Terry Kohler, 74, of Brule, Wisconsin, is President of Windway Capital Corp., a holding company with multiple subsidiaries including North Sails Group, Inc.
and The Vollrath Co.,LLC.
Mr. Kohler was associated with The Vollrath Co., LLC, for 27 years, holding positions of President, and then Chairman and CEO prior to its reorganization in January, 1989, when Windway Capital Corp., the holding company, was formed.
Terry is a graduate of Admiral Farragut Academy of New Jersey. In 1955 he joined the U.S. Air Force and was trained as a jet fighter pilot in Class 56-O. He then spent three years as a B-47 combat crewmember pilot, and was discharged from the Strategic Air Command in 1959 with the rank of Captain. (He continues actively his flying in various aircraft including the Cessna Caravan, having recently given up flying Citations and a Bell 407 Helicopter).
Three years later, he graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Management. Terry earned his Master of Science degree in Industrial Management a year later in 1963 from the Alfred P. Sloan School of Management at MIT. His thesis and research were in the area of business application of large-scale digital computers in smaller companies.
Terry Kohler is also an outdoor sports enthusiast, and raced sports cars in SCCA competition in the mid 1960’s. He spent 6 years on the National Ski Patrol and is a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Riveredge Nature Center and is a life member of Ducks Unlimited (DU) and the National Rifle Association (NRA). Terry has been associated with Trout Unlimited (TU) for some years, and has served on the Board of Directors of the Trout & Salmon Foundation for two decades.
In 1980, Mr. Kohler ran second to Bob Kasten in the Wisconsin four-way primary for the United States Senate. Kasten went on to defeat Gaylord Nelson and become the Senator. In 1982, Mr. Kohler was the Republican Candidate for Governor of Wisconsin. Mr. Kohler's father, Walter J. Kohler, Jr. was Governor of Wisconsin from 1951 to 1957. His grandfather, Walter J. Kohler, also served as Governor from 1929 to 1931.
Mr. Kohler is married to Mary Stewart Kohler. Between them they have 7 grown children, and 13 grandchildren.
Mr. Kohler has been active in the efforts of the Republican National Committee (RNC), with GOPAC and the Wisconsin Republican Party. He has served as Republican National Committeeman from Wisconsin since 2002.
Kohler's ties to Wisconsin politics and industry went back decades. He was both the son and grandson of Wisconsin governors. His great-grandfather founded the Kohler plumbing fixture empire.
He led Windway Capital Corp., based in Sheboygan. It's the parent company of Vollrath, maker of commercial-grade pots and pans, and North Sails, maker of high-tech racing sails, including ones used by America's Cup winners.
In 1980, Kohler made a bid to become the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate but lost to Robert Kasten in the GOP primary. Two years later, Kohler ran for governor but was defeated in the general election by Tony Earl, a Democrat.
Kohler graduated from Admiral Farragut Academy in Pine Beach, N.J. in June 1952. He served in the U.S. Air Force and trained as a fighter pilot, flying B-47 bombers and rising to the rank of captain. Eventually, he went back to school and earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
At age 29, he started work at Vollrath Co., working on the production floor and moving up the ranks, becoming president after his father Walter Kohler, Jr., died in 1976. His father had served three terms as the state's governor in the 1950s; his grandfather, Walter Kohler Sr., had been elected to one term as Wisconsin governor in 1929. Both were Republicans.
Kohler was an ardent conservationist and a lifelong member of Ducks Unlimited and the National Rifle Association. He also played a major behind-the-scenes role in the reintroduction of whooping cranes and trumpeter swans in Wisconsin.
He is survived by his wife Mary Kohler; three daughters from his first marriage, Leslie, Michelle and Danielle Kohler; four step-children, Charlie, Doug and Chris Ferrell, and Joseph Simpson; 12 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.