Robert Koehler, 86

Robert T. Koehler, a resident of Little Falls, passed away Thursday, March 1, 2012, at the Pierz Villa in Pierz.

Funeral services were held Wednesday at Zion Lutheran Church in Little Falls, with the Rev. Gary Hendrickson officiating. Burial was at the Oakland Cemetery in Little Falls.

Pastor Koehler was born June 27, 1925, in St. Paul, the son of Rev. Arthur and Florence Koehler. He began his ministerial studies at Concordia High School and Concordia College in St. Paul. He graduated from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, and in 1948 received his Master of Divinity. In 1949 he was ordained into the Holy Ministry at Alice, Texas and served as pastor in both Alice and Three Rivers, Texas, until 1954. In 1954, Pastor Koehler became an exchange teacher under a Fulbright grant in Hamburg, Germany and became a research scholar in the Lutheran Seminary in Neuendettelsau, Germany. In addition, Pastor Koehler studied at Washington University, the University of Minnesota, and Macalester College while teaching English at Concordia College, St. Paul. In 1959 he accepted a call to Trinity Lutheran, Bemidji. He served that congregation from 1959 to 1974. He was instrumental in building a beautiful church in Bemidji after the congregation outgrew the prior place of worship. He loved music and was happy when the congregation installed a pipe organ to sing praises to the Lord and brought joy to the congregation. Pastor Koehler really enjoyed his work and considered it a calling and privilege – never tiring. He married Eve Bense of Brandenburg, Germany in 1960. Together they have four children: Susanne (Skip Meredith) of St. Paul; Chris of St Paul; Stephanie (Gary Danielson) of St Paul; and Eric (Stacey) of Eden Prairie. The families were blessed with four grandchildren: Paul, Charlie, Claire and Nora. All of them brought him great happiness. While not serving the Lord, Pastor Koehler cherished spending time with his family at their family cabin in Northern Minnesota. He was an avid tree enthusiast and planted literally hundreds of trees over the years.  He also enjoyed classical music listening and was an accomplished pipe organist. In April of 1974 he accepted a call to Zion Lutheran Church and retired in 1988 having enjoyed the strength and dedication of this congregation. In 1990 and 1991 he had the privilege and opportunities of teaching and reaching out to eager students in Nanning, China.  He spent the last 6 years of his life at the Harmony House and Pierz Villa enjoying their wonderful care.

Robert was the oldest of four children and he is survived by, Luther (Mildred) of New Ulm; Cathryn (Ken Hahn) of Paynesville; and Marion of Minnetonka.

He is preceded in death by his parents Arthur and Florence, and his niece Susan Bittner. The Lord was always with him and now he is with the Lord.

Shelley Funeral Chapels