James Franklin Kohl

March 24, 1948 ~ January 21, 2021 (age 72)


Northumberland – James Franklin Kohl, 72, of Ridge Road, met his Lord and Savior face to face on January 21, 2021 at the Evangelical Hospital, Lewisburg. 


His life’s journey began on March 24, 1948 in Sunbury, PA the son of the late K. James and Alice (Furman) Kohl.   On October 17, 1970 he married and is survived by his sweetheart, the former Phyllis M. Geise.  Jim was a 1966 graduate of Shikellamy High School and earned his Associates Degree from Penn State in 1968.


“Jimmy” and his cousins were notorious youthful pranksters at the family cannery, but later became integral members of its success.  After graduation from Penn State, he joined Furmanos, his family’s business, and worked for over 50 years in various positions as he tirelessly labored to help grow the company.  As a proud member of the 3rd generation, Jim believed his role at the company was to pass it on to the 4th generation so they could continue the family legacy and honor God and that his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, would be glorified.   Jim retired from Furmanos in 2018 as the Vice President of Farm Operations and Dry Bean Procurement.  He loved his work and all who worked for and with him and was honored to assist in kicking off the 100th Tomato Season this past fall. 


Jim was a faithful and dedicated member of Sunbury Bible Church where he served as Deacon and was a driving force behind the building of the new church in Northumberland in 1991.  In 2017 he led the church to switch to solar power to redirect their financial resources to better serve God and His kingdom.  He was a humble servant leader on the Penn State Ag Council, PFA, Vegetable Growers Association and was on the board of SEND International.  He was also the chairman of the Vacancy Board for Point Township, previous member of the Tuckahoe Fire Company, Penn State Alumni Association and was awarded the Guard Society of the Food Industry Outstanding Young Professional Service Award.  One of Jim’s last labors of love was consulting on the design, development, and dedication of the Furmano’s display at the Lewisburg Children’s Museum. 


In his spare time Jim enjoyed cutting firewood, landscaping, and hunting at his beloved home and farm.  It was a true labor of love that he shared with his wife, family and friends.  Jim will be fondly remembered for his love of ice cream and Corvettes. He was committed to giving back to the local and national community serving on mission trips to Russia, Nicaragua, Haiti and Philadelphia.  Jim was a sports enthusiast as a youth specializing on the wrestling mat and that love of sports translated into attending local and national races including Nascar.  Jim was a 40-year Penn State season ticket holder and annually attended Bowl games to cheer on the Nittany Lions and all things PSU.


Affectionately known as “Captain Jim”, the undeniable patriarch of his family, he faithfully attended his children’s, grandchildren’s, and friends’ sporting events and activities such as concerts, school plays, graduations, and competitions.  “Papa” and “Mimi” traveled near and far to support their family and cheer from the sidelines.


In addition to his wife and sweetheart of 50 years he is survived by: his two daughters and sons-in-law, Jody L. McClellan and Philip of York, and Gretchen K. Shahan and Brian of DE; his son and daughter-in-law, Jared F. and Tracy Kohl of Lewisburg; eight grandchildren: Alexander McClellan; Autumn, Kalen J., and Kelsey Shahan; Alivia, Jack F., Logan and Meredith Kohl; two sisters and brothers-in-law Kathy and Bill Hoey, Darlene and Bruce Davidson; two brothers and sisters-in-law Kermit and Arlene Kohl, Kent and JoAnn Kohl; his mother-in-law, Arlene Geise; brothers and sisters-in-laws, Roger and Sandra Geise, MaryAnn and Stephen Gring, Daniel and Debbie Geise. 


He was preceded in death by his parents; a nephew, Patrick Kohl; and father-in-law, Franklin Geise.


A celebration of life will be held later in March to celebrate his first birthday in Heaven.


Donations in Jim’s memory may be made to his church, Sunbury Bible Church, 135 Spruce Hollow Road, Northumberland, or CEF Good News Club, 53 Blue Hill Road, Northumberland.

Arrangements made by the Joseph W. Epler Funeral Home, 210 King Street, Northumberland.

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