Donald “Don” Frank Kohler, 82 passed away peacefully at his home on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023 after a lengthy illness. He was surrounded by the love of his family.
Don was born the youngest of three children to Frank and Molly Kohler in Hamilton, Montana, on March 16, 1941.
As a young child, Don’s family moved to Anaconda, Montana, where he attended school and met his wife Mary Jo Ridge. They married in July of 1959 and shortly after moved to Santa Barbara where they had five children.
Don found joy in his career in the grocery business. He worked as a cashier at Jordano’s Grocery Store for several years. He then went to work at Santa Cruz Market in Goleta where he became assistant manager. He remained there for 25 years, and completed his career at Scolari’s.
Don was a loving and caring husband, father, grandpa (Papa), and great-grandpa. He was devoted to his Catholic faith, which he instilled in his family and in his everyday life.
Don was an active member of his community. He served as an Eucharistic minister at church, delivered Meals on Wheels along with Mary Jo for 10 years, and donated blood regularly for those in need.
Don loved people, was always eager to lend a helping hand, and made everyone he encountered feel welcomed and special. His smile was infectious.
When asked how he was doing, he would always respond with “Very good!” and two thumbs up. His greatest joy was spending time with his family.
He was an excellent dancer, enjoyed bowling, loved to gamble and play cards. He especially enjoyed his trips to Reno and Las Vegas with Mary Jo, his brother-in-law Joe, and Joe’s wife Dolores. He rarely missed an opportunity to watch his kids and grandkids play sports.
He is preceded in death by his parents Molly and Frank Kohler, and sister Daffney Hawkins.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Mary Jo; his children David Kohler (Mary), Lori Torres (Gilbert), Michael Kohler (Tammy), Cherie Alvarez (Sal), Joyce McCue; his sister Minnie Neal; grandchildren Kristin Vega (Mark), Michelle Geller (Justin), Craig Kohler (Stefani), Scott Kohler, Kevin Torres, Janelle Weichman (Ryan), Nathan McCue, Steven Kohler, Kylie McCue, Shaylah and Savannah Alvarez; and great-grandchildren Lucy, Caden, Jackson, Carson, Daisy, Cole, Mila, and one on the way.
The family would like to thank Assisted Home Health and Hospice for their outstanding care of Don in his final days.
A rosary will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7 at Holy Cross Church. A funeral mass will be at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, also at Holy Cross Church.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Donald Kohler can be made to Assisted Home Health and Hospice Foundation, 72 Moody Court, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360.