Ray Kohler, age 86, of Hawaii, formerly of Winsted, passed away peacefully Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, at Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waimea, HI.
Mass of Christian Burial will take place Saturday, Oct. 17 at 10 a.m. at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Winsted, with visitation at the church one hour prior to the Mass. Interment will be in the Holy Trinity Catholic Cemetery in Winsted.
The Chilson Funeral Home of Winsted is serving the family.
Ray was born Aug. 8, 1929, the son of Edward and Mathilda Kohler. He was baptized in the Catholic faith at Holy Trinity Church in Winsted, and attended grades 1 through 12 at Holy Trinity School.
Following graduation, Ray worked at Keating Hardware in Winsted for two years.
In 1949, he enlisted in the US Navy and attended boot camp at Great Lakes, IL, prior to service during the Korean War. Ray spent time on a service ship deployed during the war, between 1952 and 1953. In 1954, they evacuated the French out of Indo China.
Between 1955 and 1958, Ray worked as a recruiter at the Federal Building in Minneapolis.
Ray and Joyce were joined in Holy Matrimony New Year’s Eve 1955 at St. Mark’s Catholic Church in St. Paul.
Ray was then sent to Saigon, Vietnam, where he served as an advisor to the South Vietnamese prior to and during the Vietnam War. His wife and first son, Charles, joined him there; and their first daughter, Kay, was born in Vietnam.
Ray’s next duty stations were in Illinois, Taiwan (three years), on more ships, then California, and another stint in Vietnam during the conflict. His last tour took him to Jacksonville, FL as a recruiter.
Upon retirement, after 22 years, Ray and his family resided in Winsted, where Ray worked another 22 years for Sterner Lighting. His second retirement began in 1992.
In 2007, Ray moved to Hanapepe, Hawaii, on the Island of Kauai, where he lived and enjoyed his final years in paradise with his son, Jonathan.
Ray enjoyed the stock market, fishing, hunting, gardening, and time spent with his family.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Joyce; son, Charles E. Kohler; daughter, Katherine “Kay” Bird; parents, Ed and Mathilda Kohler; and brothers, Eugene Kohler, Benjamin Kohler, and Kenneth Kohler.
Ray is survived by his children: Jonathan L. Kohler of Hanapepe, HI, Jacqueline R. (Joe) Kitts of Howard Lake, and Timothy J. Kohler of Winter Springs, FL; son-in-law Dan Bird of Keller, TX; grandchildren David Bird, Kristina Bird, Timothy Bird, Jennifer Bird, Jack Kitts, Jamie Kitts, Joey Kitts, Timothy Kohler, Jr., and Matthew Kohler; and 11 great-grandchildren.
He is further survived by sisters, Clara Ernhart, and Eileen Krattenmaker; sisters-in-law; nieces; nephews; and many other relatives and friends.