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Long IslandObituaries

Margot Kohler, singer and longtime charity volunteer, dies at 76

Margot Kohler of Lloyd Harbor appears in this

Margot Kohler of Lloyd Harbor appears in this undated photo.

Margot Kohler of Lloyd Harbor, a professional singer and longtime volunteer in Long Island charitable and church activities, died Tuesday after a long illness.

She was 76.

A soprano, Kohler performed in the 1970s with the Gregg Smith Singers, a Manhattan-based classical choir, including a recording session with the British-born organist E. Power Biggs.

Later, she devoted much of her time to Save the Children Long Island Council, a charitable organization, and for many years sang the national anthem at the group's annual spring polo fundraising event in Brookville.

"Margot always gave it her best, which I suspect many people will remember fondly, no one more fondly than me," said her husband, Peter Kohler, recently retired vice president of editorial services at Bethpage-based Cablevision Corp., and also a former member of Newsday's editorial board. Cablevision owns Newsday.

Margot Dodge Kohler was born in 1938 in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Her father, Donald Dodge, was an industrial engineer for U.S. Rubber Co., and the family moved frequently to factory locations across the country.

She graduated from high school in Cranston, Rhode Island, then earned a bachelor of arts degree in English, with a minor in music, from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. She also sang with an amateur opera group in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she met her husband.

After the couple moved to Long Island in the 1970s, Margot Kohler served in a variety of volunteer activities, especially at St. John's Episcopal Church in Cold Spring Harbor. She was a eucharistic lay minister, choir singer and chaplain at Huntington Hospital. She also was president of a parent-teacher organization in the Cold Spring Harbor school district.

In addition to singing, she played the guitar and harp and encouraged others to develop their musical talents. Linda Bierrie, a longtime friend, recalled arranging for Kohler to give her husband singing lessons as a gift.

"She convinced him he was a bass, which he didn't know," said Bierrie, a former Port Washington resident who lives in Essex, Connecticut.

After a son, Christopher, died in 1997, Margot Kohler led her family on a charity mission to Nicaragua. There, with the guidance of Save the Children, the family donated a well to a small settlement called Terenzia Mangia.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by her son, Cameron Kohler of Lloyd Harbor, and a brother, Peter Dodge of Blue Hill, Maine.

A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at St. John's Episcopal Church in Cold Spring Harbor, followed by a reception in the church's Bleecker Hall.


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