One of the 12 victims killed during the shooting rampage Monday at the Washington Navy Yard graduated from Slippery Rock University in Butler County and used to live in Zelienople.
Frank Kohler, 50, of Tall Timbers, Md., graduated in December 1985 with a bachelor's degree in computer science, said Rita Abent, a university spokeswoman. He lived in Zelienople while attending college.
A Navy spokesperson said Kohler worked as an independent contractor and was at the Navy Yard for a meeting.
Kohler was a past president of the Rotary Club in Lexington Park, Md. As such, he proudly held the title of "King Oyster" at the annual festival celebrating the region's signature bivalve the third weekend of each October.
"He walks around with a crown and robe and gives out candy," said Bob Allen, Kohler's former boss at Lockheed Martin in southern Maryland. "In fact, he was in charge of the beer stand. I used to have that job and when I left, I handed it off to him."
The married father of two college-age daughters had driven up to the Washington Navy Yard for a meeting Monday when the shootings occurred, friends told Allen.
Allen said Kohler had taken over for him as site manager for the defense contractor, but that his friend had since left the company. Allen was unsure what business Kohler had at the Navy Yard.
Allen said Kohler was a Pittsburgh Steelers fan and an avid, though not overly skilled, golfer.
"He could probably shoot in the low 90s," Allen said in a telephone interview Tuesday from Bradenton, Fla. When Allen retired, Kohler picked his gift — a gold pocket watch with the inscription, "From your friends in Lockheed Martin to help you putt into the future."
Kohler lived on the water with his wife, Michelle, an employee at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River. Allen said his friend loved to boat and fish, and went on frequent hunting trips to Canada.
"A great family man, a Christian, and a great friend," he said. "It just doesn't seem possible. I mean, you hear about these things all the time ... But when you know somebody, it just makes it all the worse ... It's a huge loss for southern Maryland."
Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE and The Associated Press contributed to this report.