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Wednesday, September 13, 2023
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Thursday, September 14, 2023
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Thursday, September 14, 2023
Gerald Edward Kohn, 79, of Three Oaks, passed away peacefully on Friday, September 8, 2023 at home surrounded by his family.
A funeral service will be held at 11 AM on Thursday, September 14, 2023 at Lake Michigan Christian Center, 9955 Church Street, Bridgman, MI 49106. Friends may meet with the family from 5-7 PM on Wednesday, September 13, 2023 at Pike Funeral and Cremation Services, The Boyd Chapel, 9191 Red Arrow Hwy, Bridgman, MI 49106. Burial will be in Riverside Cemetery, Three Oaks. Memorial contributions may be made to Friends of New Troy, 13372 California Road, New Troy, MI 49119. Online condolences accepted at www.PikeFH.com.
Jerry was born on December 27, 1943 in Alhambra, California, the son of the late Ednor and Arlyss (Erickson) Kohn.
Jerry grew up working on farms in Minnesota, where he developed a strong work ethic and an early love of tractors. He graduated from Mahtomedi High School in 1961, where he met his first wife Nikki, with whom he went on to have 3 children: Scott, Todd and Sara. He followed his father into the tool and die trade. In the late 1960’s, the entire family relocated to Southwest Michigan. There, along with Jerry’s father Ed and brother Bob, they owned and ran Kohn Kastings in Stevensville, along with other businesses.
Jerry owned a 1958 Corvette that needed new grille teeth and because he couldn’t find any that were good quality, he decided to make his own. He started travelling to swap meets with his then teenaged son Scott to sell his parts to other Corvette owners. From there, his business dream developed into a reality. In 1975, Corvette Central was established by Jerry in Sawyer, Michigan. Along with his family, including wife Beverly, who he met through mutual Corvette friends and married in 1985, they worked to help Corvette Central become a successful company that sells Corvette parts all over the world. Jerry is revered in the Corvette industry as a Caretaker of the Legend. He was a founding member of the National Corvette Museum and has been given many awards. The family sold the company in 2022.
Jerry and Bev have been very involved in the wellbeing of others and progress of the Harbor Country community for many years. Jerry was a founding member of the Friends of New Troy and participated on the Galien River Sanitation Department board and the Horizon Bank board. He was involved in Chikaming Township politics and helped mentor and finance new business growth in the area, including Greenbush, Fruitbelt, and Infusco.
Along with tractors, Jerry loved classic cars including Mercury, Chevy Nomad (and pretty much all classic Chevys), his Chevy SSR, pickup trucks and of course, Corvettes. His other loves include his family, good times with great friends, longtime loyal employees, making car parts, good red wine, sunsets, birdwatching, whiskey, country music, cruising the open road, Jimmy Buffett, tinkering with pretty much anything mechanical, reminiscing about the good old days, and making new memories. Jerry was larger than life and his presence will be missed by all who knew him. What he created and gave to others with his God given gift and passion will continue to make a positive impact for a lifetime.
Survivors include his wife: Beverly; children: Scott (Pam) Kohn, and Sara (Brock) Davis; grandchildren: Allison Nash, Ren Nash, Elizabeth (Daniel) Rudolph, Michael Strefling, Bodee Davis, Hagen Davis, and Callan Davis; great-grandchildren: Grayson Strefling, Lane Rudolph, and Willow Rudolph; brother: Robert Kohn; sister: Karol Kohn, and many nieces and nephews.
Gerald was also preceded in death by his son, Todd Kohn in 2013 and his former wife, Nikki Kohn in 1997.
Arrangements are entrusted to Pike Funeral and Cremation Services, The Boyd
Chapel, 9191 Red Arrow Hwy, Bridgman.