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Obituary: Koch, John Richard

Age 83

KOCH, John Richard July 8, 1929 - April 8, 2013 John was born in Spokane, WA and lived on a farm in Rockford, WA until his parents, Percy and Dolores Koch, moved the family to Grande Ronde, OR, where they owned and operated the Lost Prairie Dairy until moving to California, then back to the family farm in Rockford. John attended high school there and after graduation he attended Cheney (now EWU) for two years. He enlisted in the Air National Guard and served as a mechanic at Shepards Grove, England. He then went to Naval Flight School at Pensacola, FL, graduating at Corpus Christi, TX in July 1955, receiving his Navy wings, commission in the Marine Corps and marrying is wife, Jean Kienbaum. John and Jean had three children, the loves of their life, Murray, Kevin and Shawnee. They led a full and adventuresome life together for 57 years. John served as a Marine pilot for over 24 years, seeing combat in Vietnam in 1966-67. He retired in 1974 as a Lt. Col., moving back to the family farm in Rockford. He flew for Spokane Airways for 25 years, spending summers flying for Gulf Air, Yakutat, AK, returning in the fall to harvest with Danny Sullivan. He built a Rutan Long-EZ experimental aircraft, as did his student Ed Roman of St. Maries, ID. The two planes left Spokane Airways, flew around the world completing their record breaking flight in Sacramento, CA in 1987, influencing Dick and Tonya Rutan to fly their Long-EZ around the world in 1997. Retirement found John enjoying the farm, hunting, fishing, kayaking, snowmobiling and flying. His last few years were marred in dementia, but he continued to make many friends, telling of his adventures and exploits. He enjoyed meeting friends at Coeur d’Alene Casino and going to the Wellness Center at Plummer, ID to exercise. John is survived by his wife, Jean Koch; son, Kevin (Yolanda) Koch; daughter, Shawnee Koch; sister, Laurel Koch Beale and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Percy and Dolores Koch; son, Murray Koch; brother, Philip Koch and sisters, Dorothy Crewse and Janice Eckhardt. We are grateful for all the years of care he received from Rockwood Urology (Denise and Louk), his care at Valley Hospital, Sullivan Park Skilled Care, Sacred Heart Medical Center (especially 7 South) and Hospice of Spokane. A Memorial Service will be held Friday, April 19, 2013 at 2 PM at the Rockford United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, please donate to a charity of your choice or to Hospice of Spokane, PO Box 2215, Spokane, WA 99210. Please visit John’s on-line memorial at Arrangements entrusted to: