Karl Winfield Michler
Karl Winfield Michler
June 5, 1920 – October 25, 2021
Lexington, Kentucky – Karl, born on June 5, 1920 to Louis Alexander Michler and Carrie White Duncan Michler, grew up on Maxwell Street next door to the family greenhouse business, where he played with friends and walked to the neighborhood schools. In high school (Henry Clay) and college (University of Kentucky), Karl fully enjoyed the offerings of the Big Band Era, attending two dances a week, often donning his bow tie (white, black, or red) and tuxedo and dancing to famous traveling bands as they came to town.
In Karl’s senior year as a Horticulture student at UK, he received his draft notice, conscripting him into the US Army where he attained the rank of Staff Sergeant as a medic in the 170th General Hospital Unit. As he prepared with his unit for activation, he swapped out his tuxedo for a uniform and attended a USO dance at Camp Grant (Rockford, IL), where he met USO Volunteer Jean Vogt. Karl wrote Jean daily love letters from his deployment, hoping that she would wait for his return. Meanwhile, on the front, Karl took great pride in his WWII efforts, which included traveling the United States by train to accompany discharged soldiers home to their families, tending to the wounded in Normandy, and following troops to Germany at the war’s end to support medical efforts there. Karl returned home to find Jean waiting for him. They married and moved to Kentucky, where, while tending the family florist, the couple raised two children, Carol Lynn and John Louis.
Like for many small business owners, the work largely consumed Karl’s life for decades. With the help of talented staff, he grew flowers and plants in greenhouses, which were then harvested, designed, and delivered to help Lexingtonians celebrate joys and share sorrows. He was president of the Kentucky Florist Association and District Representative for FTD, traveling the state to meet florists across the Bluegrass.
Living a full century left time in retirement for Karl to travel with Jean for pleasure, seeking out historical sites and stories across the globe. Indeed, Karl became the family’s resident storyteller, always ready with a tale from another time or place, bringing history alive for grandchildren and great grandchildren. With help from family and caregivers, he died in his home of 65 years at 101 years of age.
Karl is preceded in death by his loving wife of 75 years, Jean Vogt Michler, and his sister, Mary Jean Holloway. He is survived by his two children, Carol Lynn (Richard) Detmer & John (Claudia) Michler; 5 grandchildren, Kristina Detmer (Tom Frankman), Laura Detmer Cody (Jim), Robin Michler (Penina Goldstein), Daniel Michler, & Jessamine Michler; and 6 great-grandsons, Michael, Charlie, Joshua, Simon, Jacob, & Ira.
Visitation will be held at 10:00, Saturday, October 30th at Central Christian Church in Lexington, followed by the funeral service at 11:00AM.