Mary Kohler died Saturday February 18, in Puerto Montt, Chile where she experienced months of declining health. She was lovingly cared for by her son Chris, daughter-in-law Isolde, and their extended family.
Mary was born to Duncan and Mabel Stewart of Rockford, Illinois. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1950 with a degree in geology. Previously married to Donal Ferrell and Joe Simpson III, she spent the early part of her adult life in Rockford, Illinois and Milwaukee and Mequon, Wisconsin. In January of 1981, Mary married Terry Kohler, and they enjoyed full and active lives together, originally based in Mequon and then Kohler, Wisconsin. Mary had 4 sons: Charlie Ferrell (Anne), Doug Ferrell (Mindy), Chris Ferrell (Isolde), and Joe Simpson IV (Kari). Terry brought his three daughters to their life: Leslie Kohler, Michelle Kohler, and Danielle Kohler (Bob Buckley). This vibrant family, along with her and Terry’s business, political, conservation, sailing, and church families were the focus of Mary’s life and engagements throughout the world.
Mary spent nearly every summer of her long life at a treasured primitive cabin on her family’s lake property in northwestern Wisconsin where she preserved, relished, and perpetuated the traditional lake activities of her youth – swimming, nature study, family meals cooked on her wood-fired stove and the daily pontoon boat cocktail cruise to check in on her revered loons.
The Episcopal Church was central to her life. She and Terry regularly attended church services wherever they were throughout the world, but they were particularly connected to their ‘home’ churches in Sheboygan, and Rice Lake, WI and Fort Meyers, FL. Mary was additionally active in related Episcopal organizations, particularly Nashotah House Theological Seminary where she received an Honorary Doctorate degree.
In the artful words of her friend Barb Quasius, “Mary had a strong spirit, generous heart and relentless curiosity to continually learn while seeking to make things better”.
In addition to her 4 sons, 2 stepdaughters, and their spouses, Mary leaves behind 13 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren. She was predeceased by her best-friend and brother, David Stewart, 3 husbands, stepdaughter Michelle Kohler, and the many Stewart ancestors who were strong influences in her life. There will be a family memorial with her lake community in Northern Wisconsin later this year.
A memorial fund has been established in her name for the International Crane Foundation and Nashota House.
Welcome to the discussion.
Thank you for taking part in our commenting section. We want this platform to be a safe and inclusive community where you can freely share ideas and opinions. Comments that are racist, hateful, sexist or attack others won’t be allowed. Just keep it clean. Do these things or you could be banned:
• Don’t name-call and attack other commenters. If you’d be in hot water for saying it in public, then don’t say it here.
• Don’t spam us.
• Don’t attack our journalists.
Let’s make this a platform that is educational, enjoyable and insightful.
Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.