Local news

Bloomsday runner who died won co-workers’ hearts

Richard R. Bloch’s friends waited at the finish line for as long as they could Sunday.

The 47-year-old man didn’t arrive, so as the weather turned bad, the friends, who all worked at the Kampgrounds of America headquarters in Billings, left for home.

It wasn’t until they were halfway home that they learned Bloch, who moved to Billings only two months ago, had died after suffering a heart problem during Bloomsday, said Mike Gast, director of communications for KOA.

Bloch, who was the director of franchise sales and development for KOA, was running the race with his wife, Kim, when, according to witnesses, he suddenly fell around 11:15 a.m. Paramedics took him to a local hospital, where he died, said Brian Schaefer, assistant chief for the Spokane Fire Department.

Bloch leaves behind two children, a daughter in junior high and a son in fourth grade. The family recently moved to Billings from Duluth, Ga. Richard Bloch graduated from high school in Rapelje, Mont.

Bloch was part of the five-member KOA Corporate Cup team, but instead of starting with his friends, he decided to start with his wife farther back, Gast said.

“You don’t meet too many people who in the course of two months become an integral part of our family,” Gast said. “Richard did.”

The group that participated in the Corporate Cup was known as a “club within the family” at KOA, Gast said. The group often exercised and ran together.

“It’s usually a lighthearted office, but it’s very depressing today,” Gast said.

Deputy Spokane police chief and Lilac Bloomsday Association president Al Odenthal said Kim Bloch and the two children were in Spokane on Monday and would head home to Billings today. The police department has tried to put the woman in touch with race and medical officials.

“If she needs any assistance while in Spokane, we’re trying to help take some of the emotional load off her,” Odenthal said.

The cause of death is unknown, pending results from the medical examiner, though paramedics treated the case as a cardiac problem, Odenthal said.



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