WARSAW — Like most children growing up, they will tell you what they want to be when they grow up. Some children do grow up and go into the profession they wanted as a child. Chris Kehler is one of those children.
Kehler, a Warsaw native, thought about being a lawyer growing up, but through his high school years and immediately after graduation he wasn’t too sure. However, after graduating from Franklin University in 1984, and then working part time at a law firm in Franklin, he found he enjoyed law work and went to Valparaiso University to obtain his law degree.
Things worked out in Kehler’s favor as he took the right courses his first and second year at Valparaiso and was able to “sit” for his bar exam at the end of his second year of studies. When he graduated he had already passed the bar exam.
Kehler has been a practicing attorney in the county since 1987. He started with Jay Lavender, started his own practice, then became a partner with Rockhill Pennick before going back out on his own. Now his role will change, come July 1, where instead of presenting cases to a judge, he will be hearing cases from his fellow lawyers. Kehler was recently appointed judge of the new Kosciusko County Superior Court 4. He will hit his new job running July 1, with a full court docket of family law cases.
“I learned a lot (from Rockhill Pinnick). They are great lawyers and I have a great deal of respect for them,” said Kehler about the law firms he worked for and lawyers throughout the county he has worked with.
During the past 31 years he has taken on criminal cases, done a substantial amount of family law cases which include divorces, child support, custody hearings, visitation, adoptions, and guardianships. Kehler stated 90 percent of his work deals with family law, criminal wills, trusts and estates. The remaining 10 percent has dealt in other areas of law.
When Kehler is not in the courtroom, which will continue after he becomes judge, he runs in marathons, half marathons and triathlons. He has participated in five marathons, 10 to 15 half marathons and a few triathlons. He noted the triathlons take the strain off the legs and knees, which is why he enjoys those events. He also likes to get in a few rounds of golf, but with training for the three events, he hasn’t found much time.
He also likes to spend time with his family. His oldest daughter is now a junior at Purdue University majoring in nursing, while his youngest has signed a letter of intent to attend the University of Evansville, where she plans to pursue nursing, as well as participate on the university’s track and field team in pole vaulting. He and his wife of 28 years, attended many of their daughters sporting events, and plan on following their youngest daughter in her college events.
Additionally he spends part of his free time operating Camp and Fish campground at Chapman Lake, a seasonal campground he owns.
Living at Chapman Lake, Kehler enjoys the lake with his family. He also is a fan of the Indianapolis Colts, watching formula one racing, which he used to attend when held in Indianapolis, and traveling.