Reverend Robert W. Koller, age 82 passed away on January 8, 2020. In death he leaves his wife, Barbara, who loved him for many years and was his caregiver extraordinaire to the very end.
Bob also leaves behind four very loved children: his daughter, Lisa Adzick (George) of Eden Prairie, MN and her triplet sons, Nicholas, Christian and Koller, and her stepdaughter Anya; a son, Craig Koller of Los Angeles and his three children, Cameron, Riley and Kat; a daughter, Michelle Ballard of Minneapolis, MN and her two children, Alison and Tuxa; and his stepson, David Dodd (John Pearson) of Columbus, WI.
He also leaves a sister, Barbara Senn (Jerry), a sister-in-law, Judy Koller, and a number of cousins, nieces and nephews, and finally his aunt, Bette Kundert of Janesville, WI. He was preceded in death by his parents, Werner Koller and Rose Huber, and two brothers, William Koller and Richard Koller.
Although Robert was born in Milwaukee, WI on January 26, 1937, he called Monroe, WI his hometown. He was indebted and especially grateful to the many people in his life who helped, encouraged and inspired him in his life’s journey. There were many friends, benefactors, colleagues, and even strangers who influenced him during his life.
Having decided in high school that he wanted to become a Christian minister, Bob was guided by the leaders at St. John’s UCC Church in Monroe, Rev. Paul Kehle and Rev. Paul Olm, and supported by a benevolent choir director, Vivian Blum, in attending Elmhurst College in Illinois where he graduated in 1959. He then attended Lancaster Theological Seminary in Lancaster, PA where he received his Bachelor of Divinity Degree in 1962. It was a proud homecoming for Bob when he was finally ordained a minister at his beloved St. John’s United Church of Christ in Monroe, WI on July 15, 1962.
Rev. Koller served several congregations, most notably First Congregational United Church of Christ of DePere, WI, where he led the charge to move from an aging facility and secure his members in a new church building and location.
After serving a second parish in Elkhorn, WI, Bob carried his ministerial skills into a career that involved wider service to the community, He worked as a youth counselor with the Menominee Nation, was Director of Student Financial Aid at St. Norbert College, Director of Client Services in the Section 8 Housing Program at the then Housing Allowance Program of Brown County, Director of the Weatherization Program, and finally advanced and later retired as CEO of NEWCAP, a Community Action Agency in Oconto, WI that serves people in need throughout ten counties.
Never far from his ministerial roots, Bob continued to serve the United Church of Christ, the Presbyterian Church and the Methodist Church as an interim minister, traveling to over twenty different northeastern Wisconsin churches. As he filled a critical role for several months at a time, these churches would routinely invite him to stay on as their permanent minister, but he would humbly decline and move on to his next assignment while remaining busy with work and family in Green Bay.
Bob met his second wife, the love of his life, Barbara, an elementary teacher by profession, in 1985 and they have been together ever since. He was supportive of her Catholic faith and they would regularly alternate between Sunday services at their familiar churches. They lived happily in Green Bay and continued to assist the community, family and friends in many ways. Bob drew strength from Barbara, from family and in his faith in the Triune God who is loving and forgiving and will bring him, and all of us to eternal life through his Son, our brother, Jesus Christ.
A celebration of Robert Koller’s life will be held at Union Congregation Church (716 S. Madison St., Green Bay), Saturday, January 18, 2020. Visitation will be from 9:30AM to 11AM and the Memorial Service will follow at 11AM.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to either Saint John’s Evangelist Homeless Shelter or Union Congregational Church in Bob's name.