In April 2011, William Koch - one of Florida's oldest and longest-running mayors - said the 3-year term to which he'd just been reelected "may be my last."|
He turned out to be prophetic.
Mr. Koch, Gulf Stream's mayor, died Saturday at age 91, his family confirmed.
Since November 1966, he had been mayor of this high-end oceanfront town of about 800 just north of Delray Beach.
While such records aren't kept, Mr. Koch's is one of the longest combinations of age and tenure of any U.S. mayor.
In Florida, his only better might be John Land, in Apopka, north of Orlando, who's been mayor 58 years and turned 91 in November 2011.
Friends pushed Mr. Koch to seek higher office, but he said in 2011 that he hadn't been interested.
To the end, Mr. Koch continued to run his real estate office and serve on the boards of Bethesda Memorial Hospital and Miami public TV station WPBT-Channel 2.
When Mr. Koch - pronounced COKE - first joined the commission in 1956, the board met in people's kitchens.
In fact, when Mr. Koch - the son of a doctor who shuttled his family between Florida and Michigan - was a child in the 1920s and 1930s, the town mostly was open beach.
Mr. Koch, orphaned before he was 10, schooled at Rollins College near Orlando, taking a break to be a pilot and bombardier in Europe. He helped provide air cover on D-Day.
An early business partner was farmer Clint Moore, for whom the Boca Raton street is named.
He opened his business in 1956. It claims to be the Delray Beach's oldest real estate firm.
Mr. Koch is survived by his wife of 64 years, two children and two grandchildren.
Published in The Palm Beach Post from June 20 to July 19, 2012