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John J. Kohler, a remarkable man who left an indelible impact on the lives of those who were fortunate enough to know him. With heavy hearts, we announce his unexpected passing on July 1, 2023, at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, after a recent diagnosis of esophageal cancer. Although his time with us was tragically cut short, he made it count by leading with integrity, spreading kindness, bringing joy through humor, and being there for his family and loved ones. Those who knew John were better for it and his legacy of doing right will endure in the hearts of those he touched.
Born on June 1, 1963, in Brighton, MA John was the beloved son of the late Robert J. and Arlene I. (Pitts) Kohler. Growing up in Waltham, MA, John was the second oldest of four brothers, Robert ‘Bobby’ M. Kohler of Newburyport, MA; Joseph ‘Joey’ T. Kohler (wife, Linda) of Waltham, MA, and Edward ‘Eddie’ F. Kohler (wife, Jesse) of York, ME.
At the center of John’s world was the love of his life and wife of 34 years, Kathleen ‘Kathy’ P. (Marston) Kohler. They cherished one another deeply and their partnership exemplified unwavering love, trust, and friendship. Every morning, John would greet Kathy with the words, ‘Kath, I love you and I like you.’ John’s love extended to his three daughters: Victoria ‘Tori’ L. Kohler of Woburn, MA, Meredith ‘Meri’ H. Kohler of Newmarket, NH, and Katherine ‘Katie’ R. Kohler of York, ME. John always talked about how much he loved his girls. He was the dad who always showed up, no matter what, his support unconditional. He showed his daughters how to be kind, how to do right by others and how to work hard, always saying, ‘Did you do your best? Then, that’s all that matters.’ His pride in their accomplishments was immeasurable, and his guidance shaped them into the incredible young women they are today.
John’s impact reached far beyond his immediate family. He was a beloved uncle to many nieces and nephews, all of whom he kept close to his heart. He was a beloved stepson to Kimbal Kohler of Florida, brother-in-law to Kathy’s sisters and brother, and cousin to many. He was a loyal friend, a trusted neighbor, a respected business leader, and an active member of the community. John and Kathy found lifelong friends in their neighbors over the years – Vincent Ave in Belmont, Possum Lane in Sudbury, and Eldridge Road in York. John’s infectious wit and quick humor brough joy and laughter to all who knew him. Everyone he knew has a funny ‘John story’ that will forever be cherished.
John valued the importance of education and loved to learn. After graduating from Bentley College and earning his CPA, John embarked on a successful career in public accounting and senior-level positions at various Fortune 500 companies. However, his desire to prioritize his family led him to join his brother, Ed, as a co-owner and CFO of Jet Mail Services Inc for the past 20 years. Together, they built a thriving business founded on integrity, hard work, and genuine concern for their employees’ well-being.
John’s commitment to serving others extended beyond the workplace and into his community. He always rooted for the underdog. He served as President of the Belmont Lions Club, Treasurer of the PTA, and a dedicated volunteer for the Maynard Food Pantry. Most recently, he served as President of the York Community Service Association (YCSA) Food Pantry. Aside from being a husband and father, helping those in his community brought him the greatest joy in his life.
John enjoyed the simple pleasures of life and relished in them fully, making every day count. Whether it was listening to classic rock in Mustang Sally, watching the waves with Kathy, or having cookouts with his family and friends, always laughing. The way we continue to honor him is by doing something kind for someone every day, no matter how small or insignificant, and not taking a single day for granted. When you hear Tina Turner’s ‘The Best,’ we hope it makes you think of him. Because that’s what he was. He was simply the best.
A memorial service will take place at 1 pm on Friday, July 21st, at the First Parish Church, 180 York St in York, Maine, with a Celebration of Life to follow at Foster’s Clambake at 5 Axholme Rd in York, Maine. All are welcome and we look forward to sharing memories, funny stories, and insights into the way he forever changed us for the better.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the York Community Service Association (YCSA) Food Pantry (ycsame.org) in his honor.