Manfred Gerhard Koehler, 82
Manfred Gerhard “Dick” Koehler, 82, passed away peacefully in his sleep Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015, at his home in Slinger. Born in Grosskmehlen, Germany, to Max and Ida Koehler, Manfred spent most of his life in Wisconsin, the last 27 years in Slinger.
Manfred is survived by his son, Eric (Steven Lopez) Koehler; daughters, Christine (David) Landt, Susan (Art) Off and Cynthia (Noel) Montano; grandchildren, Jeremy (Jackie) and Justin Off, Laura Landt and Joshua and Mason Montano; and great-grandchildren, Landon and Kennedy Off.
In 2013, Manfred’s greatly loved and loving wife Helga passed away. He always acknowledged his extremely good fortune: retiring from Sigma-Aldrich at 55 and spending the next 25 years happily and joyously with her. His early retirement enriched the lives of those around him. Manfred took an active role in his grandchildren’s upbringing: babysitting while their parents worked, helping with schoolwork and attending their baseball, soccer and basketball games. He also attended many concerts and Christmas programs. He supported them in all their interests.
Each child and spouse, grandchild and great-grandchild had a special place in Manfred’s heart, which he regularly shared with them. Everyone will miss his strong presence, his love of sports (golf and basketball especially), his thoughtful comments and his keen sense of humor. The “Golden Rule” epitomizes Manfred’s lifelong philosophy and greatly influenced those around him. He and Helga believed in and practiced unconditional love with their children and family. The next generations carry forward their bond of love, surviving and becoming stronger as they carry the family torch Manfred and Helga passed along. Manfred was also a firm believer in our democratic responsibility to know what was going on in the world around us and to speak out when our democratic values of freedom and justice were threatened.
Manfred maintained long-term friendships with many people: folks he grew up with in Milwaukee, others met while attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and while serving in the US Army. His post-retirement interest in clocks led him to a basement full of tick-tocking, musical and moving Black Forest clocks and the moniker “Mr. Cuckoo.” His genuine enthusiasm for living the life he wanted spoke to and impressed many people.
A private service was held for family members at Wisconsin Memorial Park where Manfred joined Helga. Memorial donations may be made to the Freedom from Religion Foundation, P.O. Box 750, Madison, WI 53701 (http://ffrf.org/ donate).