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Robert Koch

Obituary
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Robert Otto Koch , 96, died on Saturday, December 1, in Houston, Texas. He was born on August 30, 1916, in Seguin, Texas, where he spent what he has described as a wonderful childhood surrounded by both sets of grandparents and numerous uncles, aunts, and cousins, all residing within a radius of several blocks of the house he lived in with his parents and his older brother, Gene. He earned his law degree from The University of Texas and received his law license before he turned 23. In 1946, he married Georgia Rhey Owens of Dallas; they had been married for 52 years when she died in 1997. They had three daughters, Kathy Pierce of The Woodlands, Texas, Polly Koch of Houston, and Robin Howard of Louisville, Kentucky, and were further blessed with six grandchildren, Elizabeth Howard, Sarah Howard, Michelle Miseldine, Robert Howard, Kellie Pierce, and Caroline Pierce, all of whom survive him. He started his legal career in Austin as an assistant attorney general of the State of Texas. He was employed in the legal department of Tidewater Associated Oil Company (now Getty) in Houston and later as home office counsel for Getty Oil Company in Los Angeles. He left Getty to become vice president and general counsel of Texas Gas Transmission Corporation in Owensboro, Kentucky. At Texas Gas, he was made executive vice president, became a member of the board of directors, and then was made president. He retired from the company in September 1981. He and his wife moved to Kerrville, Texas, where he did occasional mediation and arbitration work in the oil and gas industry. He was a member of the American and Texas Bar Associations and the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America. He was licensed to practice law in Texas and several state and federal courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States. He was active in the communities where he lived, having been president of the Owensboro Country Club and later the Kerrville Performing Arts Society. He was also active in church work, attending the River Oaks Baptist Church in its formative years and the Richmond Plaza Baptist Church, both in Houston, and First Baptist Church in Owensboro; he taught pre-teen and adult Sunday School classes. When he and his wife moved to Houston, he joined St. Luke's United Methodist Church, where he volunteered in the church's pre-school classes for four-year-olds. He had a keen sense of humor, which he maintained until his death, and thus had many friends and warm professional colleagues. He was an ardent fan of college and professional sports, and followed games on the radio, on television, and at the ballpark; he was a true University of Texas Longhorn. He will be interred in the old Koch plot in the Riverside Cemetery in Seguin, Texas, at a graveside service. A memorial service will be held in Houston in the Chapel at St. Luke's United Methodist Church, 3471 Westheimer, on Saturday, December 8, at 2:00 p.m., where condolences and remembrances can be expressed. In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Houston or to First Baptist Church in Owensboro. Personal and pastoral care by Ron Morris and family is gratefully acknowledged.

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Published in Houston Chronicle on Dec. 12, 2012
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