Dear George died peacefully on October 6, 2019, with his wife Deborah at his side. He was 90 years old. He leaves behind a large group of friends and family who will miss him dearly.
George was born in Nuremberg, Germany in 1929 and lived there with his parents, Robert and Hannah, and sister Marianne until he was eight years old. George had a happy childhood in Germany. He learned to ski early on. His family traveled frequently to Oberstdorf, a mountain resort where the family went to hike and ski. George and Marianne learned to ski in the mountains near Oberstdorf and thus began George’s lifelong love of skiing. As the war approached, the family left Germany for the United States in 1937. They traveled by ship, the USS Manhattan, arriving in New York City on Thanksgiving Day. The family moved into a small apartment and George began school there, though he initially spoke no English. In 1938, during the Depression, George’s father took a train west seeking work and chose Spokane, WA, for the family’s future home. George and his mother and sister soon followed and George spent the rest of his childhood in Spokane.
George loved the outdoors surrounding Spokane. He skied and raced at Mount Spokane, hiking up logging roads and skiing down. He learned fly fishing in the rivers and learned to fly airplanes. He got his pilot’s license at age 16. George attended Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane and college at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he graduated in 1956. During his college years, George attended classes by day and worked at Northwest Airlines at night and lived in a houseboat on Lake Union. George served in both the Navy and Army and was stationed at Fort Bliss in the 1950s.
George had a long, successful career as a financial consultant in the Seattle area. He joined Merrill Lynch in Seattle in 1960 and remained at Merrill for 54 years. He loved his work and made many lifelong friends at Merrill Lynch including colleagues, coworkers and clients. He loved to teach and taught classes on investing at both the UW and Lake Washington Public Schools. He continued his great love of the outdoors throughout his life and spent his free time flying planes, skiing, ski racing, boating, fishing and camping. He loved the San Juan Islands, especially his property on Crane Island, which he flew his plane to in the summers. His favorite activity was skiing. He taught skiing with the Buzz Fiorini Ski School and skied and raced every chance he could. He spent much time on the slopes of Sun Valley, his great love, and had many ski friendships, including those among the Ancient Skiers. He traveled to Sun Valley frequently and always every January for the Ancient Skiers Reunion. He loved nature, birds, especially eagles, the mountains, reading, driving, history, native American art, business and politics. He was a philanthropist and gave generously to many local and national causes.
George was a great guy, loved by many. He is remembered for his smile, his kindness, concern for others, extreme generosity, humor, gift of gab, and wonderful story telling. He could pretty much talk about anything and did.
On a very lucky day in January 1985 George Kohn and Deborah Kohli met. It was very lucky for both of them. They married and settled in their home on Bainbridge Island where they remained ever since. They loved each other dearly and had many happy years together, skiing, boating, fishing, hanging out at home, and traveling to Sun Valley, La Jolla, the San Juan Islands, and exploring the northwest.
George is survived by his wife, Deborah Kohli, MD, beloved dog Jake Kohli, beloved sister Marianne Arnstein, nephews John Arnstein and Peter Arnstein, and sisters in law Laurie Kohli and Lisa Kohli. He is also survived by six grand nephews and one grand niece: Zachary Arnstein, Michael Arnstein, Benjamin Arnstein, Joseph Arnstein, Mary Alice Arnstein, Matthew Arnstein, and Daniel Arnstein. He was preceded in death by parents Robert and Hannah Kohn, nephew Jim Arnstein, brother in law Peter Arnstein Sr., father in law Daniel Kohli, MD, and mother in law Mary Kohli.
A celebration to honor George’s life is planned for George’s birthday, March 20, 2020, from 12-3 pm, at the Wing Point Golf and Country Club, 811 Cherry Ave NE, Bainbridge Island 98110. (206) 842-2688.
Remembrances may be made to the West Sound Wildlife Shelter, 7501 NE Dolphin Drive, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110. (206) 855-9057.