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Thomas Freeman Koch

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May 13, 1925 - March 22, 2015 Tom Koch died at age 89 at home in Laguna Woods, CA. He worked most of his life writing comedy for television, radio and print. His comic style stood out for its subtle satire and offbeat originality reflecting his Midwest perspective. He was born in Charleston, Illinois, in 1925 to Elmer Koch of Indiana, and Rachel (née Freeman) of Olney, Illinois. He grew up in Indianapolis, graduating from Shortridge High School in 1942. Tom attended Northwestern University, receiving a BS in Journalism in 1946 and an MA in Political Science in 1948. His writing career began in Chicago, radio from 1946, then television from 1952. His earliest broadcasting work was in sports and news. His first books were a collection of poems I'll Remember Indiana (1948) and an account of Indiana basketball, Tournament Trail (1950). He wrote radio comedy 1955-1984, including over 3,000 sketches for Bob & Ray. From 1952, Tom was a staff writer for the television series of Dave Garroway, George Gobel, Dinah Shore, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Jonathan Winters, Pat Paulsen, also All in the Family. Free-lance he wrote episodes for The Lucy Show, Dick Van Dyke specials, Ernie Ford specials, George Gobel specials, an Emmy awards show, two TV Guide Awards shows and Bob & Ray's "A Cure for California," for which the script won an Emmy. Tom wrote approximately 300 articles for Mad Magazine, during the magazine's height of popularity 1957-1995. His Mad specialities included parodies of songs and famous poems and the fictional sport "43-Man Squamish", which Tom co-created. He wrote three Mad-branded books of humor. His work for Mad has been translated into several languages. Tom Koch married Alice Methudy in St. Louis in 1946 (divorced 1957). He moved to California in 1957, living in Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Fountain Valley and Laguna Woods. He married Donna Lowry in Laguna Woods in 2001. Donna Koch died in 2005. Tom Koch is survived by his son John from his first marriage, who lives in Wales, and by three grandchildren, two great-grand children and his first wife. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 11, 2015 at the UU Fellowship of Laguna Beach at 4:00.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Mar. 28, 2015
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