John O. Koehler

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Koehler , John O.
John O. Koehler, 82, of Stamford passed away peacefully at home on Friday, September 28, 2012.
He is survived by his daughter, Teresa Koehler of Hillsborough, NJ, and three grandchildren, as well as triplet brothers living in Germany and my trusted and cherished friend Anne Cron. A journalist for nearly four decades, retired in 1985 from The Associated Press as an assistant general manager and managing director of world services. He subsequently formed Koehler International Limited, a consulting firm specializing in international governmental and public affairs, communications, crisis management and political/economic risk analysis. Koehler's assignments during 28 years with The AP included service as a foreign correspondent in Germany for six years. As head of the Bonn bureau, Koehler covered nine trips of Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev, including the volatile Kennedy-Kruschchev Vienna meeting; the emergence of West Germany under Chancellor Adenauer as a world power, and the height of the Cold War. He also headed the Berlin bureau, reporting on the building of the Communist Wall and the resulting military confrontations between the United States and the Soviets. For his journalistic achievements in West Germany, the German Chancellor awarded him the German Cross of Merit First Class. Immediately after his retirement from The Associated Press, Koehler was commissioned to conduct a number of sensitive studies relating to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan for the U.S. Congress, the National Security Council and the U.S. Information Agency. This entailed making on-the-spot assessments throughout Asia. President Ronald Reagan appointed Koehler as Assistant to the President and Director of Communications in 1987. He had been advising Mr. Reagan for some years before his election. He was also a consultant and special advisor to the director of the U.S. Information Agency. Koehler conducted a major study on improving U.S. government communications with foreign media. In mid-summer 1987, Koehler was sent to Europe to assess for President Reagan the various governments, public and media perception on a proposed US-Soviet treaty eliminating intermediate range nuclear weapons. The INF Treaty was successfully concluded. In 1988, Koehler was appointed by President Reagan for a three-year term to the national Commission for Employment Policy. As consultant to the chairman of one of the world's largest banks, Koehler worked in projects involving the Third World debt crisis and he has advised other top executives on public affairs aspects of the European ecomomic/political integration. He also served as a consultant and advisor to the Amir of Bahrain, the late H.H. Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa. He was instrumental in having the Amir paying a state visit with President Reagan and in the establishment of the U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet Base in Bahrain. Koehler was born in 1930 in Dresden, Germany. At age 10 he was accepted at the Dresden Higher Business School where he also studied English, French and Latin. To avoid being forced into the Hitler Youth, he volunteered to serve as an air raid police runner during the World War II bombings of Dresden. Then he left home, headed for the American lines where met with a US combat patrol and volunteered to serve as an interpreter with the US 405th Infantry Regiment. He served until the end of World War II. After that he worked for US criminal investigation and counterintelligence units. In 1954 he immigrated to the United States and was naturalized a U.S. citizen a year later after enlisting in the U.S. Army. Bilingual in German and with a working knowledge of Russian, he then served 13 years on active and reserve duty, specializing in intelligence collection and counter-espionage. Serving as an enlisted man, he was awarded a direct commission as an officer and was honorably discharged as a captain. Besides military medals, the Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen bestowed him the Department of Defense Cold War Citation. Koehler is the author of "Stasi: The Untold Story of the East German Secret Police" and "Spies in the Vatican: The Soviet Union's Cold War Against the Catholic Church."
Family and friends may call at The Nicholas F. Cognetta Funeral Home & Crematory, 104 Myrtle Avenue, Stamford, CT 06902 on Friday, October 5, 2012 from 4:00-7:00 PM. Inurnment with full military honors will be held at Arlington National Cemetery, VA at a later date.
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Nicholas F. Cognetta Funeral Home & Crematory
104 Myrtle Avenue
Stamford, CT 06902
(203) 348-4949
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Published in StamfordAdvocate on Oct. 2, 2012