Nature 33

Richard Kohler

July 16, 2020


“Life is Good”, three simple words so often heard by all that knew and loved Rich Kohler. 

Richard Kohler, 66 of Somerset passed away peacefully on July 16 after a two year battle with leukemia, in the home he built with his beloved wife Deb. Born March 21, 1954 in New Richmond, WI to Rudy and Ellen (Geske) Kohler, Rich was a gentle soul with a knack for extending his many stories with nearly endless details. 

Rich was blessed with the kindest of hearts and after a 33 year career in corrections, he still found the very best in humanity. Often described by family and friends as “such a nice guy”, a more powerful understatement has never been uttered. Rich was kind, loving, attentive and always available for those he loved. He was one of those people who never spoke poorly of others. 

Rich was a fervent reader and those that knew him were often astonished by his incredible memory and knowledge of history and facts. For his children and grandchildren he focused these talents into telling stories around the campfire. He was a wonderful example to his sons on how to love others, how to keep your word and how to live an honorable life.  

Rich retired from the MN Department of Corrections where he made countless lifelong friendships. In retirement he kept himself busy working security for the MN Twins and travelling the country with Deb. During their 45 year marriage, Rich and Deb shared many adventures and loved seeing what was on the other side of the next hill. They never knew where they would find that next “golden nugget”. In addition to their travels, they spent countless hours enjoying each other’s company biking, camping, hiking, skiing and tending to their organic gardens. Rich and Deb were the best of friends, they grew up together and continued to grow together throughout their lives. Their love, friendship and respect for each other were apparent to all who knew them. 

An avid member of the Pink Flamingo Hunting Club, Rich enjoyed the outdoors, hunting, fishing and spending time at his cabin. He had a ritualistic passion for WI deer camp and the comradery built with friends, sons and grandsons. Even in his later years, he was able to outwalk the “young bucks” through the woods. However, he often paid the price by falling asleep on the couch in the early evening in his characteristic “drink on belly” position. For all you Pink Flamingos out there,  “Tonight’s the night!”. 

Paul McCartney so famously wrote, “And, in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make”. If that’s the case, our darling Rich you take all of the love in the world with you……

Rich is survived by his loving wife Deb (Forrest), sons Brett (Rachael) and Jake (Sarah “Barb”) and his five treasured grandsons Jaiden (15), Sam (15), Ben (12), Will (9) and Charlie (6). Rich is also survived by his three siblings Russ (Rosie), Butch (Rida) and Char Jorgenson (Dick) and brother-in-laws Steve (Laurie), Jerry (Brenda), Rick (Denise) and sister-in-law Diane as well as many nieces and nephews who were such an important part of his life and many good friends.

Rich was preceded in death by his parents Rudy and Ellen Kohler, father and mother in law Tom and Ann Forrest, brother in laws Mike and Larry Forrest and good friend Wayne Baillargeon

 In perhaps the greatest irony of his life, Rich was a passionate volunteer and inexplicably gravitated toward blood and platelet donations; organizing blood drives in the workplace and never missing a donation himself. Later in his life, his own survival depended on these same donations. 

If you wish to honor Rich’s memory, please consider donating blood or platelets or a financial donation to Be The Match. The family requests individuals strongly consider registering with The National Bone Marrow Program through Be The Match. Registering is as simple as filling out a form online, swabbing your cheek and mailing an envelope and you could save a life like Rich’s. 

Due to COVID-19, celebration of life details are yet to be determined

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