Recent Comments

KohlerMonsignor Russell E. Kohler

November 12, 1943 – March 25, 2016



Born November 12, 1943 in Monroe, Michigan, Monsignor Russell E. Kohler was the son of the late Vernon A. and Mary E. (Kellison) Kohler. He graduated from Monroe Catholic Central High School in 1961. He entered his seminary studies at Our Lady of the Lake Seminary, Syracuse, Indiana and then transferred to Sacred Heart Seminary College, Detroit. He then enrolled at St. John’s Provincial Seminary in Plymouth, Michigan for graduate studies and took additional courses at the University of Detroit.


Msgr. Russ was ordained a Catholic priest at Detroit’s Assumption Grotto Church on Palm Sunday, April 15, 1973 by Bishop Joe Imesch and was assigned to St. Aloysius Parish, downtown Detroit from 1974-1980. He also served at St. David of Wales Parish and Patronage of St. Joseph in Detroit. He was Chaplain at Sinai and Grace Hospitals in Detroit between 1982-1991. In 1991 he was named pastor of historic Most Holy Trinity Parish in Corktown, Detroit and on July 1, 2012 he was also appointed pastor of Ste. Anne de Detroit serving both parishes concurrently. He also had served as Associate Pastor at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Grotto) Parish, Detroit. In addition, he served as administrator of St. Patrick Parish, White Lake; St. Joseph Parish, Detroit; and St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Newport. On December 5, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Monsignor, Chaplain to His Holiness.


In 1974 he began working with cancer youth and established Pope John XXIII Hospitality House for cancer patients and was a director of Special Day Camps for youth with cancer and their siblings for over 30 years. In 1993 he helped create the Trinity Educational Foundation, which supports scholarships for inner city youth attending Most Holy Trinity School, founded in 1838. Msgr. Russ also organized, founded, and served as Chaplain of the St. Joseph of Arimathea Guild, an organization formed for the purpose of spiritually understanding the role of being a Catholic funeral director, and actively supported the St. Francis of Cabrini Clinic which provides medical and legal help for those in need.


He was appointed director of the Archdiocese of Detroit’s port ministry the Apostleship of the Sea by Cardinal Adam Maida in 1998. In 2009 he was appointed to the Michigan Board of Examiners in Mortuary Science by then Governor Jennifer Granholm and reappointed by Governor Rick Snyder, and also sat on the Automobile Theft Prevention Authority Board.


Msgr. Russ was a member and Chaplain of the Ancient Order of Hibernians for over thirty years. He graduated from the Schoolcraft Police Academy, serving as chaplain to the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department, Detroit Metro Police Emerald Society and to the area police group, the Choir Boys. His memberships included chaplaincies to the Inter-Lake Yachting Association, Detroit Yacht Club, Bayview Yacht Club (Detroit) Swan Boat Club, (Newport, Michigan), Sunken Sail Yacht Club, (Irish Hills), National Apostleship of the Sea, Friends of the Detroit Fire Boat, Maltese American Benevolent Society, Inc. of Corktown, Detroit,  Knights of Columbus, and member of the Board of the Fr. Clement H. Kern Foundation.


He enjoyed hunting, fishing, antiquing, music, collecting automobiles, Tiger Baseball, and boating. He especially enjoyed spending time at his homes in Harrisville and the Irish Hills. When not in the Detroit Metro area, Msgr. Russ could often be found celebrating Mass at St. Joseph Shrine in the Irish Hills when called upon.


Msgr. Russ is survived by three siblings, Jacquelyn “Jackie” Miller of Monroe, Polly (Douglas) Lovell of LaSalle, and Barney Kohler of Onsted; sister-in-law, Denise Kohler of Newport; nephews, Carey (Rosanne) Miller, Jeremy (Nicole) Lovell, Casey (Zoira) Lovell, Derek Didario, Kellison (Elizabeth) Kohler, and Kory Kohler; niece, Abbey (Douglas) Moran; and nine great nieces and nephews.


In addition to his parents, he was also preceded in death by an infant sister, Susan; brother-in-law, Alan Miller; and infant great-niece, Audrey Moran.


Family and friends may visit from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Rupp Funeral Home, Monroe, where a time of sharing will be at 6:30 p.m. Msgr. Russ will lie in repose Thursday at Ste. Anne de Detroit Parish at 2 p.m. where Bishop Donald F. Hanchon will celebrate Mass at 6:30 p.m. He will then lie in repose at Most Holy Trinity, Detroit at 2 p.m. Friday until his funeral Mass at 6:30 p.m. presided by Archbishop of Detroit, Allen H. Vigneron. Private interment services will be held at St. Charles Cemetery, Newport, where Monsignor Russ will be laid to rest with Rites of Committal offered by Bishop Hanchon.


In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are encouraged to Most Holy Trinity Church, Most Holy Trinity School, or Ste. Anne de Detroit Church, all care of 1050 Porter St., Detroit, MI 48226.


Online condolences can be sent through

17 Responses to Monsignor Russell E. Kohler

  • H. Marie Smith says:

    Our family has known Monsignor Russ a long time. I first met him at my son, Paul’s, St. Patrick Day broadcast party years ago and I saw him then every year after that. He was always witty and interesting to talk to and he went to Monroe Catholic Central School, where my sons had gong to school, too. I was amazed to read his bio and to see everything he has done…although it did not surprise me at all. My condolence to his siblings and other relatives. We will really miss him. Monroe has lost a favorite son and priest.

  • Philip l Dtegel II says:

    Most Holy Trinity Church , I can not put into words how much you will be missed ,NO WIND CALM WAVES rest in peace.

  • Alicia Palma Van Pelt says:

    Our family has known Fr. Russ from the time he was a young Seminarian at St. John’s Seminary in Plymouth. We offer our deepest condolences to his family and friends. We will miss him.

  • John Buehner says:

    Russ was a classmate at Sacred Heart Seminary College & St. John’s Provincial Seminary. My memories of Russ are of a person who was gentle, happy (he had a great laugh), easy going and a prayerful. He certainly served the Lord and God’s people in many different ways as is noted in his obituary. My sincere condolences to his family. May he rest gently and peacefully in the Lord’s Kingdom for which he labored with unselfish love here on earth.

  • Lily Cavanagh says:

    The Cavanagh family will experience an emptiness in their lives, where Father (Monsignor) Kohler stood larger than life. His love of fishing, horseback riding and politics made conversations never ending. His ability to talk you into giving more of yourself, when you didn’t realize there was so much there to give. This was due to his love of people, how he saw their wroth and knew exactly what to say. I shall miss our talks over Thursday dinners and so much more! May our prayers to his family & church family help them in their time of need. – Lily & The Cavanagh Family

  • Marisa tear says:

    My deepest sympathy goes out to Fr. Russ’s family. Fr. Russ will be miss by all. Fr. Russ was a family friend.
    RIP My friend. Thanks for the memories. Till we meet again.
    God Bless You.

    Marcy Tear
    Amanda Schoenherr
    Stacey Schoenherr
    Craig Schoenherr, Jr.
    Kevin Schoenherr

  • Dan Didario says:

    Barney & Jackie,
    So sorry for your loss. Russ was a Great Man.
    You are in my thoughts and prayers.
    God Bless

  • Anne Rowan Bouch says:

    I am writing from Dublin,Ireland,where I had the privilege of showing Fr. Russ around my native city. As usual he really enjoyed it and shared some mutual Rowan ancestor stories. He so generously shared his Irish Hills home with the kids in the Ulster Project yearly. He made such a difference to so many people and will be missed.
    Thanks for the memories
    Anne Rowan Bouch

  • tamara french says:

    I am so sorry for our communities loss. He was such a great man and Father. I volunteered legal services in the past and always enjoyed the amazing dinners at Most Holy Trinity and, of course, the great stories and tales of Father Russ. I even got to eat some of the fish he had caught on a fishing trip. What a great man!

  • Lorene Cook says:

    Russ was our neighbor at Meadow Lake since the 1970′s. Weekends were always more interesting when Russ was in residence…offering up tidbits about local history, events and people as well as world news, politics and summer baseball. A truly wonderful neighbor and friend who will be sorely missed by so many. Most heartfelt condolences to you and your family, Barney.
    The blonds next door.

  • George Ward says:

    Terribly sorry to hear of Fr. Russ’ passing.It was a family tradition to celebrate St.Patrick’s day with him at Holy Trinity. Sorry too that there will be no more Fridays when we would bump into him at Gandy Dancer in Ann Arbor. Eternal rest grant unto him, Oh Lord; with his service to the poor and down-trodden he’s more than earned it! George Ward

  • Mary Rowan says:

    So sad to hear Fr. Russ has passed away.. We always thought he would make a return journey to Ireland but it was not to be. We have fond memories of his visit to Clogher on Blacksod Bay, Mayo.. How he loved the Wild Atlantic and the Sea. How he could have achieved so much in his lifetime is something else.
    Until we meet again, may the Lord reward him for his endless labour in this life.
    My deepest sympathy to Jackie, Polly, Barney and extended families.. We remember you all in our prayers at this sad time. .
    Mary Rowan and extended Rowan families here. on Mullet Peninsula.

  • James K. Warunek says:

    Monsignor Russell E. Kohler was a dear friend and truly, the funeral director’s friend. He was very instrumental with my pursuit as a funeral service professional. We were to meet recently at Edie’s for tamales however, our dinner meeting was cut short due to me being pressed into service at the last minute…rest in peace, my friend.

  • Heidi Flynn says:

    Sing God a simple song. Lauda, laudé.
    Make it up as you go along, lauda, laudé.
    Sing like you like to sing; God loves all simple things;
    For God is the simplest of all. For God is the simplest of all.

    I will sing the Lord a new song; to praise him, to bless him, to bless the Lord. I will sing his praises, while I live, all of my days.

    Blessed is the man who loves the lord, blessed is the man who praises him; lauda, lauda, laudé, and walks in his ways.

    I will lift up my eyes to the hills from whence comes my help.
    I will lift up my voice to the Lord, singing lauda, laudé.

    For the Lord is my shade, is the shade upon my right hand.
    And the sun shall not smite me by day; nor the moon by night.
    Blessed is the man who loves the Lord, lauda, lauda, laudé,
    And walks in his ways…

  • kay anne (jaworski) cogley says:

    Father Russ was a very dear friend of my parents, Ervin and Anne Jaworski , and have told our family many wonderful stories of the people he has helped, he was a very caring ,compassionate, and kind man..He ran his boat into the steel dock in Port Austin one night(accidently) and my parents helped to get him repair for the boat and my mom and dad put him up for the night , after a delicious homemade dinner. Jackie you know your brother is in heaven now and will watch over us from there now…God Bless your family.

  • Cyndi Andrews-Teegarden says:

    My parents owned the Bauer Manor in the Irish Hills and Father Russ often stopped in when he was in town. I remember him as a great man and I am saddened to hear that he passed away last year. My parents were very fond of him.

  • Time has gone by, I still miss your kind ways, your wonderful personality…
    Especially honored to have worked with you serving the poor and sick.
    RIP my Dear friend.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.