Dr. Kerry J. Koller, a founder of Trinity Schools, died at the age of 79 on September 30, 2020. A deeply committed Christian, Kerry lived a life of wonder about God’s creation and was dedicated to building His kingdom.
He was born in 1941 in Omaha, Nebraska, to the late Gordon and Charlotte (Smith) Koller. He received an undergraduate degree from Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, CA, and his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Notre Dame.
During this time, he married Barbara Kearney in 1964, who survives. While Kerry taught philosophy at the University of San Francisco, they helped start the John the Baptist Catholic Charismatic Community. In 1977, they joined others and moved to South Bend to became part of the People of Praise, an ecumenical charismatic community in which Kerry held various leadership roles.
In 1981, he co-founded Center Journal, a Christian scholarly quarterly, and simultaneously helped launch Trinity School at Greenlawn. Over the following years he helped take Trinity from a small school in South Bend to a nationally recognized, award-winning institution which introduced thousands of students to the good, the true, and the beautiful. Under his leadership, Trinity established campuses in Eagan, MN, and Falls Church, VA, along with a curriculum model used for numerous schools throughout the country. In the following years, he was Head of School at every campus and was named President of Trinity Schools. In 2017, he retired after 36 years of service and was named President Emeritus. He was writing a book on the moral imagination when he died.
He was a terrific husband, wise father, and playful grandfather. He loved creation and the beautiful things mankind has made. He enjoyed biking, reading, art, photography, jazz, Bob Dylan, tearing down things, building new things, and clearing brush from his property.
Kerry is survived by five children: Katherine (John) Brophy of Colorado Springs, CO; Stephen (Elizabeth) Koller of South Bend, IN; Jack (Julie) Koller of Alexandria, VA; Elizabeth (Russell) Adams of South Bend, IN; and Peter (Clare) Koller of Arlington, VA. Kerry was also predeceased in death by one daughter, Jane Elizabeth Koller. Kerry has eleven grandchildren: Thomas, Mary, Sarah, Margaret, Bridget, and Michael Brophy, Ruth, Katelyn, and Noah Adams, and Caroline and Anna Koller. He has eight brothers and sisters: Dennis (Sarah) Koller, Barbara (Mike) Loeffler, Kathy (Chris) Marines, Bill (Anita) Koller, Mary Koller, Ben Koller, Maria (Andy) Pecota, and Joe (Teri) Koller.
A visitation will be held from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., on Wednesday, October 7, 2020 - with the family hosting a wake service at 7:00 p.m. - at Kaniewski Funeral Home at 3545 N. Bendix Dr., South Bend, IN. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, October 8, 2020, at 11:00 a.m. at Christ the King Catholic Church in South Bend, IN. Entombment will follow in Cedar Grove Cemetery on the campus of Notre Dame. Memorial contributions may be made to Trinity Schools, 107 S. Greenlawn Ave., South Bend, IN 46617. If anyone wishes to express sympathy with flower arrangements please have them delivered to the Kaniewski Funeral Home, 3545 N. Bendix Dr., South Bend, IN 46628 for the visitation on October 7, 2020.