Louise R. Kohler, 97, a well-known elementary teacher in Hannibal, MO, passed away at 6:50 p.m., Wednesday, October 24, 2018, at Willow Care Center in Hannibal.
At her request, there will be no visitation or church services. Graveside services and burial will be held 2:00 p.m., Sunday, October 28, 2018, at the Center Cemetery.
The family is being served by the Smith Funeral Home & Chapel of Hannibal.
Louise was born on April 22, 1921, in Flint Hill, MO, the daughter of Otto and Frances (Morman) Kohler.
Survivors include one brother, Raymond Kohler of Buchanan, MI; two sisters, Ruth Palmer of Center, MO, and Norma Swan of Galt, MO; and numerous nieces and nephews.
In addition to her parents, Miss Kohler was preceded in death by one sister, Shirley Palmer.
Louise graduated from Center High School. She went on to further her education at Kirksville Missouri State Teacher College. Of a forty-five year career, her first teaching job in 1941 was in Bonne Terre, MO, in a one-room school in the poverty stricken iron ore area. She was paid $80 per month as salary for an eight-month contract and also received $5 per month to shovel coal, to clean out the stove, and to shovel snow off the school steps. Forty-two of those years, she taught second grade at Stowell School on the south side of Hannibal. During her career, Louise was able to obtain a master’s degree over a couple of her summer breaks.
Louise employed modern approaches to teaching well before they became mainstream. Always known as Miss Kohler to over 1,000 students, her instant recall on her students and their families was amazing. She always carried a heavy heart for Joel and Billy Hoag and Craig Dowell, the three boys lost in the caves along Rte. 79. Just a day or two prior to their disappearance, they helped her assemble two metal lawn chairs in her back yard. Sisters Angie and Robin Wright commented that everyone on Hannibal’s south side “loved Miss Kohler.” She was known to be a tough, but fair teacher with the expectation that each student learn to his or her potential. Robin Wright recalled that she did not tolerate a student eating art paste. Another student, Michele StandbridgeMahsman, each year hangs a Christmas ornament made in class of popsicle sticks, yarn, a recycled holiday card, and a group photo of her 2nd grade class. Louise’s identity was very much tied to her life’s work. Her cemetery marker is engraved “45 Years Primary Teacher.”
After retirement, she dividedher time between her Hannibal home and caring for her elderly parents in Center. One of Louise’s past times from teaching was antiquing. She loved going to sales, buying antiques and refinishing antique furniture. Louise’s biggest love was reminiscing with her family and friends. Up to the time of her death, Louise kept a daily journal of her thoughts, remembrances, and recording of past experiences. Her niece, Donna Grisamore, best summed up her aunt’s life, “She tried to teach every day well after she left public education. She loved to share knowledge and her insights of how the world works.”
Memorial contributions may be made to the Center Park Fund or the Center Cemetery Association, in care of the Smith Funeral Home & Chapel.
A reception will be held on Sunday, October 28, at Fiddlesticks, at 3:30 pm. Attendees are encouraged to share their memories of school days with Miss Kohler. Online condolences may be made to the family at Louise’s memorial page at www.smithfuneralhomeandchapel.com
Center Park Fund
103 South Public, Center MO 63436
Center Cemetery Association
Center MO 63436