In Memoriam: Manfred ‘Dick’ Koehler and David I. Berkman

Manfred ‘Dick’ Koehler 1933–2015

FFRF member Manfred G. “Dick” Koehler, 82, died at home in Slinger, Wis., on Dec. 23, 2015. Born in Grosskmehln, Germany to Max and Ida Koehler, Manfred spent most of his life in Wisconsin, including the last 27 years in Slinger.

He grew up in Milwaukee and attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and also served in the U.S. Army.

He retired from Sigma-Aldrich at 55, which meant he could spend more retirement time with an active role in his grandchildren’s upbringing. He babysat them while the parents worked, helped with school work and attended their sports games. He also attended many concerts and programs.

Manfred’s wife Helga died in 2013.

According to his obituary, “His post-retirement interest in clocks led him to a basement full of tick-tocking, musical and moving Black Forest clocks and the moniker ‘Mr. Cuckoo.’

“Everyone will miss his strong presence, his love of sports (golf and basketball especially), his thoughtful comments and his keen sense of humor.”

David I. Berkman 1934–2015

FFRF member David Berkman, 81, died on Dec. 31, 2015. He was a college professor, teaching mass communications at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, among other universities. He wrote a column called “Media Musings” for a Milwaukee alternative paper called the Shepherd’s Express. He also hosted Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Media Talk” show for 13 years.

Dave was a liberal, a civil rights activist, and a free speech absolutist, and served on the state boards of the ACLU in Connecticut and Wisconsin.

A member of the National Association of Educational Broadcasters, he advocated protecting Public Broadcasting’s independence from political threats. He loved reading, politics and argument.

He is survived by his wife, Margarita Dusek; children, Linda Turner of New York City, Elena Sullivan of San Diego, Calif., and Neil Berkman of Berkeley, Calif., and grandchildren.

Freedom From Religion Foundation