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Kenneth Koehler

Kenneth H. “Ken” Koehler, 75, of Springville, TN, formerly of Jackson, passed away Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022, at Southeast Hospital in Cape Girardeau.

He was born July 29, 1946, in Cape Girardeau, son of Henry “Clem” and Dora Schaeffer Koehler. He and Sandra J. Laurentius were married Jan. 6, 1968, at St. Maurus Catholic Church in Biehle. They had been married only 17 years when Sandy passed away April 30, 1985. Both Sandy and Ken fought valiant battles with cancer. Ken always said that Sandy told him, “You have to have the mental attitude to fight cancer or anything, or it will get ya.”

Ken and Carolyn W. “Cakee” Sturm Towell were married July 29, 1989, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Jackson. They had been married 28 years when Carolyn passed away Sept. 13, 2017. Carolyn also passed away due to cancer.

Kenneth attended Jackson High School. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Sept. 23, 1963. After his honorable discharge on Sept. 23, 1966, he attended barber school. Over the next 20 years, he was co-owner of Top Style Barber Shop in Jackson and was simultaneously a self-employed carpet installer. In 1977, he joined the Jackson Fire Department, retiring as Captain in 2001. Together, he and Carolyn owned and operated Fireside Catering for approximately 10 years.

Kenneth was a member of Altenthal-Joerns American Legion Post #158 in Jackson. Being an avid supporter of the Legion, he coordinated Legion Baseball for 26 years; oversaw the Legion hamburger stand for 10 years; and was a service officer for three years. He was a charter member and spearheaded the Veterans Support Group for Post #158, which was established in 2009, and he had been a member of the Elks Lodge 2652 in Jackson since 2003. In recent years, he became instrumental in the Sons of the Legion in Springville, TN, serving as vice president. He was an associate member of the American Legion Riders in Springville and a life member of the American Legion.

Kenneth was a devoted son, father, husband, grand-pa, brother, uncle and friend. He loved family gatherings and his family loved him. He was affectionately known as “Uncle Fatso” by his nieces and nephews from the South and as “Uncle Knot-head” by those from the North. You could always tell where folks were from by which nickname they used. He was an avid fisherman and enjoyed going to “the lake.”

Loving survivors include six children: Kenny Ray Koehler of Jackson, Kelly Sutton (Clint Hendershott) of Jackson, Jason (Tracey) Towell of Jackson, Michael (Kristina “Red”) Towell of Albany, GA; Adam (Amanda) Koehler of Sedgewickville; Steve (Linda) Boaz of Cape Girardeau; 11 grandchildren: Joshua (Cameron) Koehler, Tyler Sutton, Kaylie “Tick” Sutton, Caedan Hendershott, Aidan Towell, Rhea (Darrell) Rhoads, Alex Foster, Elizabeth “Izzy” Foster, Carolyn “Cakee” Koehler, Shailey (Tony) Phillips, Lauren (Jesse) Kerr; seven great-grandchildren: Keegan Ray Koehler, Bently Gage “Seed Tick,” Savannah, Brody, and Sloane Rhoads, Sophia Phillips and Tony James Phillips Jr.; four siblings: Mary Ann (Jim) Cotner of Troy, Illinois; Phyllis (the late Terry) Dunn of Austell, Georgia; Roger (Margie) Koehler of Buchanan, Tennessee; and a sister-in-law, Shirley (the late Tom) Koehler of Jackson.

In addition to his parents, Clem and Dora Koehler, Kenneth was preceded in death by his first wife, Sandra, and her parents, John and Bertha Laurentius; his second wife, Carolyn, and her parents, Arthur and Connie Sturm; a son, Gabe Koehler; and two siblings, Tom Koehler and Diana Johnson.

The visitation will be from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022, at McCombs Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Jackson. There will be an American Legion Service at 7:30 p.m.

The funeral service will be at 10:30 a.m., Friday, Feb. 18, 2022, at the funeral home with Rev. Sam Roethemeyer officiating, assisted by Tony Dunn.

Interment will be in Russell Heights Cemetery in Jackson, with full military honors and a fireman’s last call.

The family suggests that contributions be made to the American Legion Scholarship Fund.

Online condolences may be sent to the family by clicking on the tribute wall tab of Kenneth’s personal obituary page at mccombsfuneralhome.com.

Jay Forness covers education, county government and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Jackson for the past five years. He can be reached at cbjedit@socket.net.

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