Will Koch
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Holiday World & Splashin' Safari owner and president, Will Koch, passed away Sunday evening at his home.

Koch died at home of what the family believes to be complications from diabetes. He was 48.

Born and raised in the town of Santa Claus, Koch attended Heritage Hills High School in Lincoln City, and was Valedictorian of his graduating class in 1979. He graduated with honors from the University of Notre Dame in 1984 with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. In 1986, he received a Master's degree in Computer Science from the University of Southern California.

Koch was Chief Executive Officer of Koch Development Corporation, the parent company of Holiday World Theme Park and Splashin' Safari Water Park. Under his direction, the theme park followed an aggressive growth program including the addition of Splashin' Safari Water Park in 1993, The Raven and The Legend wooden roller coasters in 1995 and 2000, plus The Voyage wooden coaster in 2006, for which he was a designer. In 2004, Koch received the international Applause Award from the amusement industry; the criteria for the coveted award include foresight, originality and creativity, plus sound business development and profitability. Each year since 2006, annual seasonal attendance at Holiday World & Splashin' Safari has topped one million visitors. This year, the park premiered Wildebeest, the world's longest water coaster.

Koch served as president of the Lincoln Boyhood Drama Association, which worked with the State of Indiana to reopen the Lincoln Amphitheatre in 2009 with a new drama honoring the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth. He was also a past member of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions; and he served on the Administrative Council of the Santa Claus United Methodist Church.

Koch is survived by his wife, Lori, and three children: Lauren, Leah, and William. He is also survived by his mother, Pat, and siblings Dan, Kristi, Philip and Natalie.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to be made to the Lincoln Boyhood Drama Association or the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Published in Courier Press from Jun. 14 to Jun. 21, 2010.
Memories & Condolences
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337 entries
June 10, 2013
Koch family, I am sorry for the loss of William and Phillip.
May 5, 2012
I'm so saddened and sorry to hear about Wills passing. I wish I would've gotten the chance to meet him. I hope to in the next life. Will and his family are in my prayers.
Andrea King
July 10, 2010
I'm so sorry to hear this. My prayers are with Lori and the children.
June 30, 2010
May God bless you and keep you in this time of sorrow. You have my deepest sympathy. Formerly from Buffaloville, In
Debbie (Underhill) Gordon
June 29, 2010
I worked at Holiday World in 2005 from July to October and can't remeber if I met Will or not. But it is a loss to the koch family and to Holiday World. He is with the Lord now and my sympathies go out to the Koch family.
Tyler Coons
June 26, 2010
My uncle tims neighbor, Will is such a great guy!
Shaylynn Smith
June 22, 2010
Thanks to the Koch family and all of the dedicated employess of Holiday World and Splash'in Safari. We were there during the week of Will's death and funeral and although we were somber and saddened by his passing, the courage, smiles and dedication of the staff made our visit once again a special one.
Dan and Penny Jackson
June 22, 2010
Thanks to the Koch family for such a beautiful theme park and wonderful memories. Our family has gone to your park since our now teenage boys were toddlers and we have all loved every minute of it. Our deepest sympathy to the entire Koch family and to the Holiday World family.
Ed & Lora Mueller
June 21, 2010
Mrs. Pat, Lori, and family,
It has been so hard to believe that Will is gone. One must think he is laughing with Grandpa or maybe I should say "Santa Claus Jim" Yelling and discussing all the changes that had occurred at once was known as Santa Claus Land with a few attractions. He is also chatting with his father Bill and letting him know that everything has been left in good hands for the next generation. God Speed.
D. Mead Johnson
June 21, 2010
Dear Miss Pat & Family- we are so shocked and sorry for your loss. Will is and was a wonderful person. Words can not express our feeilings for him and for you and his family. May God be with all of you. Thank you for all that you do for all of us. We are here for you in your hour of need. Much Love~ From a Family who cares about you and your family
June 21, 2010
At 44 years of age I cannot remember a time we didn't have Holiday World (new name of course) I have photos at the famous Santa while still in diapers...smiling. I now live in Texas and always make it a point to visit when I'm back. Know that your family and what your family have given us are truely loved.
Jeff Miller
June 19, 2010
Our deepest sympathy to the entire Koch family. Your dedication to building and maintaining an affordable and fun park has brought our family from 3 states together for several years.
God give you strength and healing during this difficult time.
Bob and Lori Kuta
June 19, 2010
We are sorry for your family's loss but know he has accomplished so much at Holiday World for so many families. God Bless!
Steve & Terry Cooper
June 19, 2010
Amie, Avery & Alie Deckard
Such a shocking, untimely death. Will had just greeted us at the gate the Monday before, just like always!
Much sympathy to the entire family.
Larry & Peggy Deckard
June 19, 2010
I worked for Will in the Picnic Area. I'll aways remember that smile, all that engery, and the way he'd make us laugh.
Mrs Koch You are in my thoughts and prayers, along with all of the family..
Gena Weigand
June 19, 2010
Our thoughts and prayers are with your family during your time of loss.
Alicia Armes
June 19, 2010
My sincerest and deepest sympathy goes out to the Kock family. I grew up in Chrisney / Rockport area. I pray for continued success in all that the Koch family has established for all to experience and enjoy. Though I do not know the Koch family personally, my thoughts and prayers for you during this time for you loss. As long as he is in your hearts, he will never really be gone. Love to all the Koch family.
Ruth Ann (Evrard-Richey) Rowe
June 19, 2010
To the Koch Family: We are very sad to hear of the passing of Will. You all will be in our hearts and prayers. In Loving thought's: The family of Mary Collignon
June 19, 2010
May the Lord continue to keep you in the hollow of his hand and comfort you all.
Cheryl Stroud
June 19, 2010
My Family would like to express are deepest Sympathy to your family. Last 4th of July our whole family visited the park and my brother had a heart attack inside the park and, Will ran to check on him and called 911 for us he saved my brother's life and. that we will be always grateful. He was a wonderful soul.May he rest in peace. Mrs. Sheila Timmel and family
Sheila Timmel
June 18, 2010
I am deeply saddened by the loss of someone who gave so much to so many. His spirit and depth of character will live through the smiles of future generations who enjoy the special place he molded through two decades.
Charles Bauman
June 18, 2010
June 18, 2010
Rhonda Elder
June 18, 2010
Dear Pat and family,

My sincere condolances upon the loss of Will. He was such a vibrant, enthusiastic advocate for the entire amusement industry. He did tremendous things with Holiday World, making it a world class destination.
B. Derek Shaw
June 18, 2010
Dear Koch Family,
Your loss is our loss also, we are property owners in Christmas Lake Village. Having visited Santa Claus Land & Holiday World many times over the years as children and with our children. You have our deepest sympathy. I am a Type 2 non insulin dependent diabetic so I understand the complications that are possible with the disease. We have family in the Dubois County area yet, but currently live in Effingham, IL. God Bless Your Family and May God give you Peace.
Philip E. Kiser & Family
June 18, 2010
Mr. Koch,
Thank you for providing me and my family with such wonderful childhood memories. I LOVE Holiday World and will continue to support your dream with my patronage.

You were a true philanthropist...I know that God is glad to have you with him to share in the awesomeness that is eternity.
June 18, 2010
Many prayers for your family in this time of unbelievable loss and grief. Our family enjoys Holiday World several days each year and will continue to do so. We appreciate Will's vision which has blessed us all with precious memories of wonderful times with our family. Thank you to your family for being the support that he needed to accomplish everything he has. He will not be forgotten.
Rebecca Anderson
June 18, 2010
We've never met, but words can't express the sympathy and empathy in my heart for your loss. You are truly in my thoughts and prayers.

Trust in God to strengthen you in the difficult times ahead. May memories of your loved one and friend bring you comfort. I sense that Will is in Heaven, where he's at peace, happy, and no longer suffering from illness.
June 17, 2010
We are so sorry for the family and for the lifes of each one this man has touched. may God comfort and give you peace.
James Cundiff
June 17, 2010
I am so very sorry to hear of your loss loved one. My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort. "God Bless!"
June 17, 2010
We were so sorry to hear of your loss. The thoughts of many are with you at this time of sorrow.
Lennie,Mindy & Heather Hubert
June 17, 2010
To the koch family sorry for your lose your family are in are prayer may god be with you on this day he will always look after from haven
Carolyn Bucy
June 17, 2010
Our heart goes out to you and your family. You are in our thoughts and prayers
Elpers family
June 17, 2010
To the Koch's family. I didn't know Will, but my son Bryan Karnes had nothing but kind words about Will and his mother. I'm so sorry to hear of this great man death. And send my deepest sympathy & prayers to all his family. My mother always said that when there was a death in our family that God needed another rose in his bouquet of flowers. May Jesus keep you and you family wraped in his loving grace.
Suzy Robinson
June 17, 2010
Lori and children: I am sorry about Will. I know he was a wonderful husband and father. I have known him since he was 14 or 15. He was always such a good kid. I have so many good memories and the days at Holiday World and your days early in your relationship. You performing and Will running the sound. The days ahead will not be easy. But I am praying God will provide strength and comfort as you need it. Much love and prayers, Jan Girton McCollum
June 17, 2010
We are so sorry for your loss. We visit Holiday World every summer and are always so impressed at what a clean, fun and safe family atmosphere it continues to be. It is obvious how much family means to the Koch family and we have all lost a truly wonderful person. Your family will be in our thoughts and prayers. May God bless you all. Sincerely - Wendi Wells
Wendi Wells
June 17, 2010
Lori and children,
We were stunned and heart-broken to hear of Will's death. You will all be in our thoughts and prayer for a long time. He was a wonderful man and you have a wonderful family. I know your faith will carry you through this. We feel your loss more than we can say.
Love, Dick and Shirley Harris (Fort Wayne, IN) and Gene & Shirley Williams (Logansport, IN)
June 17, 2010
Our family send our condolences to the Kock family.
The Gish Family
June 17, 2010
So sorry to hear of Will's death. Am praying for God's comfort for the family.
Warren Purcell
June 17, 2010
June 17, 2010
We are all sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.
The Rogers Family
June 17, 2010
We greatly respect Will Koch for his
being such a humble and good family
man with an amazing formal education.
His life is now a legacy for his children... Our sympathy. Peace to the
Mr. and Mrs. Johnson-Murphy
June 17, 2010
It's hard to believe that I just saw you on Saturday welcoming all of the guest with your mother Pat at your side. Both of you with great big smiles on your faces.
It's hard to believe that you were taken at such a young age.
Your joyful heart and wonderful memories will be with many people around the world for many years to come.
May God be with your family in this time of need. Our prayers are with you!
Doris Drury and Family
June 17, 2010
We were so shocked when we heard the news about Will. Lori, you and the children, Mrs. Koch and brothers and sisters are in our thoughts and prayers. Will is with his father in heaven watching over you and I know with your strong Christian beliefs, that in time you will find peace. I have a lot of fond memories of the Koch family and they will not be forgotten. May God Bless You All.
Mark & Sabrina McManaway
June 17, 2010
Thank you Will
June 17, 2010
To the Koch family,
Will was a great man and have the greatest amusement park today. May God be with his family. He will never be forgotten may he rest in Peace.
Kevin Aucoin
June 16, 2010
Our family sends are deepest sympathies. Your family helped us alot through the loss of our son, whom was employed for you and your family. Your kindness was much appreciated and I know that God will help you all through this awful tragedy. Our prayers are with you and your family.
ronda Wade
June 16, 2010
Our thoughts prayers go out to his family but also to his employees at Holiday World. He was truly an amazing man with a wonderful spirit.
Dennis and Leah Roach
June 16, 2010
My prayers go out to you. I was just at the park last week. Sue Herren (Aurora, Il)
sue herren
June 16, 2010
He will be missed. He ran a great park. God Bless!
Kourtney Knarian
June 16, 2010
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
June 16, 2010
I am so sorry for your lose, you have my deepest sympathy and Prayers go out to the family. Will's legacy will go on forever. Will's wife and children had a Husband and Father they can be very proud of.
GOD Bless you all.
Dale Ayer
June 16, 2010
My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.
June 16, 2010
Dear Koch Family,
I am deeply sorry for the loss of Will, you all are in my families thoughts and prayers.Will was a very nice man with alot of great ideas implimented into such a wonderful place for a family to enjoy being together. He seemed to love making other people feel happy. Mrs. Koch, you always take time to say hello and talk to people while they are visiting the park and everyone who grew up with Santa Claus Land/ Holiday World now feels like they know you and your family. We all feel the loss of Will. Sending this message to let you know we all really do love your family so much. My children who are both ten are working on making you the best art picture ever to show you how much they care.
Ruby Gross
June 16, 2010
Lori & family,

We were so sorry to hear of Will's death. You have our deepest sympathy & prayers. God bless you all in these trying days.


Barb & Jerry Dingeldein
June 16, 2010
First, I'd like to extend my deepest sympathy to Mr Koch's family. A tragic loss indeed. Secondly, I want them to know that my Nana took me to "Santa Claus Land" and then "Holiday World" every single year growing up. Rudolph lake was a great picnic spot & she used to let me swim a little to cool off before returning to the park for more rides & fun. Wonderful memories that I will cherish forever. What Mr Koch and his family have done to grow the park is phenomenal. A wonderful place to visit, if you haven't ever been there and....don't forget to go back every so often and take a trip down memory lane for those of us who grew up there.
Melissa Rutledge-Lagoo
June 16, 2010
Another wonderful vacation at Holiday World...
Patricia McCaffery
June 16, 2010
I did not personally know the Koch family but was both shocked and saddened by the news.My family and I was at Holiday World on Monday when I heard the news.A very big shock.Holiday World has been a yearly vacation spot for my family for the past 9yrs and we plan on returning again next year.So from the McCafferys in Hartford City In. Kevin,Patricia,Patric,Ricki,Drew,Conner and Makenna we extend our deepest sympathy to all the Koch family.May God be with you during this hard time.
June 16, 2010
You'll be sadly missed. Thank you for your passion and drive in making Holiday World the finest place there is!
Sam Marks
June 16, 2010
I have gone to holiday world every year for awhile. I love the different themed rides. The park is like diseny world without the lines, and largeness.
I send my deepest symthany to his family.
Joey Plummer
June 16, 2010
I extend my deepest sympathy to the Koch Family.
Daniel Bullock
June 16, 2010
I am from Pittsburgh and they had a special on theme parks (late 90s / early 00s) on a local channel (WQED) and they brought up Holiday World and Will Koch. Very sad to see he had passed on. Everything I've read said what an amazing person he was. God Bless him, his family, and everyone who was lucky enough to know him.
Ben Lewis
June 16, 2010
I did not know the Koch family other than seeing them when i took my grandchildren to holiday world but was so impressed with the free drinks they furnished the chidren as we all know you can go without food but not drinks and i thank them for that because lots of families could not afford to buy for their family.Will will be missed and to go at such a young age all the worse but he is in Heaven now and i am sure God is blessing him for all his kindness on earth. Sara Barron
sara barron
June 16, 2010
My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Mr. Koch. I never had the pleasure of knowing the family. I have a lot of memories from when the park was Santa Claus Land and even more memories as an adult spending time at the park.
June 16, 2010
To the Will Koch family - our sympathy in the passing of Will. We thank God for Will and the love he shared with so many. Carl and Cladia Brown, Washington, Indiana
June 16, 2010
I was so shocked and saddened to hear of Will's passing. Though we did not know him personally, my family & I have spent many wonderful times at the park over the last 40+ years and have so many special memories. You are all in our thoughts and prayers.
Robin Litel
June 16, 2010
My prayers are with the entire Koch family. Take comfort knowing that Will is with his "Mu Mu" again.
Margaret Edwards
June 16, 2010
Lori and Family,
My heart is so heavy hearing of the passing of Will. As so many, I am in disbelief. Only this past month you and Will was helping my family with our grief. Will was always there to help. I will always remember my first job at Holiday World and my first boss, Will. He will never be forgotten and his legacy will go on forever.
Chris Harper
June 16, 2010
My prayers are with the Koch family.

Ramona Blystone
June 16, 2010
I am so sorry for your loss of a good christian husband, father , son and brother. I only knew him through his Tv ads but he had a humble and friendly way about him. I am praying for you all and I hope you can celebrate his life even in your time of grieving.
Ann Rodriguez
June 16, 2010
Our prayers for the family It is a great loss not only to them but the entire region and those who have enjoyed the fruits of his work and kindness We feel sure his memory will live on in the hearts of everyone who has or will enjoy Holiday World Thank you Will !!
Sharolette Coleman
June 16, 2010
Our prayers are with the Kock family.
John & Kim Mincey
June 16, 2010
June 16, 2010
Will is now riding that wooden roller coaster in the sky with his father and grandfather. May he rest in peace! Prayers go out to his mother, wife, and children. I didn't even know Mr. Koch but will remember him from his television and radio ads.
Ray Ryan
June 16, 2010
A wonderful leader in our community.He will be missed greatly.
Kelli Ellis
June 15, 2010
My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Koch family in their loss. May God hold you all in the palm of His hand.
June 15, 2010
I met Will,one day and thought he can't be the president. He was so down to earth and a very likeable man.I'm sorry for your loss.

the cozart Family
June 15, 2010
I am very sorry to hear that Mr. Koch has passed on but he is now the angel on everyone's shoulder and watching over you
I remember when I was little and lost a family member and my mom told me that because it had rained when they had died that it meant that they were fine because the rain were kisses from heaven and that the loved one wanted us to know they were okay and that they were watching and sending us their love with the rain
Sorry for all of your loss but our loss is GOD's gain.
Allen, Cheryl and Bobbi Mayer-Wiggins
Cheryl Wiggins
June 15, 2010
I did not know Will personally but I grew up swimming with Kristie and Natalie. They are a wonderful family and my deepest sympathy goes out to them. My family lives in Evansville so we have frequented Holiday World many times with our young children and always see Will and Pat greeting people and walking around the park. Many blessings at this difficult time. Jerri Noble Clark and family
June 15, 2010
God Bless the Koch family in their loss! Our family had just met and discovered Will's association with JDRF at this years walk. He and His mother were truely an inspiration in finding a cure. We are heart broken to loose such a good example of managing diabetes while living out your dreams. And we are proud to tell our son that He can still be a positive role model for society in spite of this disease. Sincerely, The Spear Family aka/ " Aaron's Army" from Greenwood Indiana. We would like to participate in a Memorial Walk if you have one or maybe we can start one of our own in Indianapolis, Indiana.
June 15, 2010
Lori and family we LOVE you!!

Norm, Sheri, and Angel Marie
Sheri DuMont Hale
Sheri DuMont Hale
June 15, 2010
Just want to say how sad we were to hear of Will Koch's passing. We would also like to give a huge thanks you to the Koch family and Will especially for making Holiday World such a wonderful place for our family to go every year. Even though we currently live outside the U.S. we always come home in summer and Holiday World is a "must do" each year!! Will's spirit will remain alive as long as Holiday World is around!!

The Shiyab Family
June 15, 2010
June 15, 2010
Our sympathy and prayers to the Kock Family.
The Patrick Scheller Family
Carolyn Scheller
June 15, 2010
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
June 15, 2010
As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life's routine, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends.
June 15, 2010
I had never met Mr. Koch but felt like I knew him through his TV ads. I used him as an example in several of my classes at Western Kentucky University. It is always hard to lose someone but at his young age, makes it worse. He was a wonderful person who will be missed by many.
Allan Hall
June 15, 2010
He was number one in our class, number one in our hearts.
Linda Mullen Clevenger
June 15, 2010
We never met Mr. Koch personally, but he was truly a great man. I'm sure he will be missed by many.

The Harper's, Boonville, Indiana
June 15, 2010
Our deepest sympathy for the Kock family. I remember going to Santa Claus land as a child, then to Holiday world in more recent years.
Don & Barbara kirkwood
June 15, 2010
We are sorry for your loss. May God be with you at this time of need.
Cindy & Tom Hilderbrandt
June 15, 2010
I am so sorry for your loss. Words cannot express the deep sadness in so many hearts today. I had the pleasure of knowing Will through high school. He was a wonderful, caring soul then and grew up to touch so many lives. Thank you Koch family for sharing him with so many people. God Bless.
Pam Henson- Leathers
June 15, 2010
To Lori Koch and family ... I was deeply saddened to learn of Will's passing on Sunday night. Even tho I never made it to Holiday World, I was glad to have met him on visits to Logansport, Indiana. He was a very kind man, which is very obvious from the printed story of him and from other entries here. Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers for strength and the peace of God that will carry you through.
Steve Hildebran
June 15, 2010
Dear Lori and children,
We were so shocked to hear of Will's sudden death.
Today we have been remembering your lovely wedding day. My Dad, your Uncle Bert, my Don, and I were there. Mother, your Aunt Dorothy stayed in Logansport with your Aunt Dodo Leffert. It was such a sweet day. Nickie carried your rings and fell asleep I think in your Mother's lap. Sunday they were all there in Heaven greeting Will as he passed through the Golden Gates.
Tonie and Matthew visited Holiday World several times. Will was such a gracious, friendly dear man.
Lori,I know what it is to loose your helpmate. Remember, we love you and pray for peace in your wounded heart.
God Bless and Keep You!
Your cousins,
Sallie Morris Nelson San Benito TX
Tee 'Tonie' Andrews
Matthew Andrews
Shawnee Hollis all Bloomington IN
June 15, 2010
I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Your family is in my prayers. God bless.
Cindy Edwards
June 15, 2010
My heart is breaking. His spirit will be present forever on every ride Will dreamed into existence. There are no words to soften the painful loss of a kind and loving man. Bless his wife and children, his mom and his brothers and sisters.
Judy Gerald
June 15, 2010
I never met Will, but a young lady that I know met him at Santa Claus Land, she was so impressed that he really cared about what she thought about the ride that she was on. That tells me a lot about the man. I am so sorry that the world has lost a fine man.
Lue VanWinkle
June 15, 2010
My family and I send our condolences to the Kock family.
The Johnson Family
June 15, 2010
koch family you will be in my prayers. i was just at holidayworld three weeks ago and we rode the pilgrams plunge with Will that day it was a blast watching him have fun with all of use it was great.Will is an amazing person for all that he did for the kid in all of us.
angel smith
June 15, 2010
I am deeply sorry to hear about Will. He was a wonderful person and he will be missed by all. You are in my prayers.
Carol Mulzer
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