Surrounded by his family, Fred Koehne, 78, of Little Suamico, entered into eternal life and was greeted with open arms by Our Heavenly Father on Tuesday, January 8, 2019. His deep faith was his moral compass and constant guidance; his family could not have asked for a better role model. He was born with a twin sister, Mary, on September 8, 1940 to the late Henry and May (Young) Koehne. On April 29, 1961, Fred married his high school sweetheart and the love of his life, Sharon Thomson. He often said, “I learned to share early on as I started my life sharing with Mary and ended with Sharon...because behind every great man is a great woman!”
Fred served his country honorably in the United States Army, 32nd Infantry Division, where he was a Sergeant E5 and achieved expert marksmanship. This military achievement helped pave his path in life with family, business, and of course, hunting.
He started his career in automobiles at AMC in Kenosha and was a part of a crew that invented the intermittent wipers. In 1962 he became the youngest Rambler Dealer in the US when he opened a dealership in Oconto Falls, WI. He joined Van Boxtel Ford as a salesperson in 1967, moved up through the ranks, and became President and General Manager by 1980. His time at the dealership was one of his greatest accomplishments. He helped grow the Dealership to the #1 used car dealer in Wisconsin, #1 new Ford Dealership in Wisconsin and 5th largest used car dealer in the United States. He successfully ran the business as a Partner and General Manager until his retirement in 2004 from the car business. From 2004 – 2008, he was Co-Owner of Van Boxtel RV. In 2006 he became a Consultant, Trainer and Buyer for his sons at Koehne Chevrolet, Buick, GM Dealerships. He was extremely proud of his sons for following in his footsteps.
He was an avid outdoorsman and a few of his favorite moments were spent hunting with his family, friends and his beloved dogs. He treasured days with Sharon, having coffee on the deck in the morning, walking through the woods during the day, and enjoying a sunset cocktail. They also had many adventures in their motorhome, travelling throughout the United States, and spending winters in Fort Myers, Florida, where they had wonderful times, especially dancing, with great friends. However, he especially loved spending time with his family. He was an eternal optimist and encouraged positive thinking. His glass was not only half full but overflowing and yet he never realized the impact he had on so many lives. He had many “Fredism’s”; his children will forever be woken up with “daylight in the swamp!” and his grandchildren especially cherish this quote of his, “I can, I will, I must have confidence in myself”. He deeply touched many souls in both his professional and personal life with his words of wisdom and his “philosophy chair”; he was a leader that people wanted to follow.
Fred is survived by his wife, Sharon; children, Lisa (Pat) Gallert, Denise (Steve) Bellmore, Kandi (John) Goltz, Todd (Beth) Koehne, Sheryl (John) Michaud and Chad (Yvette) Koehne; grandchildren, Michael, Erin, Beau, Deidre, Griffin, Parker, Ashley (Rick), Kelsey (Brian), Mitchell (Stephanie), Drew, Sheridan, Chamonix, Duncan, Kennedy, Delaney and Bryson; great-grandchildren, Lennon, Layla, Harlow, River, Barrett and Ellie; brothers, Jack (Renee) Koehne, William (Pat) Koehne; sisters, Marge (Tom) Sutrick and Mary Geronimi (Fred’s twin).
He was preceded in death by his parents, Henry and May Koehne; step-mother, Elizabeth Koehne; mother-in-law Vivian (Thomson) Johnston; step-father-in-law, Elmer Johnston and father-in-law, Ardeal Thomson, many Aunts, Uncles and Friends.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, January 10, 2019 at Lyndahl Funeral Home, 1350 Lombardi Avenue, from 4:00 pm until 7:00 pm. A prayer service will take place at 7:00 pm. Visitation will continue on Friday, January 11, 2019 at St. Pius Catholic Church, 1211 County Road J, Little Suamico, from 10:00 am until the funeral mass at 11:00 am. Expressions of sympathy, memories and photos may be shared with Fred’s family on his tribute page at www.lyndahl.com.
The family would like to thank Dr. Groteluschen, Eric, the awesome Green Bay Oncology Team, including the valets, receptionists, and incredible nurses, along with the compassionate St. Mary’s 2nd floor O.D.S. nurses, the staff at St. Vincent’s and Unity Hospice. We would like to thank the numerous friends and family who stopped by to visit over the last few days to pray and share stories.
It’s a wonderful life you gave us.