John A. Kohlberg ’52

John A. Kohlberg ’52 died on November 30, 2016, in St. Clair Shores, Michigan.

(The following was published in Grosse Pointe News, December 2016:)

Longtime Grosse Pointe Farms resident John Anthony Kohlberg, 88, passed away peacefully Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, while at ShorePointe Nursing Center in St. Clair Shores.

John was born July 1, 1928, to Pauline and Rudolph Kohlberg. He grew up in Cranston, R.I., where he attended St. George’s School. It was during his childhood that John’s love of fishing and music was cultivated. He became an accomplished pianist. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in German Studies from Bowdoin College of Brunswick, Maine, in 1952. After graduation, he entered the U.S. Army and was a physical fitness instructor during his military career.

John met the love of his life, Nancy Wheeler, while on a business trip in Chicago. She didn’t think she would hear from him again, but as he often told friends and family, he “knew a good thing when he saw it” and surprised her with a phone call the next day. They married in Nancy’s home town of Omena, in October 1954. John’s life was complete as he had Nancy, fishing and music. They moved to Grosse Pointe Farms in June 1971.

John was an independent commercial insurance agent. He enjoyed combining his salesmanship and love of fishing to “cement the deal,” much to the enjoyment of his clients. He handcrafted more than 400 custom fishing rods over the years and made his own lures. His fishing adventures led to two appearances on the Mort Neff television program “Michigan Outdoors.” He and Nancy enjoyed their membership at Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, where they made many lasting friendships.

John is survived by his sister, Susan (Kohlberg) Lavan of Harpswell, Maine; nephews, Jonathan, Daniel and Timothy Lavan and niece, Joanna Lavan.

He was predeceased by his wife of 60 years, Nancy, and his parents.

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