Donna’s dad, Bill Kohout, departed Valley Hospital, New Jersey, on Sep 22 to join Slick’s good friend Howie Forstrom (who just passed away 3 weeks ago) and many others on the hiking trails of heaven. His memorial was at Hawthorne Gospel Church in New Jersey on Sunday 2 October. Fellowship for family and friends, some of whom we had not seen in nearly a decade, followed in the church’s Pavilion. Thank you all again for all the love and support in this time.

We are still learning the extent and depth in impact Dad had on countless people. You can read some of these tales and words at Feel free to contribute if you knew him!

Obituary: Bill was the middle child of Matilda and John Kohout, between John Jr and Matilda Anne. He was born in 1940 in New York CityAt the age of ten, the family moved to Thornwood, New York, in Westchester County, where Bill lived and helped in the family garden until he left for a year of college at Virginia Military Institute. After hitchhiking out of there, he finished his education at University of Kentucky where he met Diane. They married one day shy of her 21st birthday on January 25, 1963 in Readington, NJ where Diane had grown up.

When he was about five, Bill, his mom and siblings flew from New York to Virginia in a DC-3 airliner. The pilots asked his brother and him to sit in the cockpit for the flight and both caught the flying bug. Bill began his flying career in the Air Force, teaching Vietnamese students in a T-28 in Biloxi, MS, then transitioned to C-141s in the Reserves until his retirement from the USAF. Meanwhile, except for a brief hiatus to work for the Federal Aviation Administration in the 1980’s, Bill flew 727s then 757s and 767s with United Airlines until his retirement in 2000. After that he began to work in earnest…

Friend and pastor Larry Miller befriended Bill in his mid twenties and introduced him to Jesus, which began the real labor of Bill’s life. Wherever Bill found himself, he brought the fragrance of Christ and gravitated toward leadership, teaching Bible studies, helping with the youth group at their church on Long Island, helping Africa Inland Mission revamp their board, more recently serving on the board at HGC. Tuesdays found Bill beginning the day with a men’s group in his home then traveling to Preakness Hospital to minister to the folks there. He continued to volunteer and to serve on the board of Star of Hope Ministries for more than 30 years.

But beyond and deeper than any list of titles or accolades was the personal impact Bill has had on more lives than we will ever know. So many have testified that Bill invited them, or asked them, or walked alongside them, cried with them, asked them questions they needed to hear or just listened to them. Or that Bill is the reason they serve as they do today. He may not have personally led more than a handful of souls to cross the line of faith, but he certainly furthered the Kingdom of God in ways we will only learn of when we join him in Heaven.

We love him and miss him more than words can say. And when we get to join him "further up and further in,*" don’t be surprised if he has all the best hiking trails picked out and invites you to come along…

*From C.S. Lewis The Last Battle, referencing the ever-increasing glory and delight of Heaven, beyond all imagination