Cover photo for Ryan Kohnhorst's Obituary
Ryan Kohnhorst Profile Photo
1981 Ryan 2020

Ryan Kohnhorst

June 15, 1981 — August 14, 2020

Ryan James Kohnhorst, age 39, of Merrill, passed away on Friday, August 14, 2020 in Michigan due to an unexpected accident while doing what he loved, being outdoors and seeking adventure.

Ryan was born on June 15, 1981 to James and Darlene (Harkner) Kohnhorst in Sturgeon Bay, WI.  He grew up in the Merrill area, attending Merrill Area Public Schools and graduating from Merrill High School in 2000.  After high school, Ryan attended NTC in Wausau for a short time.  He worked in the Ginseng fields around Merrill, as well as keeping watch at the fire tower in the town of Rock Falls.  Ryan also was a candy maker and chocolatier in the Denver area.  Most recently, he enjoyed coaching JV soccer for Merrill High School.

Ryan’s sense of adventure was greater than most.  He didn’t worry about how long it would take to get somewhere; he strove for the adventure that was to be enjoyed.  He had a passion for the outdoors and reveled in the peace and beauty that it offered.  Whether it was hiking, fishing, kayaking or just spending a few nights camping with some good friends, especially in the Porcupine Mountains.  He was a gifted artist and talented musician with the ukulele and harmonica.  Ryan’s sense of humor and laugh was infectious, people enjoyed being around him.  He was a laid-back guy that was content just listening to his favorite bluegrass songs and Garth Brooks.  Ryan is remembered by his loved ones as a compassionate and friendly man that had a soft spot for his animals.  He was rooted in family and friendship, loyalty and love, fidelity and fun.  His shining spirit of love will be kept in the hearts and memories of his family and friends left behind.

Ryan is survived by his parents: James and Darlene Kohnhorst of Merrill, brother: Nathan (Gabrielle) Kohnhorst of Rhinelander, with their children: Broden, Shaylee, and Casen, his soul mate and best friend: Brooke Rohlfs of Merrill, numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and friends, along with his buddy “Max.”  He was preceded in death by his maternal and paternal grandparents and uncles: Tom Kohnhorst and Floyd Harkner Jr.

To comply with the current COVID-19 recommendations and for the safety of all, a public drive thru visitation for Ryan will be held on Thursday, August 20th, 2020 from 5pm to 8pm at Waid Funeral Home.   Instructions will be given upon arrival.  Please stay in your vehicles.  A private service will be held for immediate family only on Friday, August 21st, 2020 at 11am at Waid Funeral Home.  Pastor Jim Gates will officiate.  The Friday service will be live streamed and recorded for the comfort of those who wish to attend it virtually.  It can be viewed under Ryan’s obituary on our website.  Burial will follow at the Oak Hill Cemetery, Town of Skanawan.

Please wear a mask and practice social distancing.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund has been established and donations can be directed to Ryan’s family.

Waid Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Merrill is assisting the family with arrangements.  Online condolences are encouraged and may be made at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ryan Kohnhorst, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, August 20, 2020

5:00 - 8:00pm (Central time)

Waid Funeral and Cremation Service

301 Eagle Dr, Merrill, WI 54452

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