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Greensburg, PA 15601
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William J. Koch


1929 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
William J. Koch Obituary
William "Bill" Joseph Koch, 89, of Greensburg, died peacefully in the arms of his devoted daughter on Friday morning at 3:32 a.m. June 8, 2018, in the Family Hospice and Palliative Care Lawrenceville Inpatient Center in Pittsburgh. He was born to the late Jacob Gordon and Ann Balas of Indiana, Pa., on Jan. 28, 1929, in the borough of Cresson, Cambria County. In 1946, he left high school to pursue his passion of defending our great nation by enlisting in the Armed Services. As private first class at Fort Belvoir, Va., he completed the course of enlisted specialist training as an air compressor operator. In 1947, he earned the title of technician fifth grade and was deployed to Camp Hillenmeyer, Kunsan, Korea, for almost two years at the beginning of the Korean Conflict. He returned to Fort Belvoir and successfully earned his construction equipment mechanics certification. In 1949, he was promoted to Corporal 528th Engineer Heavy Shop Company, APO 980, U.S. Army, and was deployed to Adak, Alaska. After the tour was over, he returned to Fort Belvoir Engineer School in 1950, earned the degree of construction machinery operator and was certified in the Dissemination of Atomic Energy Information: Indoctrination-Phase III. As a corporal in the HQ 5th Infantry Division with the Army, he earned a Bronze Star and the United Nations Service Medal. He was promoted and honorably discharged as a staff sergeant of the 528th Engineer Heavy Shop Company in the early 1950s. He intended to return again to the Army. But, after meeting Anna Mary, the Army could not compete with Cupid's arrow, and they were married August 1955 at St. Bartholomew Church in Crabtree. They resided next to the rest of her family in Greenwald. They later moved to Greensburg and lived in the same house for the rest of their lives. After a honeymoon in Cuba and happily married, he studied as an apprentice to become a master craftsman and artisan in granite, marble and stone under the wise and talented Italian immigrant, Mr. Elia Bononi. Bill was and will continue to be remembered as one of the preeminent stone cutter artisans in southwestern Pennsylvania. His legacy will continue forever in the beauty of the monuments he created and left behind. Take a walk in any cemetery in the Greater Pittsburgh, Laurel Highlands and surroundings areas and without realizing, you will be admiring his work. As a stone artisan and cutter, he memorialized thousands with his detailed and creative work of sandblasting monuments and grave stones. His enthusiasm for sandblasting and cutting stone into timeless and forever lasting artwork was his reason for living, but ultimately responsible for his demise. After 66 years of unprotected breathing and eating the microscopic by-products of marble and granite sandblasting, his lungs suffered the dire consequences. Bill was known for his storytelling, love of birds, and was always proud of his big Cadillac! He reminisced often of his time overseas. He was a talented inventor and gifted with a quick wit and kept us rolling in the aisles at his jokes, songs and animated stories. We tagged him as a cross between Einstein and actor-comedian Walter Matthau. He adored time fishing with grandchildren and searching with them for ice cream in his little "MG." He was preceded in death by Anna Mary (Yantos) Koch; his wife of 51 years. Later, he was preceded in death by Louise (Miller) Fenton, his beloved companion of 10 years. He is survived by his daughter, Melinda Ann (Koch Cimba) Clark, her husband Charles Kenneth Clark, of Greensburg, and his son, Christopher William Koch, of Pittsburgh. Bill was the loving and proud grandfather of Olivia Melinda (Cimba) Recker and husband Dr. Matthew Jacob Recker, Collin Richard Cimba, Nicole Elizabeth Koch, Alexandra Leigh Koch and Samantha Christine Koch; step-grandfather of Tracey Lee Clark Gill and husband Anthony Jerome Gill; and great-grandfather of Graham Clark Gill. He is also survived by sister-in-law Barbara Ann (Yantos) Volek and her husband Stanley, and brother-in-law Andrew Yantos (late Elizabeth). Special thanks to the staff at Shadyside Hospital and Family Hospice, who worked easing Bill's anxiety and provided comfort to him during his final days.
Relatives and friends are invited to celebrate the life of Bill from 2 to 8 p.m. Friday, June 15, 2018, at CLEMENT L. PANTALONE FUNERAL HOME INC., 409 W. Pittsburgh St., Greensburg, PA 15601, 724-837-0020. Parting prayers will be held in the funeral home at 9:15 a.m. Saturday, June 16, 2018, followed by a Catholic funeral Mass at 10 a.m. at St. Bartholomew Church, 2538 Route 119, Crabtree, PA 15624, with Father Justin Matro, OSB, celebrating. Interment with full military honors will follow at St. Clair Cemetery, 944 St. Clair Way, Greensburg, PA 15601.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Surgicorps International, a Pittsburgh organization close to our hearts. Visit http://Surgicorps.org/donate/ to make a contribution in memory of William J. Koch. The family of William J. Koch has entrusted his care to Pantalone Funeral Home Inc., Greensburg. To share your memories and photos, offer your condolences, or for directions, please visit us at www.pantalone.com. Natale N. Pantalone, supervisor.

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Published in Greensburg Tribune Review from June 14 to June 16, 2018
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