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Alexander Funeral Home - North Chapel

4200 Stringtown Road, Evansville, IN

OBITUARY

Eugene A. Koch

5 December , 193828 April , 2019
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EUGENE “GENE” ALLEN KOCH left this earthly life in the early morning hours of Sunday, April 28, 2019 at Deaconess Hospital Midtown.

Gene was born on December 5, 1938 to Walter H. Koch and Esther L. (Lottes) Koch in Evansville, IN, both of whom predeceased him. He graduated from F. J. Reitz High School, and the University of Evansville with a BS degree in Business Administration/Finance. He was one of several who established the initial computer system for Citizens National Bank (now 5/3 Bank) in the early 1960’s. In 1965, he moved to Mead Johnson & Co. where he eventually became the Mgr. of the Midwestern Consolidated Computer Center for Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., and shortly before his retirement in 1993, he returned to Mead Johnson & Co. as an MIS Director. He was a lifetime member of Bethlehem United Church of Christ, serving there in many capacities over the years. Upon his retirement, he continued to enjoy his gift of computer knowledge by teaching church members how to use them, and making house calls when they had problems. He also developed a passion and knowledge of photography, which he shared with family and friends and his grandchildren’s sports, music, and gymnastic events. He dearly loved his entire family, and was happiest when he could have them around him; they were his life!

Gene is survived by his loving bride of 60 years, Judith A. (Holder) Koch; daughter, Kim Koch-Akin, of Evansville, sons, Karl G. (Kelly) Koch, of Oakland City, IN, and Kent A. (Tammy) Koch of Brownsburg, IN; grandchildren Adam K. (Samantha) Akin, Aaron J. Akin (Cassidy Jacobs), Andrew A. Akin, Jeanell (Koch) Laughary, Alex G. (Erica) Koch, Samantha, Katie, and Natalie Koch; great grandchildren, Hannah and Jack Laughary and Wyatt Koch; sister-in-law, Brenda Willner, a niece, nephews, cousins, and his church family.

A celebration of Gene’s life will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 5, 2019 at Bethlehem United Church of Christ, 6400 Oak Hill Rd. with Rev. Emily Slade officiating. Interment will be in Bethlehem United Church of Christ Cemetery. Friends may visit from 2:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 4, 2019 at Alexander Funeral Home, North Chapel, 4200 Stringtown Rd. and from 1:30 p.m. until service time on Sunday, May 5, 2019 at Bethlehem United Church of Christ.

Memorial contributions may be made to Bethlehem United Church of Christ. Condolences may be made online at www.AlexanderNorthChapel.com.

Services

  • Visitation Saturday, 4 May , 2019
  • Visitation Sunday, 5 May , 2019
  • Celebration of Gene's Life Sunday, 5 May , 2019

Memories

Eugene A. Koch

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Mike Pierson

4 May 2019

We never have the right words in these moments. So, very simply we will state the Pierson family has been thinking about the Koch family non-stop. Bigger than softball!! We look forward to seeing you guys soon.

Rest in Peace Mr. Koch!!

Susan Shaw Harrison

2 May 2019

I was sorry to hear of your loss. I hope Gene is enjoying new life without infirmaties. He has a great family who loved and supported him..

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Biography

TRIBUTE FOR GENE’S CHILDREN BY KARL KOCH

I’d like to thank everyone for joining us today to celebrate Dad’s life. Everything he did was all about us. Well, Dad, today it’s all about you!

Mom and Dad both had adversity in their childhoods, which made them intent on making our family the focus of their lives. Dad lost his mother to Leukemia when he was 12 years old, and even though he never talked much about it, I know that that drove his passion for giving us the best life he could. Dad has left a legacy for the many lives he touched. His legacy is not based on what he said, but what he did. The way he lived showed us who he was.

When Mom and Dad had Kim, Dad was 20 and Mom was 19. Dad worked 3 jobs and went to school at the same time, and Mom took care of 2 babies. Even at 20 years old, Dad already put his plan into play. I remember what I was doing at 20, and it wasn’t that. I can only imagine the pressure that Dad and Mom were under during those times. Then when Dad was 34, and Mom was 33, our “Little Blessing” arrived.

Each one of us had our own special relationship with Dad, molded around our own separate personalities. Growing up in Darmstadt, Kim thought it was normal for girl to cut the grass, pull weeds, pick up sticks and rotten apples, and play in the creek in the woods. Once she was a teenager, she realized that the other girls didn’t have to do those things. This caused some “head butting.” She was often told she was just like Dad. That frustrated her because most of those times were spent at odds. Even though there were a lot of disagreements, she was always proud to say that she was Gene Koch’s daughter, for the response would be that of honor, respect, and admiration. In Dad’s later years, Kim became the Daddy’s girl that she was meant to be.

Kent, being the little “Later Blessing,” had the benefit of a more seasoned father. Now, we all know hos different we were between the ages of 20 and 34. Dad was well into his career, and was still working extremely hard, but he had more tome to spend doing the father and son thongs with Kent. Even though Dad had a little more time to spend, and a different perspective on life, his expectations of Kent were the same.

As for me, I was probably the most challenging child to raise. I’m sure, at that time, he looked at Mom and said, “what in the world are we going to do?” He had to spend more time pushing me and giving me direction. Some of my favorite quotes are “think Karl think, if you have to sit there for an hour, you are going to finish your supper!” “Are you okay Karl? Yes. Good, I’m glad you totaled that piece of junk Toyota.” Even with his limited time, he coached my baseball teams, went to my school programs, and helped me win, well okay, he won, the Pinewood Derby district championship. He was my advisor when I went into business and my “go to guy” on making most of my decisions. One final quote, one that I heard every morning, every night, after any spanking, and in the past 20 years, and every time he saw my face, he said “I love you so much.”

Even though the three of us knew a Mom and Dad with evolving parenting methods, the motives, principals, values, and expectations were all the same. Our level of respect we all have for both of our parents is immeasurable. As for Kelly and Tammy, Dad loved them as his own, and they loved him immensely. They knew that they could count on him just as much as we could.

Dad loved to help and loved to teach. From the various computer classes and instruction manuals that he created and taught, to digital photography in the form of thousands of photo-shopped digital images that he gave away to families for nothing in return. He would help anyone who would ask, and sometimes those who didn’t ask.

Dad always, always, had a plan for everything and the discipline to work the plan to the end. He had a “No-Victim mentality. He never looked for an excuse when things didn’t go as planned…he looked for a way to change the situation by developing a new, better plan. He “owned” his situation. Dad had Grit. He was a man who was once electrocuted and fell of the roof of our house only to tell the attending EMT’S “you can leave now.” A man that refused anesthesia for major dental work, and after hernia surgery not only went to work the next day but passed the elevator and took the stairs to his office. And his kids noticed…and we learned. You get up and you go to work. Even when it’s hard, even when you’re hurting. You do what must be done.

Dad always played within the rules. “Give me the rules, and I’ll play by them” he would often say…and he almost always won the game, never stepping outside the guidelines, He taught us how to win the right way, and how to lost the right way, a rarity these days.

He loved being a part of his tight-knit Bethlehem family, but also loved being an individual, and was comfortable going against the grain when he felt he was right. It wasn’t uncommon for people to thank him after a group discussion for saying what others were often too timid to say. He was just fine playing the role of the contrarian.

All these virtues still don’t tell the most important part of Dad’s story. Ultimately, his legacy centers around providing for and loving his family. We were always his focus. His family was his first priority in every plan he created….from where he and Mom chose to live and raise us, raising us here at Bethlehem, the friends they made, the jobs he sought out, the vacations we took, ALL were intentionally planned with his family at the center of the decision. And, he loved our Mom dearly with all his heart. In his last years, he thanked her every day for taking such good care of him, as he knew how much he needed her.

He loved others with intensity as well. If you were ever fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of a Gene Koch hug, you felt like you were the most important person in the world, and you walked away with bruises. He would never settle for a peck on the cheek. He could have a tough exterior, but at his core he was remarkably kind, a “pushover” you could say, especially if you were a child. Even those with whom he had distinct differences in beliefs could feel his love. I don’t ever remember Dad saying he hated anyone…ever. He set such high standards for himself on so many things that frankly, we struggled many times to meet those standards. During those times when we thought we might not be meeting his expectations we ALWAYS knew that he loved us and was proud of us because he told us so…and more importantly he SHOWED us so…frequently. We know now that that’s the way Dad intended it…simply to help us get the best out of ourselves and to make the most of the talents God gave us. It’s not what he said, it what he did to set the example for us. It was all part of his plan, you might say, one he executed quite well.

Hear the words of Scripture: “In His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So, if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And, if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.” Romans 12N6-13

So, last Sunday when he went home to be with his Father, I know Jesus looked at him and said, “Well done my child.” So, farewell Dad until we meet again. You are and always will be our Rock. You will be in our thoughts and hearts every day.

ADAM’S TRIBUTE FOR GENE BY ADAM AKIN

Ooohhhh George….Our Grandpa

No, I didn’t say his name incorrectly…it’s simply the nickname that he’d assign to any given grandson if our actual name didn’t slide immediately from the tip of his tongue. More times than not, it would end up sounding something like “Ah-A-Uh-Ah-George!” and somehow, I think we always knew who it was he was actually trying to talk to.

He loved so much…not just his family, but genuinely everyone he had a relationship with, whether it was friends from church, our friends, grandparents, and parents of our teammates and classmates, it really didn’t matter. If you TRULY knew Gene Koch, then you were likely close enough for me to say that he loved you too.

He was the epitome of a role model to us, the living example of a leader…one of those people that just always seemed to do the right thing simply because it was the right thing to do. While that sounds so simple, we all know it’s hardly ever that easy.

Gene Koch was a chameleon, and while I know that most of the time, that title is given a negative connotation, I honestly don’t think I could assign a more endearing term. If you needed him to be a friend, that’s what he was. If you needed him to be a computer technician, that’s what he was. If you needed him to be a financial advisor…a photographer, as counselor, that’s what he was. But, most importantly, especially for my younger brother, Aaron, if you needed him to be the father you never truly had, that’s EXACTLY what he was. Gene Koch was whatever he needed to be FOR YOU, and regardless of what it was, he was the best you were going to find at it.

Some of our fondest memories with our grandpa include cane pole fishing, camping, bike rides, Disney World (with a fanny pack full of film), educational spring break trips, relaxing on the back porch and eating burnt bags of popcorn that we’re now convinced he only liked because he knew he had gotten his money’s worth by leaving no kernel un-popped!

STORIES:
1) Andy Smith at a Pate game with a cigar and standing on 2 cinder blocks
2) Pit Bulls baseball team being named after him “Dog quote”
3) Driving me to a ballgame in Clarksville through the rain with the convertible top down
4) Getting pulled over turning around in the median at my National tournament in Atlanta
MAD ABOUT LITTLE THINGS AND UNBELIEVABLY CALM ABOUT THE BIG THINGS:
5) Out wrestling upstairs and hearing his stomping footsteps coming up the steps to tear us apart for PUTTING A HOLE IN THE FLOOR
6) Me almost setting the basement on fire and his being totally calm and collected talking to me about it

He was an extremely proud man. Proud enough to pull up to a Jim Crews basketball camp, bumping Lee Greenwood on the radio with the top down, proud enough to show pictures of and brag about his beautiful granddaughters to anyone that would look and listen, proud enough to put out his chest when he presented us with our laptops for college (that had our initials engraved on the top), but as Alex reminded me the other day, never too proud to tee up a golf ball from the middle of the fairway.

We all know that the last 10 years of his life weren’t the same as his first 70, but I don’t think any of us would have traded those 10 years for anything in the world. He may not have been as sharp, he may not have been as self-sufficient, and he may not have been as physically active as he was before, but I think we all know that our Grandpa was still there with us and for us. TALK ABOUT THE WINK
Ultimately, we were all he cared about. He and Grandma have taught us the absolute meaning of unconditional love, and have done things for us that most people in this room wouldn’t even be able to comprehend, things that could never be re-paid in this lifetime, and all he ever wanted was a hug, a kiss (OR 7), and for us to “pass it on.” TALK ABOUT TRYING TO LEAVE THE HOUSE AND GRANDMA’S REACTION TO HIS CALL-BACKS.

TALK ABOUT CONVERSATION WITH SAMANTHA THAT AT THOSE TIMES IT WAS NEVER ENOUGH FOR HIM AND HOW IT NEVER WOULD’VE BEEN ENOUGH FOR US.

Thank you, Grandma for giving us those last 10 years, and for spending the previous 50 building this family and the life that YOU gave us. You will forever be his bride, and the savior of our family. We don’t deserve you, but we’re sure as hell not giving you away. We love you Grandma, and we love you Grandpa more than you ever, ever knew.