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Obituary Notice – John A. “Jack” Kohler

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SILVER CREEK:  John A. “Jack” Kohler, 91, of Silver Creek, passed away at his home with family by his side, Thursday, April 22nd, 2021.  He was born in Silver Creek, on August 21, 1929, the son of the late George and Emma (Yonker) Kohler, Sr.  Jack was a graduate of Silver Creek Central School, Class of 1948 and served in the U.S. Army with the Army Corps of Engineers as a Corporal during the Korean War.

  Jack started his law enforcement career in the 1950’s, when he was asked to be a school crossing guard while working at the former “Hoppy’s Garage.”  He was named a part-time officer for the Village of Silver Creek Police Department in 1954, and went full-time in 1961.  He was named Chief of the Town of Hanover Police Department in 1971 and built the department to a team of five full time officers.  A back injury that would require two surgeries is what halted Mr. Kohler’s days of fighting crime on the front lines.  In 1980, he retired from police work and put his free time to good use, attending college and receiving his Associates Degree at age 50.

  On April 1, 1981, he was appointed Town of Hanover Justice and then was elected, winning seven consecutive terms thereafter.  Many residents and others who saw him on the bench for his 31 year career as justice remarked about his deep concern and caring.  He was known to provide help for homeless victims and supply food to families.  Justice Kohler’s sentences to young people often came with fatherly advice that was remembered for many years to come.  Jack presided over many weddings and was frequently sought after to be the guest speaker or master of ceremonies at local events.  He is perhaps best known to his friends for his remarkable wit and love of a good story.

  In addition to his years of law enforcement, Jack was the Disaster Coordinator for the Town of Hanover and the Village of Silver Creek, was a member of the Silver Creek Fire Department and Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Farnham.  He took on dangerous tasks, including blasting ice in Sunset Bay and the local creeks to ease flood waters.

  In his personal life, he will remembered for his love and devotion to his family.  Children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were a true joy to him.  His truest love was his beloved wife Phyllis, whom he shared sixty beautiful years with. Jack will be remembered for his many hunting and fishing trips with family and friends.  He enjoyed traveling, including trips to Alaska and many other areas of the United States.  Jack appreciated nature from gardens to mountain vistas.  He also loved cars and motorcycles, often sharing his experience of driving on a NASCAR track with his son John.

  Survivors include two sons John T. (Bethany) Kohler, Andrew C. (Genesis) Kohler, and a daughter, Melinda (Michael) Johnson.  Also surviving are three grandchildren John Joseph Kohler, Michael Wyatt Johnson and Quinlan Jack Kohler, three great grandchildren Roan, Rorik & Jace, nieces & nephews James, Jacque, Cindy & Marc.  The family would like to especially thank his caregivers for providing him continually with excellent care, comfort, support, compassion and love.  Besides his parents he was predeceased by the love of his life Phyllis (Syracuse) Kohler, whom he married on October 29, 1960 in the Zion Lutheran Church, Silver Creek and who died February 5, 2021 and a brother George Kohler, Jr., who died in 1993. 

Friends are welcome to call at Riles & Woolley Funeral Home, 39 Main Street, Forestville on Tuesday from 3-7 PM, from where a Masonic Service will be conducted by members of Silver Lodge F&AM #757, Silver Creek at 7 o’clock.  A Memorial Service will be held at a later date. COVID restrictions allow 50% capacity (approximately 80 people) at a time in the funeral home, masks are required.

The family suggests memorials may be made to the Silver Creek Emergency & Rescue Squad, 162 Central Avenue, Silver Creek, NY 14136.  To post condolences go to



  • Jan Parson
    Posted April 24, 2021 at 11:01 am

    RIP Jack Even though I moved away 25+ years ago I thought of you often❤Fly high my friend🕊

  • Holly Hewitt
    Posted April 25, 2021 at 9:24 am

    Jack will be missed by so many. I know he and I had many, many adventures when he was Town of Hanover Police Chief and I was the Observer news reporter for the Silver Creek area back in the 1970s. Catt. Creek ice jams, train wrecks, ice/wind storms, fires….no one can take those exciting memories away. Have fun in Heaven, Jack…and give Phyllis a hug from me.

  • Colby Newton
    Posted April 26, 2021 at 11:55 am

    One of the best and I am happy to say family. You will be missed.

  • Michael Mohart
    Posted April 27, 2021 at 2:20 pm

    Now Jack can join his wife again. Our sympathies to John, Andy, and Melinda’s families over your loss.

    Carl, Cathy, and Mike Mohart

  • Jeanna Valentine
    Posted April 27, 2021 at 8:34 pm

    I’ve known you and Phyllis casually for 20+ years, and these past 2 years spending so much time with you and your amazing family has brought me such joy, and amazing memories. You will always hold a huge piece of my heart. You were an amazing man with the best stories and sense of humor. I will miss you forever. Give Phyllis a big hug for me. I miss you both so much. I love you.

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