May 10, 1989 to February 12, 2018

A heart of gold

Max Edward Kohley—a young man of enormous humor and warmth—passed away suddenly on Wednesday, February 12, 2018 at Valley West Community Hospital, in Sandwich, IL.

He was just 28.

If Max had to say farewell at such an early age, it seems somehow appropriate it happened near Valentine’s Day. His heart was made of pure gold, his father said, and he would rush to help anyone anytime.

Max was born May 10, 1989, in St. Charles, IL to Julie and Ralph Kohley. He attended Kaneland High School, in Maple Park, where he played baseball and basketball. But his favorite times were helping his grandfather, Ralph Kohley Sr., on his grain farm. There’s a video of Max driving a tractor and cutting grain on his Facebook Page with the words: “I miss this.”

Max with grandparents Ralph and Carol Kohley.

He grew up in Elburn, moved to Ottawa, IL, and then to Earlville. Slender, with long, blondish hair, a goatee and beautiful brown eyes, he looked almost like an apostle. He would no doubt laugh at the comparison!

Pete and Dice

Max enjoyed the happiest childhood imaginable and said many times that he wished he could go back to exploring for hours on end with his dogs, Pete and Dice, as he used to. An incurable animal lover, he was always rescuing strays and caring for them. Chloe, a shepherd mix, was his latest rescue, and she misses him desperately.


His sense of humor was legendary, and he and always had a smile on his face. A lover of music, he relished going to concerts. One of his favorite singers/musicians was Chris Cornell, and his go-to band was Nickleback. Target practice was a favorite pastime, and his friends never had to ask Max twice to join them.

He is sorely missed by family and friends alike.

Max is survived by his parents, Ralph and Julie Kohley of Earlville, Il; his grandparents, Ralph and Carol Kohley of Durand, IL; his stepbrother, Tony Pekarek of Marseilles, Il, and nephew, Vince Pekarek of North Aurora. And Chloe.


  1. kim

    Love you Max. I miss you

  2. a friend

    You will be missed so much Max. You are gone too soon from this world. You were a loving, kind soul and I hope you have found the peace you never could find here – you are now free from the demons that consumed you. May you rest in God’s glory and in his peace, dear Max.

  3. Janelle and Randy Ream

    We are so sad to hear of Max’s death. We remember him as a childhood friend to our son, Joel, in Elburn. Gone too soon. We are truly sorry for your loss.

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