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Kevin J. KolberJanuary 17, 1959 ~ June 13, 2017 (age 58)
Kevin J. Kolber, 58 years old, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday evening, June 13, 2017. Kevin was born on January 17, 1959 in South Bend to the late Ted Kolber and Mary Jane (Cichocki) Bahrke. Kevin married the love of his life, Deborah A. Mattei, on August 24, 1985 in Osceola, IN.
Along with his wife of almost 32 years, Deb, Kevin is survived by their sons, whom he was so very proud of; Nick Kolber of Chicago, IL and Kory Kolber, (Christina Miller) of South Bend; mother- and father-in-law, Judy and Frank Mattei; sister and brother-in-law, Jan (Larry) Lekarczyk and their sons, Craig (Tami) Lekarczyk and Danny Lekarczyk; sister Diane Glon and her children, Emily and Garrett Glon; step-sister, Cheryl Kochmar and her children Mark (Kelley) Kochmar and (goddaughter) Kayleigh Kochmar; step-brother, Greg Coppens and his children Ashley Stonestreet, Greg Coppens, and Ricky Coppens; brother-in-law, Russ (Tisha) Mattei and their daughter Ashleigh Mattei; great nephew and nieces, Jordan, Lindsay, and Sydnee Lekarczyk; godchildren, Mackenzie Schneider, Dominic, Dasha, and Vincent Mattei; special aunt, Jeanne Mattei and her children, Dominic (Alyssa) Mattei, and Nicole (Paul Adams) Mattei; “family”, Ed and Kelly Strzelecki and their children, Kayle (Joe) Williams, TJ (Kristen) Strzelecki and Abby Strzelecki; aunts, uncles and cousins, from both Kevin and Deb’s families, and many great friends, of which there are too many to mention. Along with his parents, Kevin was preceded in death by his brother, Mark Kolber, his grandparents, and Deb’s grandparents.
Kevin was a firefighter, who rose through the ranks and for the past fifteen years of his thirty-year career serving the community, was a Battalion Chief (102 B), for the City of South Bend. His passion for a career in firefighting began at a very young age, following in his father’s footsteps, listening to a scanner and often hopping on his bike, late into the evenings to “respond” to fires, in his dad’s Station 6 district, and even sometimes beating the truck there, grabbing a garden hose and containing a trash fire. His dream become a reality when he was sworn-in on January 21, 1987, and his father, proudly, passed his badge onto him so that Badge # 320 could serve over thirty more years. He took his oath very seriously and was welcomed warmly into his second family, who his family at home was proud to share him with. Kevin was proud to live out his boyhood dream, never taking it for granted. Throughout his career, Kevin trained hard and continued to learn, never ceasing his desire to do his best. He was a proud mentor, providing guidance to those who rose through the ranks under his command as a Battalion Chief, and loved sharing the stories of their accomplishments with his family at home. Throughout the years, Kevin’s South Bend Fire Department colleagues truly kept the passion alive for him.
To say Kevin was a perfectionist was an understatement to all who knew him. He was a man of many talents, from his master carpentry skills that built his family a home, filled with treasured memories, to being able to fix anything, he never did anything halfway. He had the biggest heart and loved helping others, asking nothing in return. He was a man of true character and we are so very blessed to have had him in our lives, to have so many cherished memories to carry us forward. His love of fishing, Sudoku, Dr. Pepper, salt water vacations, concerts, Wrigley Field, and even living out his beloved Cubbies magical 2016 season and World Series win, didn’t beat out the genuine love he had for his family and friends.
Visitation for family and friends will be on Friday, June 16, 2017, from 2‑7 p.m., and one hour prior to the 11:00 a.m. funeral service, on Saturday, June 17, 2017, at the Palmer Funeral Home, located within the Palmer Community Complex, 601 N. Michigan Street (old US 31 South), Lakeville, IN. Rev. David Porterfield, C.S.C., will officiate. A funeral procession will follow, taking Chief Kolber and his family to the Central Fire Station. The remainder of the participants in the procession are invited to the luncheon at the South Bend Firefighters Union Hall, Local 362, 4025 Lincolnway West, South Bend, IN. A private interment will be held.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions in memory of Kevin be donated to the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation for Pediatric Cancer, c/o Palmer Funeral Home, 3718 S. Michigan Street, South Bend, IN 46614 or to the charity of your choice.
Online condolences may be offered to the Kolber family at palmerfuneralhomes.com.
Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation for Pediatric Cancer
3718. S. Michigan Street, South Bend IN 46614