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Karl Eugene Koles - 1926 to 2016

On Thursday, July 14, 2016 of Bowie, MD, formerly of Bladensburg, MD. Beloved husband of the late June Dee Koles. Loving father of Peggy (Wendell) Gibson and the late Karla Koles Galindo; cherished grandfather of Steven C. (Laura) Gibson, and Heather Gibson (Dr. John) Bradford; great-grandfather of Candice Gibson (Brandon) Buckman, Charlotte, and Harris Bradford. Survived by his son-in-law, Jose Galindo. He was a long-time member of the Cheverly American Legion Post 108. Obituary

 

Karl Koles’ eulogy, as given by his friend and fellow Legionnaire, Chuck Gannon:


Father, Grandfather, Great-Grandfather and friend to many in this room.


Let us say right at the beginning that if Karl called you a friend you had something special going for you. We can all think of those things that happen that expressed that friendship.  For me it was more than friendship.


MENTOR is the word that comes to mind, someone I could count on to listen, to bounce ideas and get an answer. Not always the one I was looking for, but a reasonable suggestion.


Our friendship began as Karl’s involvement as a member of Cheverly American Legion Post #108. Let us briefly talk about his Legion membership.


Honorary Life Member
(presented by his peers, earned by his deeds)


Two time Post Commander


Chaplain (Emeritus)
(he was always prepared for every event)


Karl had a special love and dedication to the American Legion High School oratorical contest, serving as chairman on the post, county, district and department level, working with teachers and students alike.


An active member of the 40 et 8, the American Legion Honor Society.


I could go on and list his many accomplishments, but it will suffice to say that his many activities eventually were recognized as he was named Prince George’s County Legionnaire of the Year. Maybe it would be best to describe Karl as a volunteer’s volunteer. He set a high standard for those around him, and an even higher one for himself.


Karl was from an era that has become to be known as “The Greatest Generation”. That generation that helped create what we now consider Middle Class America. He and the rest of his generation were very proud of their contribution to America, in part because of the greatest piece of legislation ever written - “The Serviceman’s Readjustment Act” known as “The G.I. Bill of Rights” - truly a different generation. They believed you could do it all. Work, raise a family, volunteer and have a little fun too. He also found time to participate in Town of Bladensburg politics and service programs. Karl lived that way, sometimes the work took a little more of his time than he liked, but it was necessary to do all the other things in his life. He more than one time told me that we had lost that way of life and thinking, but he continued to do his part. Karl, in his later years, found time to play Bingo several times a week. I have a hard time understanding why, you would have thought he would have had enough Bingo, after working bingo at both Bladensburg Fire Department and Cheverly American Legion for over 15 years.


An active member of his words…”The Little Church on Old Landover Road”...he was part of the sale of that church after moving to Bowie with his Late daughter Karla and son in law Jose. Joining a new church - spreading his special friendship amongst new friends.


He enjoyed travel both here in Country and abroad. He enjoyed time in Georgia visiting with Peg and family...Indiana and Illinois to take care of business and visit the resting place of his stepdad and others. Some of these trips I remember I suggested that he find another way of travel, driving, I thought, was not a good idea. However, he drove to the last day, before entering the hospital.


A Patriot who leaves a Legacy of:


Service to God and Country


Working the four pillars of the American Legion

  • National Security - a US Navy Veteran
  • Rehabilitation - Visiting and assisting at Veterans Hospital
  • Americanism - All those many Memorial Services as Chaplain
  • Children and Youth - His long time commitment to the Oratorical Contest

I could go on for a long time talking about his big man who had a big heart and gave very large of himself.


Yes, this father, grandfather, great grandfather - this Patriot.


Karl Eugene Koles:


YOU WILL BE MISSED

BUT YOUR LEGACY OF SERVICE

TO GOD AND COUNTRY

WILL LIVE FOREVER


Allow me to close with something that speaks to how Karl saw himself as an American.


A quote from the book “The Greatest Generation”. Chapter entitled


'Ordinary People'


“They were proud of what they accomplished but they rarely discussed their experiences, even with each other. They became once again ordinary people, the kind of men and women who alway have been the foundation of the American way of life.”


Farewell my friend, Farewell!

--Delivered by Chuck Gannon on July 17 and July 19, 2016.