Adam Kelly: Karl Kohler and The Empty Bus Seat

Adam Kelly
Summit County

At a glance Karl looked a little rough around the edges. He was, and you would be too if you lived outdoors year-round. He never bought into the mainstream, or consumerism in general, but was more self-sufficient than anyone I’ve ever met. He never asked for handouts and always preferred to earn his way. He lived the way he did by choice, not for lack of one.

“Transient” and “squatter” are two mean words used to describe him. I have a few more to add to that list: earnest, unique, intelligent, resourceful and independent – which is more than I can say for most people. Karl was never one to mince words, and I always admired that in him. Many cold mornings on my way to work, or to the mountain, I would see him embracing the first rays of morning sun. I would usually say something stupid like “It’s cold out” to which he would reply “Oh, I hadn’t noticed.”

He knew how to appreciate the little things in life, and how to overlook the trivial. He reminded me that life is full of surprises if you keep your eyes open. Some people don’t fill the mold they are expected to because the mold is too big for them. Karl’s spirit on the other hand, was just too huge to be crammed into any mold.

He lived every moment of life and I am proud to have shared some of those moments with him. He warmed my heart with his laugh and my head with his hats. Good bye my friend, you are missed.

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