Longtime Steamboat Springs resident Ron Koehler passed away March 6, 2004. He was 81.
Ron was born May 6, 1922, to William and Irma Koehler in Milwaukee, Wis. They soon moved to Butte, Mont., where Ron's father worked in the copper mines.
Ron graduated from Butte Public High School and Butte Business College. He opened the Western Auto Store in Butte in August 1955, eventually developing the business into a large operation that marketed boats, appliances, motorcycles and hardware.
Ron was an avid dancer and developed a unique style of Jitterbug dancing, which led to meeting his future wife of 59 years, Lyle Francis Agnast. The couple had a passion for dancing that lasted all their years together. Ron and Lyle performed on many occasions, and even danced at the State Legislature Ball in Helena, Mont.
In 1970, Ron sold all his business holdings in Butte and moved to Steamboat Springs, where he purchased the Rabbit Ears Motel in 1971. He developed the motel from its 20 original units to the 66 units it operates today. Ron worked tirelessly to maintain and restore a Steamboat landmark -- the famous Rabbit Ears Motel sign. His perseverance and determination were rewarded; the sign received historical designation from Routt County last year.
Ron was a member of Holy Name Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus. He was an avid golfer who loved to build his own clubs. He also loved to bowl, travel and paint, and he had a passion for cars and racing. He raced stock cars in his younger years.
He was a very generous, compassionate man who possessed a great sense of humor and a love of life. He was a man of great vision and tremendous determination who always left a lasting and favorable impression on anyone who knew him. He will always be remembered and will be truly missed by his family and friends.
Ron is survived by his wife, Lyle Francis Koehler; two sons, Ronald Christopher and his wife Lorraine of Tioga, N.D., and Gregory William and his wife Darlene of Steamboat; and six grandchildren, Angelina Diane, Marnee Rose, Joseph Christopher and Kathryn May of Denver, and Lyndsey Renee and Darren Christopher of Steamboat.
A funeral service was held March 11, 2004, at Holy Name Catholic Church.
Memorial contributions may be sent to Hospice of Steamboat, 940 Central Park Dr., Suite 101, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487.