th grade math teacher, he was such an amazing teacher and I know he loved having me as one of his students. I know he will be dearly missed by many.

  • Keith and I worked together for three years. While we weren’t on the same team/grade levels, he was always great for a laugh, straightforward conversation, and truly cared about his students and athletes. My sincere condolences to his family and friends.

  • Mr. Vinge was my 7th grade Math teacher. He was an interesting character to say the least! He made learning fun and I remember he was always very helpful. Sending my thoughts and prayers to his family and friends. He will be truly missed.

  • Mr. Vinge was a huge part of my sister’s life because of basketball and he was a teacher to my sister in 7th grade. Keith had a huge heart and a huge passion and love for teaching and coaching. I pray that he is now in the arms of Jesus and resting healthy and happy in the name of the Lord.

    Sami Wilson

  • Mr. Vinge was one of the most dedicated educators I ever had. Truly cared about his students, and strived to help them reach their full potential. The Ellsworth School District lost a fantastic educator, and an even better man.

  • This man made me fall in love with math… Algebra especially. Times I thought of being a math teacher just because of how fun he could make it, I learned a lot of my “problem solving” skills from his guidance. He was also my basketball coach for 3 years I believe and got me involved in track. For some reason he thought the 400m dash was for me. (It was not! 😅😂) He rarely lost his cool, and if he did, it was in a way that made you want to do better and never felt put down because he put a lot of effort into his teaching and coaching and I always felt the need to match his effort. Definitely a person that made a lasting impression on not only my life but countless children’s and adult’s lives. Rest easy Sir. Thinking of Mr. Vinge and his family. I hope you all find peace and embrace the life he lived. ♥️ #11Hayes

  • Only year I was every any good at math was seventh grade with Mr Vinge! He just effortlessly made everything make sense. I had the pleasure of being one of his many students he also coached in basketball. Never forget the good ones! Thoughts and hugs to family and friends!

  • Being taught & coached by this amazing man was an honor. I will never forget his love for MJ, game of basketball, his students, family, and using his squirt bottle to pick on the trouble makers in class. He will be truly missed but never forgotten!

  • Keith and I coached middle school basketball together for many years. Keith was a good friend to us and our three kids.
    I know he loved teaching and coaching but most of all he loved kids. He will be missed. He impacted many lives.

  • So sad to hear of Keith’s passing! Remembering all the fun times we had in High School and thinking fondly of his good nature and his engaging smile! Deepest sympathy to his family. Rest in Peace, friend!

  • Where do I even begin to Express how much of an impact Vinge had in so Many lives! Teacher, Coach, Friend… the list goes on. He’s been a huge part of my life since my sister’s and I were old enough to dribble a basketball! I’ll never forget this one time I was sick in the hospital. Down in the dumps and it felt like no one could cheer me up! Then Vinge walked in on crutches with that contagious smile. I will never forget that…He’s that kind of guy that always puts others first no matter what! He gave so much of himself to make a difference in peoples lives! Teaching and Coaching was definitely his calling! He will be Missed Dearly!!!

  • Fondly remembering my high school friend! Sending prayers to all his family. Rest in peace, my friend!

  • Mr. Vinge was an incredible educator and an unforgettable man. It is an honor to be counted among one of his students and I’m grateful for not only the skills he taught but the character and fortitude he shared with each of his students. He never quit on us, and never let us quit on ourselves. May he rest in triumph.

  • Had him as my 7th grade math teacher. Also lived right next to him for 3 years. He will be missed.