Henry “Hank” Ernest Koehler
December 24, 1941 – July 10, 2022

A faithful follower of Jesus Christ, Hank was a Bible scholar and retired teaching minister of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, most recently at Immanuel Lutheran Church and School, Elmhurst, IL.

Hank peacefully passed into glory on Sunday, July 10, 2022 at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital. He is survived by Karen (nee Kupczak), his wife of 50 years, and his three children, their spouses and children: Tim (Kristina Haas), Nico and Anya of Redondo Beach, CA; Becky (Adam Johnson), Vivien and Bradley of Lombard, IL; and Kristi (Nathan Cullor), Thomas, Lydia, and Camilla “Millie” of Brookfield, WI. He is also survived by two brothers-in-law; one sister-in-law; many nieces, nephews, and cousins of multiple generations; many former students and friends; and his Immanuel Church family.

Henry was born December 24, 1941 in Des Plaines, IL, to Henry Arthur and Lilah (Schroeder.) He received the Sacrament of Holy Baptism on February 1, 1942, his sister Dorothy’s sixth birthday, with grandparents and great-grandparents in attendance at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Des Plaines, IL. He attended Immanuel’s Day School, was confirmed on Palm Sunday 1956, and graduated in June of 1956. In 1960, he was a member of the first graduating class of Maine West High School, which was built on his grandparents’ farm.

He attended Concordia Teachers College in River Forest, IL and received his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1964, the 100th anniversary year of Concordia. He also received a Master of Arts Degree in 1972.

His teaching ministry in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod spanned 46 years, beginning in 1964 at St. Paul Lutheran Church and School in Oak Lawn, IL. During his eleven years there, he first taught and later married Karen (Kupczak) on June 24, 1972. From 1975-1987, Hank taught and became a teaching Principal at Immanuel Lutheran Church and School in Memphis, TN. His children were born and baptized at Immanuel and began their education there.

In 1987, Hank was called to be Principal at St. John’s Lutheran Church and School in LaPorte, IN where one of his Concordia suitemates was Senior Pastor. Karen also taught in the school, and Tim and Becky were confirmed and graduated there.

In 1994, he answered a call to Immanuel Lutheran Church and School in Elmhurst, IL where Kristi was confirmed and graduated. For his last 16 teaching years, he was the 6th grade Religion and Homeroom teacher. He taught Junior High History, Geography, Current Events, and Literature. He coached 5th and 6th grade boys basketball and took his students to Walcamp for outdoor education many years before retiring in 2010.

Hank’s hobbies included reading, listening to music, watching all Chicago sports teams, researching his family history, and being a docent at Graue Mill for school group visitors. Above all, however, was his favorite hobby of gardening. His backyard gardening skills amazed his family and friends, and he was always eager to learn more about plants and share his knowledge.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice … be at peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you” (II Corinthians 13:11). Shalom!!!

Visitation will be held Friday, July 22, 2022 from 3:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at Pedersen Ryberg Funeral Home, 435 N. York St., Elmhurst, IL 60126. Friends and family to meet Saturday, July 23, 2022 for a 10:00 a.m. Funeral Service at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 142 E. Third St., Elmhurst, IL 60126. Interment Ridgewood Memorial Park Cemetery, 9900 N. Milwaukee Ave., Des Plaines, IL 60016.

In lieu of flowers, gifts of remembrance may be made to Immanuel Lutheran Church and School, 142 E. Third St., Elmhurst, IL, 60126 or to your favorite church or charity. For more information, contact 630-834-1133.

Call to Glory – Henry Ernest Koehler