WILKES-BARRE — Michael J. Kotch, M.D., went home to be with the Lord on Wednesday, June 12, 2014. He died at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital. He was 84 years old.
Dr. Kotch was born in Loomis Park on April 4, 1930, and was a son of the late Michael and Helen Kotch. He graduated in 1947 from Hanover High School and in 1951 from Wilkes College. He graduated from Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia in 1955 and completed his general internship at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital in 1956.
Dr. Kotch was a deeply patriotic man, and he felt the desire to serve his country. Upon completion of his medical training, he joined the U.S. Army and served from 1957 to 1959, stationed in Fulda, Germany. As a Captain, he was the commanding officer of the 501st Armored Medical Company, attached to the 14th Armored Cavalry.
After his honorable discharge from the Army, he began his private practice as a general practitioner in Nanticoke, where he practiced for almost 40 years. His passion was medicine. He strived to care for the whole patient, and not just the disease process afflicting them. He loved being in general practice because he was able to care for patients and their families throughout all stages of his life. He especially enjoyed delivering babies (over 1,900), and was proud to then continue their care through adulthood. He consistently made house calls late into the night, and would often accept a baked good, a meal, or even a spoken gesture of gratitude, in lieu of payment . He also belonged to many professional organizations, including the American Medical Association, Pennsylvania Medical Association and Luzerne County Medical Society; and he was granted the distinction of a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. After a long and respected career, he retired in 1995, but never stopped caring for and thinking about his patients.
Dr. Kotch was generous, loyal, compassionate and keenly interested in many things. Dr. Kotch loved his family, and often stated that his greatest joys came from spending time with his children and grandchildren. He was deeply invested in their activities, and would proudly boast about their accomplishments.
Dr. Kotch loved the outdoors, and enjoyed hunting and fishing with his family and friends. He built a hunting cabin in Bradford County and established the Bushytail Club, a hunting club that is still alive and well. He played golf religiously, and was a member of the Wyoming Valley Country Club for many years.
He was passionate about sports, and was a dedicated fan of the Boston Celtics, the Green Bay Packers and Penn State football. He enjoyed a martini and the occasional cigar, and loved to go out to dinner with his wife and friends.
Aside from his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister, Helen Gilbert. Also preceding him in death by three months was his beloved wife, Janyce, with whom he was married for 59 wonderful years.
He is survived by his children, Katherine Kotch, Nanticoke; Robin Muth and her husband, Gerard, Nanticoke; Michael Kotch, Nanticoke, and David Kotch and his wife, Geri, Flourtown. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Sara Kane and her husband, Marty; Patrick Muth; Samantha Muth; Kayla Kotch; Sydney Kotch; David Kotch and Alexa Kotch.
Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the First Primitive Methodist Church, 101 E. Church St., Nanticoke, with Pastor Kyle Gildner officiating. Interment will be in Oak Lawn Cemetery, Hanover Township. Friends may call 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Earl W. Lohman Funeral Home, 14 W. Green St., Nanticoke.
Dr. Kotch wanted to thank his patients, colleagues, family and friends for giving him a full and joyful life.