Arthur "Art" Koehler, longtime manager of Windermere Baptist Assembly, died May 17 at his home at the age of 79.
Funeral services were held May 20 at his church, First Baptist in Camdenton, with pastor Bob AuBuchon officiating. He was buried with military honors in Hedges Cemetery, Camdenton.
When he and his wife, the former Marjorie "Marge" Jones, retired at Windermere in January 1990 – she as food services manager – they had served for 32 years.
The Windermere Board of Advisors dedicated a new lodge – Koehler Lodge – after the couple on Sept. 8, 2001, in recognition of their selfless service.
Marge was a receptionist at the Baptist Building in Jefferson City and Art was working as an auto parts manager when the search began for a camp manager for the newly acquired Baptist camp in 1957.
"Marge, for some reason or another, turned my name in to do maintenance," Koehler once recounted. She failed to mention the application to him. A short time later, convention officials "called me over at the garage and asked if I would come in for an interview," he recalled. "I was shocked, but I went in."
With his background in management and knowledge of construction, Art was offered the position of assembly manager. "When this came through, I just knew it was what the Lord wanted for me. I didn't argue. I just came."
They were named co-managers and began the fledgling ministry on Jan. 1, 1958. By the time they retired, the property had grown from 627 acres with 21 buildings to 1,150 acres with 78 buildings.
With their faithful service came further recognition. In 1984, the Missouri Woman's Missionary Union honored the couple for 25 years of ministry to Windermere. "We are celebrating a silver anniversary – a marriage between WMU and Windermere and Windermere," said then-WMU president Barbara Bray. "And the most prominent thing about Windermere is the Koehlers."
In 1987, William Jewell College awarded them the W.F. Yates Medallion for Distinguished Service in Religion, the college's highest non-degree award.
Upon retirement, Art said: "This has been home for 32 years. I don't even know how I can call it a job. We've lived at home and performed a service out of our home."
Koehler was a U.S. Army veteran of World War II and served as a deacon at First Baptist Church, Camdenton. He was a member of Gideon's International and the veterans of Foreign Wars, and was recognized in "Who's Who in Religion."
He served on the board of director for Camden Manors, delivered "meals on wheels" and was active on various boards and committees at his church.
In addition to his wife, whom he married on April 21, 1946, survivors include a son, John Koehler, and his wife, Sandra, of Clearwater, Fla.; a daughter, Beverly Thomas, and her husband, Walter, of Linn Creek; a sister, Dorothy Ann Headly, and her husband, Bill, of Olney, Ill.; five granddaughters, Christine Fish, Dawn Casida, Julie Osmon, Shana Thompson and Carrie Koehler; and six great-grandchildren, Cory, Tyler, Mason, Conner, Kayla and Grant.