Darwin Lynn Gonnerman

darwin gonnerman
Darwin Lynn Gonnerman passed away in New Braunfels, Texas, on February 7, 2015, at the age of 68 after a brief stay in the hospital. He was born in Luverne, Minnesota, January 3, 1947, to Josie Remme and John Wesley Gonnerman. He was preceded in death by his brother Keith. He is survived by his partner Dondee Gage Steves; his daughter Alexis Jean Northrip, husband David, and granddaughters September and Brooks; his son Ty Wesley; his brother Delbert and wife Betty; his sister-in-law Sharon; numerous nieces, and nephews; and Cotton, his beloved 32-year old Appaloosa mare. Darwin graduated from South Dakota State University with a BS and from Central Michigan University with an MA. He played football in college and was selected to play on the Small College All-America Football Team in 1967. After college he played for three teams in the Canadian Football League. In 1994 he was inducted into the South Dakota State University Athletic Hall of Fame. After serving in the US Army, Darwin settled in San Antonio, Texas, where he worked for many years as a project manager in the software development field. Darwin was devoted to animals and served on many committees for the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo. He was a lifetime member of the San Antonio Livestock Exposition. In addition to the many friends he acquired over the years, he leaves behind his five 'hospice horses' ages 15 to 32; three devoted dogs: Shawnee, Sadie Lynn, and Lucy Jean; and a small herd of deer to whom he regularly tossed tortillas in the front yard. For those wishing to make charitable contributions in Darwin's honor, write the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo at: S.A.L.E., In Honor of Darwin Gonnerman, 723 AT&T Center Parkway, San Antonio, TX 78219 or South Dakota State University at: SDSU Foundation, 815 Medary Ave., Box 525, Brookings, SD 57007. A Memorial gathering will be held at a later date.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Thank you for all the time you devoted to the Horse, especially all the dedication to the South Texas Appaloosa Breeders and the San Antonio Livestock Show, Horse Education Center. You will be missed, Godspeed, Darwin.

  2. To a wonderful and kind man, i will miss working with him at the Rodeo. He told many interesting stores to me and taught me how to work the horse discovery area with ease. I will miss him and never forget him.

  3. I last saw Darwin some years ago at South Dakota State when he was honored for his achievements on the football field. He was always a fun, smiling guy and we reminisced about football and other teammates. I have good memories of him as a friend and talented athlete. My sympathies to his family.

  4. We have wonderful memories of our time spent with Darwin (and Dondee). He was a good friend and we will miss him tremendously. Our love and prayers to Dondee and the rest of his family.

  5. We met Darwin in 2011. We have happy memories of attending plays and music events and going to dinner with Darwin and dondee. We wish we had been given more time to strengthen our friendship with this very kind and warm-hearted man. We miss you Darwin. Happy trails. Safe journey.

  6. I have know Darwin since he joined the Horse Committee as a Volunteer for the San Antonio Stock Show. Darwin was a huge factor in the Horse Discovery area. He has brought it from a so so area to one that is very attractive and educational for all adult and children to learn about horses. I alway enjoyed talking with him about his shows. I will miss seeing, talking with him…My thoughts and prayers go out to Dondee and the family, may God be with each of you during this tough time and the healing process.

  7. Sorry to hear of Darwin’s passing. It has regrettably been a long time since I saw him last. Just the other day I was thinking it would be fun to catch up with my former classmates and he was the first to come to mind. When I told this story to a friend she said that Darwin came to me in spirit and that was his way of showing that we were still connected and always will be. I feel that. I also feel very lucky to have been a part of the teams that were able to play high school football, basketball, and track with him. I know it is not to late and I can say for everyone that has known Darwin—Thank you my friend.

  8. Dearest Dondee my sincerest sympathy to you, he must have been so special to you. I know ya’ll loved each other very much. If I can do anything for you let me know.

  9. To the Family of Darwin, Thank you for having to meet Darwin an working with him at the Horse Discovery these pass two years. We will miss you always, God Bless you keep you safe in the New Life. Happy Trail to you. Life Time Member Betty Jean Cruz-Cantwell

  10. Dondi, we were so shocked and saddened to see that Darwin passed away. Please let us know when the memorial gathering will take place. We definitely want to be there.

  11. Darwin was a fine, quiet, kind and pleasant man. He was just a great fellow and I am very glad that I came to know him. Our thoughts and prayers will be with his family.

  12. John & I were shocked when Annette told us about Darwin.We will always remember him with his animals. How he loved and cared for Cotton was a lesson in caring. We were privileged to have shared in a little of his life. Our most sincere condolences go out to you, Dondee. You have lost your life partner. Please know we are thinking of you, and praying for you.

  13. Denny and I were surprised and saddened upon seeing Darwin’s obituary in the Sunday paper. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you, Dondee, and the rest of his family.

  14. Dondee So sorry to hear of Darwin’s passing. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Darwin’s family. He was such a wonderful guy.

  15. We happened upon the news of Darwin in the paper. I wish there was something I could say or do. He was such a great human being. Love, Dale and Julie Goos

  16. To: Dondee Stevens and the Gonnerman family I would like to extend our heart felt sympathy to you for your loss. I have always consider Darwin a good neighbor and friend who always had a smile and something nice to say. Dondee, if there is anything you need, just let us know. Jerome and Chonita

  17. Alexis and Dondee, My sympathy goes to each of you. We all will miss Darwin. He was a wonderful man-always smiling, helpful, supportive of everyone and every good cause, and a great friend. Deborah Gilbertson

  18. My sympathy to Darwin’s family. Darwin was my sponsor for high school orientation in 1962. He is one of those amazing successful people who always cares about others. I was the only one willing to line up against Darwin in Physical Ed football so I know first hand what a formidable player he is. Darwin set a great example for me on how to live a meaningful life. I will always be inspired from what I learned from Darwin.

  19. Darwin was a major influence in my early military life he was instrumental in me pursuing a masters degree. Later on after he left service, he was always there for me and I was indebted to him for his guidance and recommendations. We last spoke late Nov 2014 and he was so, so, proud of his grandchildren and Ali and Ty. I thank God that he let our paths gross and one day, I know we will meet again.

  20. I was very shocked and saddened to learn of Darwin’s passing while reading the South Dakota State University blog about tomorrow’s playoff football game (Dec 2, 2017). After Darwin finished his career in the Canadian Football League he went back to Brookings, SD where he work for my Dad doing roofing for a short while. At that time everything was done by hand. Sometimes while unloading a semi load of roofing we would show-off how strong we were. One time I picked up two 50 lb pails of tar and held them out to my side for a second or two. Darwin saw me so he did the same thing except instead of holding them at arm’s length for a couple of seconds he carried them all the way into the warehouse with his arms held shoulder high. He was one STRONG guy I wish I had the opportunity to know him better.

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