Norma Jeanne Kohler

 Norma Jeanne Kohler, 89, of Valley City died on Saturday, January 16, 2021, at Mercy Hospital in Valley City, ND. A funeral mass will be celebrated 10:30 am Thursday, January 21 at St. Catherine Catholic Church, Valley. The visitation will be held at the church from 4-7 pm Wednesday followed by a prayer service at 7 pm. Visitation will continue one hour before the service at the church. Burial will be in St. Bernard’s Cemetery, Oriska, North Dakota. The funeral mass will be lived streamed at:

Norma Jeanne (Dunham) Kohler was born on November 15, 1931 in Fargo, ND. She was the oldest of John W. and Helene (Luther) Dunham’s three children. She graduated from Tower City High School in 1949.

On November 21, 1949, Jeannie married Kenneth J. Kohler, Sr., in Oriska, North Dakota. They made their first home on a farm site south of Tower City, where they lived until moving to the Fingal area in 1966 to continue farming. Together, they raised a daughter and four sons. Jeannie was a dedicated farm wife, gathering and selling eggs and cream in the early days, and always ready to run for parts or pick up someone from the field. Of course, she did all this while keeping everyone fed, making and taking meals for 8-10 people to the fields, sometimes multiple times each day.

Family was the most important part of Jeannie’s life. She loved entertaining the entire Kohler or Dunham families at the holidays or birthdays. To see her face light up, all you needed to do was ask about her children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren. They all loved going to Grandpa and Grandma’s house, where there was always something fun to do. Her patience with her grandkids was bountiful, never saying no to a baking adventure (even when the help with cleanup left something to be desired). Her presence at important events in their lives, from weddings and graduations to ballgames and recitals, was a given. Her care packages of cookies, apple bars and other treats were always appreciated.

Jeannie was a member of St. Catherine Catholic Church, and former member of St. Bernard’s Catholic Church, Oriska and Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Fingal. She loved playing the piano and organ and played for many weddings. In her earlier days, she even played for school events and dances in the area. She had been a member of the Tower City Homemakers Club and was organ and choir director at St. Bernard’s Church in Oriska for many years. In their retirement, Jeannie and Ken enjoyed travel, driving many miles together to see new places and visit extended family, and spending the cold months in Arizona.

Jeannie loved to have coffee with friends, first in Fingal at the cafe, and then in Valley City after she and Ken Sr. moved to town in 2005. In recent years, if you met her at the Viking Room, you were sure to hear tales of her grandkids and great-grandkids. It wouldn’t have been hard to tell how proud she was of them. She may have even shared the fun fact that she was great-grandma to no less than four sets of twins.

In 2020, Jeannie moved to the Sheyenne Care Center in Valley City. Despite moving in just days before the pandemic limited in-person visits, she adapted quickly and enjoyed her new community there. She even perfected her FaceTime skills so she could stay in touch with all of her kids and grandkids. Their faces lit up many times over the past year as they saw Grandma’s number calling.

Norma Jeanne is survived by her children, Patricia (Monte) Johnson, Kenneth (Susan) Kohler, Jr., John (Jennifer) Kohler, Michael (Debbie) Kohler, and Todd (Kristi) Kohler, all of Valley City; 13 grandchildren, Heather (Brent) Kukla, Joshua (Lissa) Johnson, Justin (Tennille) Johnson, Katie (Chris) Duffy, Tara (Adam) Svenningsen, Brooke (Brian) Gubrud, Jon (Jenna) Lahr, Ashley (Tyler) Froemke, Jed (Katie) Kohler, Brittany (Riley) Haugo, Derek (Janna) Kohler, Karli Kohler, and Kara (Andrew) Schaefer; and 26 great-grandchildren, Max, Will and Jack Kukla; Bryce and Trevor Johnson; Kale and Bergan Johnson; Logan, Jack, Kyle, Leah and Eric Duffy; Lexi and Cody Svenningsen; Holt and Ree Gubrud; Hazel, Harper, and Hudsyn Lahr; Theodore Froemke; Drew, Charlie, and Jack Kohler; Adley Haugo; and Peyton and Paisley Kohler. She is also survived by her brother Wesley Dunham of Cass Lake, MN; four brothers-in-law, Lyle (Ione) Kohler of Winslow, AZ; Richard (Diane) Kohler of Valley City; Robert (Paula) Kohler of Moorhead, MN; and Ronald (Linda) Kohler of Tower City; and four sisters-in-law, Jerrilyn Dunham of Fargo, Betty (Rick) McClaflin of Tower City; Mary (Curt) Richman of Lake Park, MN; and Mary Pat Kohler of Bismarck.

She was preceded in death by her husband Kenneth Kohler, Sr.; her parents John and Helene Dunham; her mother-in-law and father-in-law Joseph and Mae Kohler; her brother Roy Dunham; grandson Cody Lahr; brothers-in-law Norbert Kosir, Harold Kohler, and Lornie Kohler; sisters-in-law Dorothy (Wes) Dunham, Marlys (Norbert) Kosir, JoAnne Kohler, and Eileen Kohler.

Jeannie’s family would like to extend sincere gratitude to CHI Mercy Health’s second floor. In her aging years the staff on second was always a comfort to her. We are so grateful to them for the care and compassion provided to her and our family in her final week. Thank you!

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the care of the Oliver-Nathan Funeral Chapel, Valley City. An online guestbook is available at

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