Cover photo for Phyllis Jeanne (Darling) Kohli's Obituary
1945 Phyllis Jeanne (Darling) Kohli 2024

Phyllis Jeanne (Darling) Kohli

December 5, 1945 — July 2, 2024


Phyllis Jeanne (Darling) Kohli, age 78, of Circleville, Ohio, passed away after a sudden illness on Tuesday afternoon, July 2, 2024, in Columbus. Phyllis was born on December 5, 1945 to Earl and Virginia Darling of Kettering. She was a 1967 graduate of the Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. On September 28, 1968, Phyllis was married to David Lee Kohli of Wauseon before he deployed for service in the Vietnam War. The pair met as students at Ohio State. Married for 56 years, Dave and Phyllis enjoyed a loving and devoted marriage and strong business partnership until the time of her passing with her husband and family at her side.

Phyllis was a remarkable woman of diverse interests and tremendous accomplishments. The breadth of her interests was matched only in her ability to excel at them all. In her youth, Phyllis was a beauty queen. In 1967, she won the Miss Ohio World pageant and was selected for the Miss World America pageant. Phyllis was glamourous but her beauty was far beyond skin deep. She built a successful professional career, becoming Director of Benefits at BankOne (now Chase Bank) in Columbus before retiring in 1998. With her husband Dave, Phyllis was a successful businessperson, owning Sterling Construction, Inc., Kohli Farms, a Sim-Angus Seedstock producer, Mr. Plummer, Ltd., DL Kohli, Ltd., Circleville Self Storage, and Charleston, Ltd. On her farm, Phyllis bred cows, tracking the blood lines of every animal produced by their farm’s award-winning bulls and birthing their calves. In 2023, Phyllis and Dave won best junior bull at the Purdue University’s Indiana Beef Evaluation Program, Sim-Angus herd. Phyllis was a gifted quilter and long-time member of Goodtime Quilting Guild of Circleville. She was devoted to her community and family, always showering her nieces and nephews with generous gifts for holidays, weddings, and the births of babies. She mentored great nieces and nephews in the business of farming. In December, shortly after shoulder surgery, Phyllis baked 31 dozen Christmas cookies, which her husband Dave delivered to the elderly and shut-ins in the community. Around the same time, she also completed several quilts, which she gifted to family even as she was recovering from surgery. Phyllis will be remembered for her remarkable abilities, her devotion to her family, and her immense generosity.

Phyllis was preceded in death by her parents in 2006 and 2007, her parents-in law in 2005 and 2014, her sister-in-law Roberta Kohli in 2012, and two brothers-in-law Darrel Brown in 2016 and Jim Kohli in 2019. 

She is survived by her beloved husband, Dave Kohli, sister Judith and Brad Niewierowski of San Antonio, TX, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Gary and Andrea Kohli of Oak Harbor, OH, Ellen and Michael Johnson of Oxford, MI, Denver and Marj Kohli of Delta, OH, Ezra Lee and Melanie Kohli of Winesburg, OH, Sanya Kohli of Jeffersonville, OH, and Beth Brown of Wauseon, OH; 18 nieces and nephews; and 44 great nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Life service will be held Saturday, August 3, 2024 at 1:30 p.m. in the FRANK E. SMITH FUNERAL HOME CHAPEL, 405 N. COLUMBUS ST., LANCASTER, OHIO 43130 with Chaplain Mark Linn officiating. Caring Cremation® has taken place. A gathering of family and friends will be held from 12-1:30 p.m. at the funeral home prior to the celebration of life. 

Memorial gifts may be given to Southeastern Ohio Pheasants Forever, 1878 Frank Drive, Lancaster, Ohio 43130.

To send an online condolence, and sign the guestbook, please visit

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Service Schedule

Upcoming Services


Saturday, August 3, 2024

12:00 - 1:30 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Celebration of Life

Saturday, August 3, 2024

1:30 - 2:30 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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