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Alumni Hall of Fame
Service to St. Marys City Schools (2019)

Mr. Albert J. 'Prof' Kohler

Albert J. Kohler, a native son of St. Marys, Ohio, returned to his hometown, after graduating from high school in Iowa and receiving his bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1930, to spend his entire 43 - year career educating generations of young men and young women as a teacher and administrator in the St. Marys City Schools.

From the outset of his career he was immediately and forever afterwards known as Prof Kohler. He garnered this affectionate nickname during his first year teaching at Memorial, because his students thought he used big words and talked like a college professor. Prof Kohler was immensely respected and became an institution at Memorial High School.

Prof Kohler primarily taught Junior English but he also taught Freshmen and Senior English classes. In the classroom Prof was hard-nosed. He had high expectations for each student, and demanded and received respect and good manners. However, Prof Kohler's impact was not just in the realm of English. Decades later, former students recall the life lessons and skills Prof Kohler instilled in them. For example, some men recall how Prof taught them to tie a necktie. Prof wanted his students to become better versions of themselves, and to be prepared for the next stages of their lives. Prof Kohler recalled many skilled and good students, who were willing to learn but who did not parade their knowledge and skills. He found enjoyment watching them succeed and become contributing members of society. He also remembered many students were ornery, but never vicious. Prof felt that any success he attained was due to the students. They inspired and affected him in return. He believed the lasting relationships he developed with students over the years resulted from meeting his students on the same plane, and sharing mutual respect.

In the 1930's, Prof not only served MHS as an English teacher, but he also served as faculty manager. In the days before high school athletics were the institutional programs they later became, faculty manager was the equivalent of a modern-day Athletic Director. In Prof Kohler's era, one individual coached three sports, and Prof handled administrative duties like ticket sales. In 1942, Prof Kohler received his Master's Degree from the University of Nebraska, and from 1945 until his retirement in 1973 he served as Assistant Principal at Memorial High School, in addition to his teaching duties.

1945 marked the beginning of a period of great transition and growth in the St. Marys City Schools, beginning with the death of long time Superintendent Charles C. (C.C.) McBroom. This brought the close of the McBroom era which lasted 50 years and the beginning of the Superintendency of Harold H. (H.H.) Cook. For the next 28 years, Prof Kohler would be witness to much construction and expansion in the greater district but also at his dear Memorial High.

In recognition of his patience, tolerance, and sympathy; his understanding, intelligence, and dedication; his firmness, fairness, good counsel, and unprecedented respect; and for his decades of outstanding and superior service to St. Marys City Schools, Mr. Albert J. "Prof" Kohler is hereby inducted to the St. Marys Memorial High School Alumni Foundation Hall of Fame.

The above text, in its entirety, is embossed on a St. Marys Memorial High School Alumni Hall of Fame plaque permanently on display in Memorial High School.

"Prof" Kohler passed away in 1993.

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