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Published: Tuesday, 3/1/2005

Teacher helped students find enjoyment in reading

WAUSEON - June E. Kohli, who taught for more than four decades in Fulton County school districts, died yesterday of pneumonia after a long illness at Heartland of Wauseon. She was 86.

Mrs. Kohli was a lifelong resident of Fulton County. She was born in York Township and attended schools in Delta before receiving a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University.

She began her career teaching elementary school in Swanton and Wauseon schools.

"She really saw teaching as a calling, much the way a minister goes into the ministry," her daughter, Ellen Johnson, said.

Mrs. Kohli later taught fourth and fifth grades for about 16 years in the Archbold school district.

She was especially dedicated to helping students learn to enjoy reading.

"She knew her students so well that she would find out what they were interested in, then pursue those interests to draw them into reading," her daughter said.

"She knew that reading would open up worlds for them."

When she moved to teaching junior high school with the Pike-Delta-York district, Mrs. Kohli was a reading specialist. She helped students overcome reading difficulties so they could excel in all their classes.

Joy Crew, a former student who now lives in Wauseon, said Mrs. Kohli improved her reading skills and instilled her with an enthusiasm for reading.

"She was a very tough teacher," Ms. Crew said. "She was strict, but she was a good teacher and she really cared about the students."

Mrs. Kohli retired from teaching in 1988 after a career spanning about 41 years.

Outside of work, Mrs. Kohli often pursued her own love of reading.

She also enjoyed gardening and was devoted to her family, relatives said.

She attended the First Baptist Church in Wauseon for many years and was a member of the Delta Kappa Gamma professional sorority of teachers.

Surviving are her husband of 60 years, Ezra; sister, Betty Barnes; sons, David, Gary, Denver, E. Lee, and Jim; daughters, Ellen Johnson and Beth Brown; 15 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at the First Baptist Church.

The body will be at Barnes Funeral Chapel in Delta after 3 p.m. tomorrow and at the church for an hour before services.

The family suggests tributes be to the First Baptist Church building fund.

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