When she was asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, my mom said “a mom.” So, the day Paul was born her wish had been granted, and she said, “It was wonderful.” Seven years later, Kevin entered the world, followed by Timmy. Each blessing was “wonderful.”
For more than 40 years, Tom and Mary Ann Kohler lived across the street from St. David’s Parish, ensuring the Catholic faith was a foundation in their sons’ upbringings. As a member of the community, she worked bingo nights, was the life of the Halloween costume parties, baked for funeral luncheons, volunteered at the church picnic, cleaned the church, and tried her best to be vigilant about keeping her eye on the sometimes disappearing baby Jesus in the Nativity. She always had a smile on her face and always made people laugh with her.
She loved to take care of people, especially kids. They made her laugh, and even more, she loved hearing them laugh. As a mother, she loved unconditionally. Her advice was straightforward, sometimes tough to hear, and always right. The greatest decision she made was to stay home throughout her sons’ childhoods, so she was present for every celebration, scrape and bruise, and sometimes heartache. And her words never failed her when she was proud of her sons’ successes.
Beyond her role as a mom, Mary Ann was a babysitter, oftentimes referred to as “Mommy Mary Ann” by the little ones tearing up her house. She was an aunt, godmother, and great aunt, who loved her nieces and nephews as her own. She followed her boys to Holy Child School as the greatest cook whose hot dog Tuesdays were unmatched. Every student knew and loved her, and she knew every one of them. She had a soft spot for the troublemakers because she saw herself in them.
Her greatest blessings were her six grandchildren–Lane, Lia, Lydia, Lindsay, Elliot, and Emmett. She looked forward to spending time with them on Fridays, making lasting memories, and sharing her gifts with them. Watching Lane and Lia play soccer, baking with Lydia, talking back to Lindsay, sneaking sweets to Elliot, and hearing Emmett laugh brought her the greatest joy.
Countless people have been touched by the life and laughter of Mary Ann: family, best friends, co-workers, strangers at garage sales, and so many more. There are many lessons to be drawn from the experiences we shared with her, and some of the greatest lessons are still to be discovered.
In one of her journals, she had a poem from a “Dear Abby” newspaper clipping. It reads: “You can use most any measure/When you’re speaking of success./You can measure it in fancy home,/Expensive car or dress./But the measure of your real success/Is the one you cannot spend./It’s the way your kids describe you/When they’re talking to a friend.”
Mary Ann Kohler said she wanted to be a mom when she grew up. How blessed we are to call her our mom.