Joyce Marie Kohler

Joyce Marie Kohler, age 68 of rural Howard Lake, died Wednesday, Nov. 17, 1999, at the Methodist Hospital in Rochester.

Joyce was born in Norwood Oct. 21, 1931, the daughter of Edward and Mamie (Wedekind) Hirsch.

She graduated from Holy Trinity High School in 1949, and from the College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph, in 1953. While a student at St Ben's, Joyce was honored with the lead in the opera "La Boheme and Die Fledermaus."

Her first teaching assignment was at the Home School for Girls (a correctional institution) in Sauk Centre. Joyce often laughed and said, "That's where I really received an education - of a different kind."

After studying music in Germany and traveling throughout Europe, Joyce returned home and, shortly thereafter, married Raymond J. Kohler, a USN Recruiter. Their five children were born in various parts of the world.

Joyce continued her teaching career in Taiwan, California, Florida and at Holy Trinity Schools in Winsted. After taking early retirement in 1987, Joyce became a substitute teacher in the surrounding area schools. She continued as a substitute teacher and taught every grade and subject from first through 12th until January of this year when health problems arose. Joyce always enjoyed the challenge and the extra income helped her children.

From 1971 until 1994, Joyce enjoyed playing the organ at Holy Trinity and directing the adult choir. She was the heart and soul of the choir all those years and remains so to this day. Many wonderful Christmas choir parties were also held at the Kohler residence through the years.

Joyce originated the idea of a Winsted Community Choir, bringing people from every Winsted church together to sing annual Christmas cantatas. These were performed at St. Mary's Care Center, St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Holy Trinity Catholic Church, as well as in neighboring communities. Joyce also sang with the Norwood Chorus and in the Dassel-Cokato Community Choir.

Along with music, Joyce loved fishing, traveling, reading, knitting, crocheting, playing cards, board games and, in her youth, roller skating and ice skating. In addition, she had been known to occasionally visit the casinos in the vicinity.

Joyce appreciated her home and all of her friends and loved to cook for them. Many fish fries were shared at the Lake Mary cabin. Ray's garden goodies always highlighted her summer.

She is survived by her husband Ray; children: Charles E (Linda) Kohler of Hanapepe, Hawaii; Katherine M. "Kay" (Dan) Bird of Keller, Texas; Jonathan L. Kohler of Howard Lake, Jacqueline R. (Joe) Kitts of Wichita Falls, Texas, and Timothy J. (Laurie) Kohler of Appleton, Wis.; grandchildren: David, Kristina, Timothy and Jennifer Bird; Jack Chelsey and Joey Kitts; and Timothy and Matthew Kohler.

Joyce is further survived by brothers, Marvin (Delores) Hirsch of Winsted, Donald (Judy) Hirsch of Little Falls, and John (LeAnn) Hirsch of Howard Lake; brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, many other relatives and friends.

Joyce was preceded in death by her parents; and by her sisters, Gloria and Gladys.

A Mass of Christian Burial was Monday, Nov. 22, 3:30 p.m., at Holy Trinity Catholic Church,Winsted, with the Rev. Paul L. Wolf officiating. Timothy Kohler was the lector, and special music was provided by the Holy Trinity Choir and the Norwood Chorus. Maureen Cassidy and Joe Holmers were soloists.

Friends called at Holy Trinity Catholic Church Monday, Nov. 22, from 2 p.m. until the time of the service.

Mike Kohler, David Hirsch, Robert Ernhart, Dick Fasching, David Bird and Timothy Bird served as casket bearers.

The Chilson Funeral Home in Winsted served the family.

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