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Nicholas Frank Koch

La Junta, Colorado

03/19/1951 - 01/05/2021

Nicholas F. “Nick” Koch, 69, of Cheraw, Colorado, died January 5, 2021 at Memorial Central Hospital in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Nick was born March 19, 1951, the son of Sylvester and Dorothy Mae Mergenmeier Koch. He attended school in Baileyville and graduated from B&B as the valedictorian on June 11,1969. He received an appointment to West Point Military Academy but declined this honor and joined the USAF. His Basic Training, and long military career started at Lackland Air Force Base (AFB), San Antonio, Texas.

After basic training, he attended Aircraft Maintenance Specialist school, C-130 Crew Chief Technical School at Sheppard AFB, Wichita Falls, Texas. His first permanent duty station was Forbes AFB, Topeka, Kansas where he served as an Assistant Crew Chief on C-130E aircraft in the fall of 1969. In mid-1970 he was sent to a Special Operations School at Lockbourne AFB in Columbus, Ohio. In October 1970, he reported to the 16th Special Operations Squadron in Ubon, Thailand where he became the Crew Chief for the AC-130A Gunship – Ghost Rider. His Gunship saw heavy action during the Vietnam conflict and routinely flew missions over the Ho Chi Minh trail.

In September 1971, he returned home and married Ann Baker in Emporia, KS before being stationed at Dyess AFB, Abilene, TX. While at Dyess AFB he was assigned to the 463d Tactical Air Command where he once again worked on C-130E aircraft and performed two 75-day temporary duty assignments to Europe — one to England and one to Germany. After his second return from Europe, he prepared for his final permanent change of station to Cannon AFB, Clovis, New Mexico where he worked in Maintenance Job Control for F-111 aircraft. He was discharged as a SSgt (E-5) in June of 1973.

While in the Air Force he performed military service in: Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Ohio, Thailand, Philippines, Guam, Midway, Okinawa, Wake Island, Adak Alaska, Washington State, Canada, Iceland, Portugal, Germany, England, Spain, France, Italy, Florida, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico.

After his discharge from the Air Force, he utilized the GI Bill and attended Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS where he received a Bachelor’s of Science and later a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering. He successfully passed his Engineer-in-Training test in the fall of 1977 and his Professional Engineering (PE) test in the spring of 1982. On June 6, 1983, he received a Direct Commission as an Ensign (0-1) in the United States Navy Reserve Civil Engineer Corps. His first Navy Reserve assignment was the Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of Reserve Naval Construction Force Support Unit 2 (RNCFSU-2), Seabee Detachment B, Pueblo, Colorado. Two years later he was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade (0-2) and became the Detachment OIC for the combined Pueblo and Colorado Springs detachment with 120 Seabees. A year later, he became the Equipment Officer and Embarkation Officer for RNCFSU-2 and on July 1, 1987, he was promoted to Lieutenant, LT, (0-3). After his promotion, he served as the Training Officer (S-2) and Alpha Company Commander for NCFSU-2 before becoming Delta Company Commander for Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 17 (NMCB-17). His next assignment was the NMCB-17 Operations Officer (S-3) for the 650 person Seabee Battalion. He was then promoted to Lieutenant Commander, LCDR, (04) on July 1, 1994 and received an assignment as a Facilities Plans Officer to the Joint Task Force Contingency Engineering Management (JTFCEM) Detachment B, Pacific Command. Once again was promoted to Commander, CDR, (0-5) on July 1, 1999 and remained with his unit until he was mobilized on October 1, 2001.

While on Reserve Duty he performed active-duty service in: Laos, Thailand, Republic of Palau, islands of Kayangel and Peleliu, Okinawa, Japan, island of Taiwan, Hong Kong, Alaska, New York, California, Arizona, Mississippi, Missouri, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Minnesota, Washington State, Florida, Washington D.C., Illinois, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Hawaii, island of Diego Garcia, and some other islands. Became Qualified as a Seabee Combat Warfare Specialist on October 17, 1992, and a Level Ill Certified Contingency Engineer in September 2007.

After the foreign attack on our World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, then Commander   (0-5) Koch was mobilized on Ann and his 30th wedding anniversary. He supported Operation Noble Eagle as a Contingency Engineer outside the continental United States with a Top Secret Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) security clearance. He was later promoted to Captain, CAPT (0-6), on September 1, 2004, an achievement he was very proud of.

His second mobilization was on August 28, 2005, to support Operation Enduring Freedom with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency located in the Pentagon. In this important role he served as the Program Manager for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and High Energy Explosives.

His third and final mobilization on occurred January 18, 2007 when he served in Kuwait as the country engineer – US Army’s Area Support Group Engineer for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In total, he served close to three years of mobilized active duty in the United States Navy.

While in the Navy he performed military operations in: Hawaii, Japan, Republic of Singapore, Diego Garcia, Philippines, California, Oklahoma, Washington D.C., Virginia, Canada, North Carolina, New Mexico, Mississippi, Argentina, Tennessee, New York, Maine, and Kuwait. He retired in March of 2011 with 32 years of military service.

 

Before moving to Colorado, he and Ann lived in Texas, New Mexico, Kansas and Connecticut. In 1982 they settled in the small farming and ranching town of Cheraw Colorado. There he built up, owned and operated, a small irrigated family farm/ranch where he raised many different exotic animals including; Black Buck Antelope, European Fallow deer, Japanese Sika deer and many other animals over its 38 years of operation. He was a member of the Arkansas Valley Water Board in Pueblo, CO, the American Legion of Axtell, KS, Our Lady of Guadeloupe St Patrick’s Catholic Church, City Council of Cheraw, Mayor pro-temp of Cheraw and volunteer fireman for Cheraw. His hobbies included, farming, welding, construction and spending time with his children and grandchildren all while continually challenge his more than fifty nieces and nephews. He was very proud of his engineering background and was always willing to help build and design things for anyone in need.

Nick leaves behind his wife of 49 years, Ann; children, Joseph Koch of Denver CO, Ronald Koch of Oxford, MI, Jacob (and his wife Cynthia) Koch of Henderson, NV, Margaret Williams of Landsdale, PA; brothers, Jerry, Charles, Greg (“Beaver”), and Tom (“Bones”), all of Baileyville; sisters, Deb Warchuck of Ruth, MI, Annette Wietharn of Overland Park, Mary Wietharn of St. Mary’s, Elizabeth Stallbaumer of Axtell and Stella Reeder of Topeka; grandchildren Kory, Trenton and Dominic Williams, Calvin, Annabel and Genesis Koch; 1 great-grandchild Camden Williams; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his father, Sylvester, on March 16, 1970, his mother, Dorothy Mae “Dot” Koch on June 17, 2019; siblings, Peter M. Koch on February 13, 2008 and Rosalie “Rosie” Ann Koch Haverkamp on October 19, 2009; and a nephew, Jeremiah Haverkamp, on May 3, 1987.

A rosary will be prayed at 10:30 A.M. on Saturday January 9, 2021 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Baileyville.

Mass of Christian burial will be on Saturday Morning at 11:00 A.M. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Baileyville. Burial will be in the Church Cemetery with Military Honors.

MASK IS REQUIRED AND A MUST.

 

 

A rosary will be prayed at 10:30 A.M. on Saturday January 9, 2021 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Baileyville.

 

MASK IS REQUIRED AND A MUST

Mass of Christian burial will be on Saturday Morning at 11:00 A.M. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Baileyville. Burial will be in the Church with Military Honors.

 

MASK IS REQUIRED AND A MUST

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12 Comments

  1. Alan Feldkamp on January 7, 2021 at 3:42 pm

    Our sympathy to the Nick Koch family and all the extended Koch relations. Nick was a good man, a valued veteran and USN Captain, excellent USDA engineer and a friend and fellow athlete to many of us while growing up in Baileyville. Thoughts and prayers go out to all of you in this difficult time. From all the Conrad & Rita Feldkamp families, Alan, Duane (HS classmate ’69), Loren and Brian.

  2. Elaine M Manahan on January 7, 2021 at 11:07 pm

    Nick will be missed… One of the most caring, sharing classmates of mine while growing up in Baileyville, Kansas.
    Our heartfelt sympathy from the Wassenberg family.
    May he rest in Peace with memories of old songs Amen——- Elaine Manahan Wassenberg

  3. Mary Ann Kramer on January 8, 2021 at 9:44 am

    My deepest sympathies to the family!
    -Mary Ann Kramer

  4. Debbie Stallbaumer on January 8, 2021 at 12:05 pm

    Tom and I send our deepest sympathy. Nick was a good guy, and I remember him from being in a class in high school with him. We especially want you to know we greatly appreciate his service to our country.
    Debbie Stallbaumer (B and B class of ’71)

  5. Doug and Cindy Howe on January 8, 2021 at 4:07 pm

    So sorry for your loss Ann. We will keep you and your family in our prayers.

  6. Lois and Jody Kuckelman on January 8, 2021 at 7:23 pm

    Our heartfelt condolences to all of Nick’s immediate family, brothers and sisters, extended family members. He certainly served his family and country well, and will be missed.

  7. Heather Estrada on January 8, 2021 at 10:43 pm

    My heart felt condolences to Mr. Koch’s strong, warm, and loving family. May the numerous memories of life provide smiles in these difficult days.

  8. Bruce & Judy Larkin on January 9, 2021 at 2:58 pm

    Judy and I wish to extend our sympathy to the Koch family. His career was very impressive and he has made the Baileyville community proud of his accomplishments.

  9. Joyce (Koch) Nietfeld on January 9, 2021 at 6:22 pm

    Sending our sympathy to Nicks family, bothers and sisters. Hope you find peace in the memories you have as a family.
    Growing up in a large family also I know what a blessing it was to always have those siblings.. Even when we may not of had all the material things other families may have had ,we had the treasure of always having that family unit there for us. We had enough siblings to play kick ball, soft ball, fox and geese, and made up games and rules that we only understood. Whether it was swinging from ropes in an old barn shooting BB guns or catching lighting bugs at night we always had a friend.
    Hope Nick’s memories stay alive in each of you.

  10. Robert Wheeler on January 12, 2021 at 5:37 pm

    I served with Captain Nick Koch in the Navy Seabees. He was the consummate leader who brought out the best in his troops.
    My condolences to the Koch family on the passing of this man who loved his family, his country, and be missed by the people who loved and respected him.

    SKCM(SCW) Robert J Wheeler, USN (Ret)

  11. GERALD A. KISSINGER on January 16, 2021 at 11:40 am

    I was fortunate to serve with Captain Nick Koch in the United States Navy Seabees. He was a meticulous mentor and leader to many of us who were in his care and under his tutelage. He explained “tasking” so that there were no questions of what our Mission was, as well as, he was a man who knew how to take care of “his troops”.
    My condolences to all of the Koch family on the passing of this superior gentleman, who will be missed by the people who loved and respected him. Thank you for sharing him with all of us.

    Steelworker Chief (SCW) Gerald A. Kissinger, USN (Ret)

  12. Construction Electrician 1st. Steven E. Ransom USN( Ret) on January 16, 2021 at 3:35 pm

    I was fortunate to service with Nick both in SU2 and 17th battalion, i remember when we were at Camp Ripley back in 1988 and Nick was in charge of the squad we would be out attacking the two battalions in snow middle of the night, a couple days later hearing him joke i got to go and see the Admiral, so much for me going to make LCDR, but it did not stop him to a great career. He was a great leader and one person i was happy to know in my career. Our condolences to Nick’s family and know we will be miss by us all. FAIR WINDS AND FOLLOWING SEAS Captain.

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