Herbert Kohler Jr., 83, of Kohler, Wis., died Sept. 3, 2022. He served Kohler Co. for 61 years, most recently as the company’s executive chairman since 2015. He was elected chairman of the board and CEO in 1972 and president of the company in 1974.
During his 43-year span as CEO, he transformed his family-owned company into a world leader, with more than 40,000 associates and dozens of manufacturing facilities on six continents. His father, Herbert Kohler Sr., son of Kohler Co. founder John Kohler, served as board chairman and CEO of Kohler Co. from 1940 until his death in 1968. His mother, Ruth De Young Kohler, was a historian and former women’s editor of the Chicago Tribune.
Kohler Jr. designed many of the company’s products himself and held more than 200 design and utility patents.
Kohler Jr. is survived by his wife, Natalie; daughters, Laura (Steve Proudman) Kohler and Rachel (Mark Hoplamazian) Kohler; son, David (Nina) Kohler; 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.