Celebrating the Legacy of Jerry Kohn: A Tribute to the Heart and Soul of Corvette Central
In the world of classic cars, especially among Corvette enthusiasts, the name Jerry Kohn and Corvette Central is synonymous with quality and passion. Many of our cherished readers have had the privilege of knowing Jerry and have purchased products from his renowned company, Corvette Central. It is with heavy hearts that Vette Vues Magazine extends our deepest condolences to Scott and Sara, as well as to all those whose lives have been touched by the indomitable spirit of Jerry Kohn. Today, we pay tribute to a man whose love for classic cars, dedication to his craft, and unwavering commitment to the Corvette community left an indelible mark on the automotive world.
Gerald Edward Kohn, a revered figure in the world of classic automobiles, peacefully passed away at the age of 79 on Friday, September 8, 2023, surrounded by his loving family in his Three Oaks residence.
A commemorative service to celebrate Jerry’s remarkable life will take place on Thursday, September 14, 2023, at 11 AM at the Lake Michigan Christian Center, located at 9955 Church Street, Bridgman, MI 49106. Friends and well-wishers are invited to pay their respects on Wednesday, September 13, 2023, from 5 PM to 7 PM at Pike Funeral and Cremation Services, The Boyd Chapel, situated at 9191 Red Arrow Hwy, Bridgman, MI 49106. Jerry’s final resting place will be Riverside Cemetery in Three Oaks. In honor of his legacy, memorial contributions may be directed to the Friends of New Troy, located at 13372 California Road, New Troy, MI 49119. You can also share your condolences online at www.PikeFH.com.
Born on December 27, 1943, in Alhambra, California, Jerry was the son of the late Ednor and Arlyss (Erickson) Kohn. He cultivated his strong work ethic during his upbringing on Minnesota farms and developed an early affinity for tractors. In 1961, he graduated from Mahtomedi High School, where he crossed paths with his first wife, Nikki. The couple went on to raise three children together: Scott, Todd, and Sara. Jerry followed in his father’s footsteps, entering the tool and die trade. In the late 1960s, Jerry, along with his father Ed and brother Bob, relocated the entire family to Southwest Michigan, where they became proprietors of Kohn Kastings in Stevensville, among other ventures.
Jerry’s journey in the world of classic cars began when he acquired a 1958 Corvette that needed a new grille. Unable to find quality replacement parts, he embarked on a mission to craft them himself. With his teenage son, Scott, by his side, he began attending swap meets to sell his meticulously crafted Corvette components. This passion project eventually blossomed into a thriving business. In 1975, Jerry established Corvette Central in Sawyer, Michigan, with the support of his family, including his wife, Beverly, whom he met through mutual Corvette enthusiasts and married in 1985. Together, they transformed Corvette Central into a globally recognized and successful enterprise, solidifying Jerry’s status as a “Caretaker of the Legend” in the Corvette industry. He played a pivotal role in founding the National Corvette Museum and earned numerous accolades along the way. In 2022, the family relinquished ownership of the company.
Throughout the years, Jerry and Beverly actively contributed to the well-being of their community in Harbor Country. Jerry co-founded the Friends of New Troy and served on various boards, including the Galien River Sanitation Department and Horizon Bank. He was deeply involved in Chikaming Township politics and supported the growth of new businesses in the area, such as Greenbush, Fruitbelt, and Infusco.
Beyond his love for tractors and Corvettes, Jerry had a profound passion for classic cars, including Mercury, Chevy Nomad, and all things Chevy. He cherished his Chevy SSR and pickup trucks, and his love for Corvettes remained unwavering. Other joys in Jerry’s life included his family, cherished moments with dear friends, loyal long-term employees, crafting car parts, savoring fine red wine, basking in breathtaking sunsets, birdwatching, sipping whiskey, enjoying country music, and embarking on open-road adventures. Jerry possessed a larger-than-life personality, and his absence will be deeply felt by all who had the privilege of knowing him. However, his enduring legacy, defined by his God-given talents and boundless passion, will continue to make a positive impact for generations to come.
Jerry is survived by his beloved wife, Beverly, his children, Scott (Pam) Kohn and Sara (Brock) Davis, and a host of adoring grandchildren, great-grandchildren, siblings, and nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his son, Todd Kohn, in 2013, and his former wife, Nikki Kohn, in 1997.
A commemorative service to celebrate Jerry’s remarkable life will occur on Thursday, September 14, 2023, at 11 AM at the Lake Michigan Christian Center at 9955 Church Street, Bridgman, MI 49106. Friends and well-wishers are invited to pay their respects on Wednesday, September 13, 2023, from 5 PM to 7 PM at Pike Funeral and Cremation Services, The Boyd Chapel, situated at 9191 Red Arrow Hwy, Bridgman, MI 49106. Jerry’s final resting place will be Riverside Cemetery in Three Oaks. In honor of his legacy, memorial contributions may be directed to the Friends of New Troy, located at 13372 California Road, New Troy, MI 49119. You can also share your condolences online at www.PikeFH.com.