NAHB is mourning the passing of Herbert Vollrath Kohler, Jr., a renowned business leader and Kohler Co. executive chairman. He was 83.
Kohler has been a longtime partner of NAHB and the International Builders’ Show (IBS), exhibiting at IBS every single year since its inception. Herb Kohler lived and breathed Kohler Co.’s mission of providing customers with gracious living each day.
“If I sell you a bathtub, there has to be something about it that gives you pleasure not only at the time of the transaction. Years later, we want you to think this is one of the best buys of your life,” he once said in an interview. “The same applies with everything we provide — an engine, generator, toilet, table, hotel room, spa service, golf course, you name it. If you think about it five years later and, inwardly or outwardly, it makes you smile and we can do this consistently, then we’re living up to our mission.”
During his 43-year span as CEO, Herb Kohler transformed his family-owned company into a world leader, with more than 40,000 associates and dozens of manufacturing facilities on six continents. For his focus on innovation, quality and investment into every aspect of the company business, NAHB inducted Kohler into the National Housing Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Best in American Living Awards Hall of Fame in 2015.
He also served as an emeritus trustee for the National Housing Endowment, which recently awarded its 3rd Annual Herb Kohler Leadership Award.
“The housing industry has lost a great leader with the passing of Herb Kohler,” stated NAHB Chairman Jerry Konter. “His commitment to his company and his community made an enormous impact not only on home building, but to everyone around him.”
“Herb Kohler was an influential figure who put his company and his local community on the map with his bold vision,” noted NAHB CEO Jerry Howard. “His leadership and dynamic personality will be missed by all who had the privilege of knowing him.”
Herb is survived by his wife, Natalie; two daughters, Laura Kohler (Steve Proudman), and Rachel Kohler (Mark Hoplamazian); and one son, David Kohler (Nina). He is further survived by 10 grandchildren, Lily, Hannah, and Rachel Proudman; Mara, Lena, and Leo Hoplamazian; Ashley, Samuel, Jack and Tait Kohler; and three great grandchildren, Ophelia, Herbert, and Uma Cartwright.
Kohler’s official statement and full bio of Herb Kohler is available here.