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Shelter Island Reporter obituaries: Rolf and Marie Koehnen

Rolf and Marie Koehnen, long-time residents of Shelter Island, died within days of each other in Greenwich, Conn. in May, of COVID-19.

Rolf was born in 1951 in Herne, a city in North Rhine-Westfalia, Germany. He trained as a banker at Westfalenbank, and served in the German military (Bundeswehr), stationed at NATO headquarters in The Netherlands.

While doing an internship for a German industrial company in New York, he met Marie Parola, the boss’s secretary. Marie was born in Dunmore, Pa. in 1942. She and Rolf were married in a civil ceremony in Germany in 1976, with a church wedding in New York City.

They spent most of their 43 years of marriage as part-time and full-time residents of Shelter Island. After 14 summers at the Peconic Lodge (now the Perlman Music Program), they became homeowners in 1987. Marie commuted to volunteer two days a week at Greenwich Hospital, and Rolf was president of Ruhrkohle Trading Corp., a German coal mining company, until his retirement in 2001.

Rolf was a member of the Shelter Island Gun Club, and worked for a few years as a real estate agent. Rolf and Marie loved gardening, cooking, animals and traveling.

The Koehnens moved to Greenwich in 2016, though they stayed in close touch with their Shelter Island friends and neighbors, who remember them for their many kindnesses.

They are survived by Rolf’s mother and brother Hanne and Udo Köhnen in Germany, nieces and nephews and cousins in Germany and the U.S.