ROCHESTER – Gordy Koehn couldn't bear to miss a Stewartville High School game.
The longtime sports clock-runner for football, basketball and volleyball games decided last fall to purchase a smart TV — despite the fact he and his wife, Amy, were downsizing — just so the 85-year-old could watch away games.
That's how dedicated Koehn was — not to sports, but to Stewartville.
Koehn, a retired music teacher who kept scores and ran clocks for Stewartville for 64 years, died March 8, just a few days removed from his last home game on March 4.
"He has done so much for our community, for our school, for the organizations around the community," said Curt Hughes, activities director for the Stewartville school district .
Koehn was a longtime booster throughout Stewartville. He served at the local chapter of the Lions Club for decades, was the organist at Zion Lutheran Church for 62 years, directed the Rochester Male Chorus and volunteered with Meals on Wheels for a time.
Yet it was chance that brought the Koehns to Stewartville at all.
Koehn was born in 1937 and grew up in Grove City on the other side of the state. Koehn attended St. Olaf College and later obtained a master's degree from Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y.
He met his future wife at St. Olaf and they were married in August 1959. The following Monday, the Koehns went to Stewartville so Amy could interview for a home economics teacher job.
They never left. Stewartville Public Schools also needed a music teacher, and both Koehns were hired.
"They didn't know Stewartville was going to be their home or not, but because they both started their career there, they said OK, we'll stay here," said Kathy Illa, Koehn's daughter.
Koehn fell into running the clock at local games quickly — teachers were expected to help with extracurricular activities, and the previous person felt it was too much pressure.
"The clock was the only position that paid $5 at the time and with five kids, my dad was like, 'OK, we need the money,'" Illa said. "And he's loved it ever since."
Family and friends say Koehn loved to make new friends and connect with others — he would often mentor student athletes long after he retired in the 1990s, and he would jump at the chance to volunteer. Pastor Timothy Bowman said Koehn was always an hour early to church service just so he could visit with others.
"He was always very jolly and always there, always present when he was with you," Bowman said.
Stewartville High School's boys and girls basketball teams are honoring Koehn during their state tournament runs this week. The boys are wearing jerseys and the girls are wearing warm-up gear with Koehn's initials. His initials were even put on the front of the bus the girls took earlier this week to get to state.
"You realize then how many lives he really did touch," Illa said. "We know everybody had a Gordy story, we knew everybody had some awesome memory, but … we didn't know to that magnitude."
Koehn is survived by his wife, five children, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Services were held Monday and Tuesday at Zion Lutheran Church, with a private family burial at Woodlawn Cemetery at Stewartville to take place later.