St. Mary’s resident among dead at Navy Yard -- Gazette.Net


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Frank Kohler, a Tall Timbers resident who was one of the 12 people killed in Monday’s shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, was remembered Tuesday for his service to a civic organization, which included taking part in St. Mary’s County’s annual oyster festival.

Kohler, 50, at one time served as president of the Rotary Club of Lexington Park, and continued his involvement in its range of projects, including participating in the Christmas in April program to make repairs to needy people’s homes.

“He always stepped up to it, whatever the club needed,” according to Dave Taylor, a former administrator of the oyster festival. Taylor said that Kohler, who worked at Lockheed Martin Corp.’s branch in Wildewood, would make sure that the club had the county license, club members and product from a beer distributor to provide the beverages at the event held each October at the county fairgrounds.

“He made sure we had workers at the various stands, ... and made sure everything was going to be there and run smoothly,” Taylor said.

Kohler “had a good time doing it,” current club President Jack Pappas said of his predecessor’s participation in the festival, including its fundraising element to further Rotary’s worldwide charitable involvement and local efforts. That includes scholarships, donations to nonprofit groups and its own outreach to aid people in developing countries.

“It was the camaraderie, and to put in helping the community,” Pappas said of Kohler’s delight in working on the festival.

When word got out of Kohler’s death, Pappas said, “It was really a shock to the club, and it rippled up and down Rotary.”

Merl Evans lives next door to the Kohlers in Tall Timbers. He said, “You get up and you wave at him in the morning. You don’t expect a person you see every day to be shot and killed the next day.”

He said that Kohler and his wife, Michelle, have two daughters.

“These incidents, we sort of have gotten to the point, you lower the flag, you feel bad, you move on … and then something else happens. It is a senseless, senseless thing,” Evans said.

At a joint meeting between the St. Mary’s County commissioners and Patuxent River Naval Air Station officials Tuesday, commissioners’ President Jack Russell (D) said, “Today’s a very sad day in our community, a very trying time.”

Capt. Benjamin Shevchuk, commanding officer of Pax River, said, “We are with these families in spirit, who are grieving. Our Navy and our nation has had our sense of security shaken once again.”