Robert Kristopher “Kris” Kohen, 32, of St. Louis, MO passed unexpectedly on Monday, June 6, 2022, at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
Kris was born on February 21, 1990, in Columbia, MO, the beloved son of Sherry L. Byers and Robert Bruce Kohen.
Kris was raised by his father Bruce and Jennifer L. Hunter. Jennifer cherished parenting Kris and was honored to have such a loving and remarkable son. In 1998, his parents moved to Highlands Ranch, CO nestled in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. Kris acquired a love of the wilderness, weekends spent off-road Jeeping, and a fondness for extreme sports like snowboarding. Kris was an avid reader, detailed artist, and known for his aptitude to construct almost anything he could imagine. At the age of 10, Kris won his first Front Range Pinewood Derby overlaying his car with carbon fiber. He notably went through life with the lens of an engineer, designing and inventing.
Eventually, his family moved to their home-away-from-home playground, the Lake of the Ozarks. Kris enjoyed the lake life, slalom water-skiing, and riding the numerous trails on his treasured ‘72 Honda Z50 Mini-Trail bike. Kris attended Eldon High School that offered Automotive Technology courses which allowed Kris to successfully compete and win First Place at the Technology Education State Championships for Small Gas Engines. Kris graduated from Eldon High School in 2009.
Kris immediately pursued an Automotive Technology degree at Ozark Technical College in Springfield, MO until he conceded this was not entirely the right road for him. He moved to St. Louis, MO where he immersed himself in the city’s diverse culture embracing gastronomy, fashion and the young artist community. At the age of 22, Kris began an apparel company to improve racial equity and human rights by making positive statements through fashion. He gained local recognition in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, STL TV, and with the St. Louis Raw Artist events. This new social scene helped Kris meet other artists and successful restaurateurs. Kris being a sous-chef and foodie took advantage of these connections and worked under a variety of chefs. Kris had a personal challenge of severe food allergies, so he promoted his passion of preparing gluten-free and allergy-safe alternatives to mainstay St. Louis menus. Influenced by his beloved Grandma Clarice and the conviviality of her holiday meals, Kris prepared his food with love. Kris knew the value of having a nourishing meal with family & friends, followed by lots of laughs and story-telling for dessert.
Kris soon found a more lucrative talent in restoring historic homes in St. Louis, whether a complete restoration or minor fixer-upper, Kris had a talent with fine-detailed woodwork. Kris would still tinker daily with other projects like his gas-powered bicycles and his community of friends greatly appreciated him fixing their vehicles at no charge. Kris bought a camper and learned to live off the grid using solar-power. On one of his stints away from the city, Kris traded in his slalom skiing skills to conquer the feat of “walking on water.” With the coaching of his dad and the perfect glass conditions of the Osage River, Kris transformed to a barefoot water skier.
Kris is survived by his father, Robert Bruce Kohen and his mom, Jennifer L. Hunter. Other survivors include his Springfield, MO family: his grandmother Doris Ann Lynch; his mother, Sherry L. Byers; his half-siblings, Branda L. (Daniel) Plevka and Kaylee M. (Joe) Walters. Additionally, Kris had many family and friends that loved him: The Gieseking Family with cousin Cole, Uncle Matt, and his Aunt Lisa that made sure Kris had a helmet when riding those gas-powered bicycles in the city. Kris also had two incredibly supportive cousins that were terrific mentors, Brent and Theron Twenter. A special thanks to Peter Greenberg for being an extraordinary friend to Kris and for hosting an exceptional Remembrance gathering in St. Louis. Lastly, Kris also leaves behind his longtime love and road companion, the infamous 1971 GMC KE2500 4x4 Custom Camper truck.
Kris was preceded in death by his grandfather, Robert Louis Kohen and grandmother Clarice T. Kohen, as well as his grandfather, Del Richard Clapp.
Suggested donations include the St. Louis Chapter AAFA (aafa.org/aafa-st-louis-chapter) that advocates for expanding access to affordable EpiPens for Missouri’s children and also FARE (foodallergy.org) that has a broad resource base for those living with life-threatening food allergies. Kris believed in reducing intolerance, labels, and stigmas. Please consider simply paying acts of kindness forward in his memory.
Visitation will be held at Dulle-Trimble Funeral Home in Jefferson City on Saturday June 25, 2022, from 2-3 p.m.
A graveside service will follow at Resurrection Catholic Cemetery at 3:30 p.m.
In honor of Kris, an additional Celebration of Life event is being held at an outdoor venue. If you are interested in attending this future event, please send your contact information to KrisKohenBBQ@gmail.com to receive updates.
Services entrusted to Dulle-Trimble Funeral Home - Jefferson City.
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