William John Koch

WILLIAM JOHN KOCH, SR. William John Koch was born January 24, 1922 to Dr. William Henry Koch and Catherine (Lemens) Koch, of Highland Park, New Jersey. He was the oldest brother to Robert Koch and Richard Koch. Dad's father was a research veterinarian who specialized in the development of smallpox vaccine in 1917. He taught Dad his lifelong values of respect, honesty, and integrity. Dad's mother was born in Holland. Her family relocated to Dakar, Senegal, Africa, and she and her sister immigrated to the US after high school. She met her future husband at the Dutch Reform Church. Growing up Dad participated in Boy Scouts, and was an excellent swimmer and lifeguard. He enrolled in Rutgers University and majored in ceramic engineering. He was on the Lacrosse team at Rutgers. While there, at the height of WWII, at age 20, he decided to enlist in the Army Air Corps. He was sent to Yale University and trained to become a communications officer. He was stationed in Atlanta, Georgia, and managed the control tower and trained glider pilots. It was there that he met his future wife of 63 years, Lillian Schumpert. She was born and raised in Atlanta and had more than her share of Southern Charm. After the war, dad finished his education at Rutgers, received his Masters Degree at Ohio State University, and finished his classwork for his PhD. Three children were born; William Koch Jr., Richard Koch, and Pamela Lynn Koch. Dad was a research engineer, and the family moved often, as he worked on succesive projects. In 1958 his wife Lillian was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Dad cared for her with this disease for the next 50 years. Tragically, their daughter Pamela died in 1982 at the young age of 26, and Dad and Mom carried that sorrow throughout their lives. Dad and Mom moved to Humboldt County in 2000 to have better access to medical care. The family thanks Dr. Bruce Kesster for his years of steadfast care. We would also thank Dr. Tom Rydz, Dr. Paul Demms, Dr. K. Stokes, and the staff at Timber Ridge for their care and concern for Dad. Bill was preceded in death by his wife Lillian, daughter Pamela granddaughter Tara Tyree, and other family and friends. He is survived by his brothers Robert and Richard and their families, son William and wife Laurinda, son Richard and wife Debi; grandchildren Christopher and wife Melissa (children Ryan and Shaylin), Jonathan and partner Jamie Mixer, Allison and husband Kameron Crocker (Children Bear and Everleigh), Lauren Galvan (children Alexis and Cameron) and great granddaughter Brittney Rooksberry. As Bill was always proud to have served his country, donations may be made to the VFW. Please sign the guestbook at www.times-standard.com and click on obituaries.

Funeral Home

Pierce Mortuary
707 H Street Eureka, CA 95501
(707) 442-3751

Published in Eureka Times-Standard on June 8, 2014