Margaret Holtman remembers her father always giving her the same advice, regardless whether it was in sports, job interviews or just everyday life.
“Tell them who you are and where you got it from,” she said via phone Wednesday evening. “And that was essentially telling everyone that we were representatives of our family and that we needed to be very proud of that because he was very proud of not just who he was but of who we were too.”
To those who knew him, Kent Booher was a distinct individual, a family man and a friendly soul, his oldest daughter noted.
“I just remember many times going out to dinner with him, and he’d rib the waitress or make jokes with the person behind the cash register,” Holtman said. “And that’s why everyone in Kokomo knew him so well because he lived in this community for probably 25 years. He has just made an impression on people.”
And that’s what makes the events of Friday, Aug. 9, so tragic.
A local businessman and community volunteer, Booher was killed during a crash involving his motorcycle and another vehicle, according to an accident report issued on Wednesday by the Kokomo Police Department.
According to the report, Booher and his 14-year-old son were traveling eastbound on Alto Road on a 2013 Honda motorcycle, when a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze driven by Dylan Coston, 27, Kokomo, turned the opposite direction out of the Junk 'N Java parking lot in front of Booher.
Coston told police he did not see Booher as he made the turn, the report stated, and Booher ended up braking before eventually laying his motorcycle down. Booher and his son were then thrown from the motorcycle, and both were taken to Community Howard Regional Health.
It was there that Booher succumbed to his injuries, the report noted, while his son was treated for non-life threatening injuries. Booher's son's current condition was not addressed in the report.
Coston was given a breathalyzer on scene, and reports indicated he had a .000 blood alcohol content at the time of the incident. Per standard procedures, he also supplied a blood draw, and police ended up citing Coston for failing to yield the right of way.
Booher was the founder and president of KB Backflow Inc., a small plumbing company in the 1400 block of South Main Street. According to his obituary, he was also a veteran of the United States Air Force and enjoyed fishing and the outdoors.
But it was his family that Booher was most proud of, Holtman said. And those times Booher wasn’t with his family, he was making a positive impact in the Howard County community.
“He spent the last 23 years working with people through Kokomo’s Alcoholics Anonymous and really just impacting and changing people’s lives,” she said. “It was something very important to him, and he really poured into people in that regard.”
For the past several years, Booher was also a head coach in the volleyball program at Northwestern School Corporation, a role that Athletic Director Dan Armstrong said Booher relished.
“He was a very giving person to kids,” Armstrong said of Booher. “He would work in season and out of season with the kids. He never worried whether he was getting paid or not getting paid. He just wanted to give back. And he loved the sport of volleyball too. He was always just a giving person and really just an unbelievable individual.”
Booher was also set to begin a new middle school volleyball coaching position with the Kokomo School Corporation this fall, Armstrong noted.
“He had talked to me the day he passed away,” Armstrong said. “He said he was getting ready to come back to coach at Kokomo, and he was thrilled at being able to get back to coaching. He wanted me to know that if he called, would I give him a good recommendation. I said, ‘Why wouldn’t I?’ So when I saw it [the news of Booher’s death], I thought it couldn’t be him because I had just talked to him. It’s just a real tragedy.”
Gone but definitely not forgotten, Holtman noted, when referring to her father.
“I want people to know I suppose that he [Booher] was exactly who he said he was,” Holtman said. “When he was smiling at you or telling you to have a good day, when he said those things, he meant it. He truly cared about the people in his life. He loved the people in his community. I just want people to know that he was genuine, and I hope they remember him as fondly as he remembered all of them.”
Booher is survived by his four children and two grandchildren.
A memorial service will be noon Saturday, Aug. 17, at Shirley & Stout Funeral Home & Crematory, 1315 W. Lincoln Road. Visitation is from 10 a.m. until the time of services Saturday at the funeral home.