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KOCH GEORGE WILLIAM KOCH George W. Koch passed away on Sunday, January, 26, 2014 at the age of 87 of natural causes. Per his wishes, a private family service will be held. Mr. Koch was nationally known as a patriarch of modern day government relations, a steward of the highest ethical standards and a mentor to hundreds of men and women, many of whom went on to become some of the most influential advocacy professionals in the nation. His distinguished career included service as Assistant City Solicitor in Cincinnati, Associate Director of the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, Director of Federal Affairs for Sears, Roebuck & Company and 24 years as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) where he was instrumental in developing the Uniform Product Code system and other major product labeling practices. Upon retiring from GMA, Mr. Koch devoted the next 23 years as counsel for K&L Gates, LLP, an international law firm, in addition to serving as the North American Counsel for the International Center for Companies of the Food Industry and Congressional Advisor to the Transatlantic Policy Network. Among the awards given to Mr. Koch for his lifetime achievements were the Bryce Harlow Foundation's Business Government Relations Award, the first GMA Leadership in Public Policy Award, the Ohio Council Merchants' Distinguished Service Award and the Independent Grocers Alliance J. Frank Grimes Award. In addition, he was honored by the Montgomery County, Maryland chapter of the NAACP for his work in the late 70s and early 80s on behalf of the employees of his country club. Mr. Koch served on numerous corporate, civic and charitable Boards of Directors, both domestic and international, including Borden Chemical and Plastics, Inc., McCormick & Company, Williams Foods, Watchdogs of the Treasury, the Advisory Council of the International Executive Service Corps and the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. Mr. Koch was an active member of Congressional Country Club since 1961. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Mr. Koch graduated from Xavier High School in Cincinnati, served as President of his college fraternity, Sigma Chi, received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Cincinnati, and was a veteran of the U.S. Navy having served during the Second World War. Mr. Koch was the loving husband to Helen Lawton. They were married for 63 years and had six children, Jorie Koch Kenny of Washington, DC; Daniel Louis Koch of Potomac, MD and Patricia Reilly Koch (spouse); Patrick Cavanaugh Koch of Potomac, MD; Robert Pardi Koch of Bethesda, MD and Doro Bush Koch (spouse); Monte James Merritt Koch of Corona del Mar, CA and Sandra Ploen Koch (spouse); Lucy Lawton Koch of Charlottesville, VA, and 14 grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the following three charities in honor of his wife and children: The National Multiple Sclerosis Society; (http://main.nationalmssociety.org/goto/GeorgeKoch; M.D. Anderson Cancer Center/Dr. Wolff's Pancreatic Research Fund; The George and Helen Koch Crohn's Disease and Intestinal Transplant Foundation, www.crohnsandintestinaltransplantfoundation.org. For mailing instructions for all three charities, please call Vikki Watkins at 202-408-0870.
Published in The Washington Post on Feb. 4, 2014