Leo Daniel Kohorst
22 Years Old

January 29, 1988 to October17, 2010

Our son Leo was taken from us at the age of 22.  He had a quiet, gentle spirit and was a man of justice.  I cannot name a time in his life where someone complained about him.  Leo welcomed everyone into his life and his heart with open arms.  He didn’t pass judgment, nor give focus to our limitations, or worry about labels that others put on us.  He appreciated our aptitudes, overlooked our flaws, and loved us anyway.  Leo accepted everyone for who they were.
We are the proud parents of five beautiful children living on our century farm for thirty years.   When you lose a child, there is a part of your heart that goes with them.  We are overwhelmed by the amount of love and support shown to us by our family and friends throughout this process.  We continue to ache for Leo’s presence on a daily basis.  We miss Leo’s big smile, friendly, fun and loving spirit that touched anyone who met him.  We long to hear him play his music on the piano, violin, guitar, drums, or harmonica.  We are blessed to have a CD of sixteen of his original songs that he sang, wrote and produced.  We know he is at peace; safe and happy in his heavenly home.  God blessed us with Leo for 22 wonderful years and we will live out his memory until that day we are reunited. 
Leo was a student at U of M and they feel the loss of a promising young student, an idealist who was set on making a positive impact with his degree in Electrical  Engineering with a focus on renewable energy.  It was an honor to accept his diploma at the U of M graduation in May 2011.  Leo was a quiet leader.  He was one of the founders of the Innovative Engineers, a group in which he was the leader of a project to build a hydroturbine in Nicaragua, where it will be dedicated in his honor and we will have the opportunity to join them.
Leo was well known for his music.  He wrote lyrics, composed original songs, sang and could play just about any instrument.  Through learning music, hard work, discipline and his constant dedication, he became a scholar.  When Leo returned from Israel, the impact of that trip was clear.  Something meaningful could be done for our world, and he was going to focus on improving people’s lives.  Leo wanted to use his education and the love of travel to help build sustainable communities in developing countries; thus, providing an improved quality of life to many who’ve known little but suffering.  We will never know the positive impact he would have made.      
In this tragedy, taken from us was a pioneer of social justice, a devout Christian, an exceptional musician, a humanitarian, an idealist, a dreamer, and a young man who had an uncommon understanding of what is good, what is true, and what is just.  His talent, ethics, and kindness of spirit characterized both the person Leo was and how he lived his life.
We just wanted to share a little about the compassionate, selfless, giving, wonderful young man Leo was.  Although he is not able to pursue his dream of helping developing countries he is living out his goal of helping others improve their lives by being a donor.  Through Leo’s wishes to be an organ donor, we believe we are celebrating his life.              


On that awful day on Oct. 17, 2010, our lives were changed forever.  Leo was the landlord of a home we owned together and had four other people living with him.  Leo was at a concert of his favorite artist with friends that evening.  Leo was sleeping on the couch because he was finishing up fixing up his new bedroom in the basement, when his roommate beat him to death with a claw hammer.  Leo was going to evict him because he was breaking the rules of no smoking in the house and he was eating others food.  It was a nightmare dealing with all the issues of selling the house, which did sell after a year of drama.

A year later was the trial and his roommate was convicted of 1st degree murder with life in prison and no chance of parole.  Feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit helped us through a very difficult time when we needed to testify at the trial.  We were at the house helping Leo in his basement and spent some time with his roommate the day everything happened.  We have found out that his roommate has a lot of mental issues.  It is hard and so sad that they would place him in an unstructured environment when he couldn’t function well in a structured place.  The agency that placed him there was not able to tell Leo about his mental issues because he was protected by  HIPPA laws.  Our vision is to change the HIPPA laws because of the strict privacy requirements.  The wrong person was being protected here.  

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Leo Daniel Kohorst