Matthias J. Koehler, 84, stevedore, Army veteran

December 09, 2005

Matthias J. Koehler, a retired stevedore and longtime Arnold resident, died Tuesday at Harford Memorial Hospital of complications from a fall. He was 84.

Mr. Koehler, the son of German immigrant parents, was born in Baltimore and raised in Locust Point. He attended Polytechnic Institute.

During World War II, he served as an Army sergeant at stateside prisoner of war camps.

Mr. Koehler, who was a member of the International Longshoremen's Association, worked as a stevedore from 1937 until his retirement in 1983.

"He worked the piers at Locust Point, Dundalk Marine Terminal and at the Western Maryland Railway's Port Covington terminal," said his son, John P. Koehler of Pasadena.

Mr. Koehler was a lifelong athlete.

"He began pitching for softball teams at Latrobe Park when he was 16 and when he was in his 70s, he was running sprints and walking five or six miles a day at Arnold Middle School. He always kept himself in really good shape," his son said.

Mr. Koehler preferred to live simply and liked to read.

"He was a very frugal and solid man who didn't believe in owning big fancy cars. He believed in education big-time and made sure that his children went on to college and graduate school," the son said.

Mr. Koehler's wife of 45 years, the former Helen Knopica, a homemaker and Realtor, died in 2003.

Mr. Koehler was a communicant, usher and lector at St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, 689 Ritchie Highway, Severna Park, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at noon today.

Survivors also include another son, Tom Koehler of Ellicott City; a daughter, Margaret L. Koehler of Baltimore; and three grandchildren.

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