Mr. Robert E. “Bob” Koehler passed away peacefully, at the age of 90, at Harborview at Dover surrounded by his wife Jeree and family. Bob was born in Campbell County, to George and Cora Koehler.
Bob was an educator, coach, principal, business owner and mental health professional. Bob migrated from Northern Kentucky to attend Union College on a basketball and baseball scholarship. After two years and his coach forgetting to send in his draft deferment paperwork, Bob was drafted in September 1952. Bob spent two years in the U.S. Army and rose to the rank of Corporal before being discharged.
In the fall of 1955, Bob returned to Union College on the GI Bill to become an educator. That year, Bob met his future wife, Jeree, at a Daniel Boone Festival courthouse square dance. Less than a year later, Bob and Jeree were united in marriage on March 30 in 1956. Bob and Jeree celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary this year.
Bob spent more than 20 years as a teacher and principal. He held a Master’s and Rank 1 in Education. He spent the majority of his teaching career at Barbourville City School as teacher and principal. Many of his former students still refer to him as Mr. Koehler, refusing to call him Bob even when they became adults. After his teaching career ended, he continued his career with the Cumberland River Comprehensive Care organization and retired as the Regional Director of Alcohol and Drug rehabilitation.
Bob was a long-time baseball player and coach. In the 1960’s, Bob coached the Barbourville Governors baseball team to a regional championship. Once his son reached the age to play Little League baseball, he became the coach for the Union National Bank Pirates. Over the many years of coaching, Bob has been a mentor to many professional athletes, doctors, lawyers and other professionals. He will forever be many players’ first coach.
Bob and Jeree were business owners. In the 1970s, the pair operated Travelers Inn Restaurant. In the 1980s, they operated College Corner Café. Both restaurants were favorites for many in Knox County. They also travelled throughout the United States as members of a square dance group. Bob and Jeree were members of the First Baptist Church where Bob served as a deacon. Bob had many hobbies over the years, but his love was repairing old antique clocks. Many in the area have come to Bob to use his unique talent to get their clock “back in time”. In later years, Bob made over 300 religious crosses for many churches, friends and family. He took no money for any of them and considered making them his ministry. Many hearts were touched by his gift of a handmade cross.
Preceding him in death were his parents, George and Cora Koehler; an infant daughter, Judy Kay; his sister, Margaret “Marge” Kimbrell Weber; and his brother, William “Bill” Koehler.
He is survived by his wife Jeree Hammons Koehler of Barbourville; daughter, Karen Yeager and husband, Paul, of Georgetown; a son, Brian Koehler and wife, Bonnie, of Lexington; six grandchildren, Jessie Yeager Beckman and husband, Jonathan of Corinth, Emily Koehler of Georgetown, Amanda Yeager Warner and husband, Stephen, of Union, Liz Koehler of Georgetown, Logan Koehler of Denver, CO, Daniel Taylor and wife, Fallon, of Corbin; a sister, Mary Ann Koehler Smith of Louisville; five great-grandchildren; among other loved ones and dear friends.
His funeral service will be conducted in the chapel of the Knox Funeral Home Sunday, December 18 at 2 P.M. with Rev. Shane Nickell and Rev. Duke Hammons officiating. He will be laid to rest in the Doolin Cemetery with military funeral honors.
Casket bearers will be John Knox Mills, Tim Terrell, Robert Dunaway, Stephen Warner, Jonathan Beckman and David Goodin.
Friends may call at the funeral home Sunday after 12 Noon until the funeral hour.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Knox Funeral Home.