Charles Andrew “Charlie” Koch, 94, rural Mount Sterling, died Tuesday (April 18, 2023), at Heritage Health care facility, Mount Sterling, where he had been a patient after suffering a fall in mid-February.
He was born the last day of 1928 in the Cooperstown Township farmhouse of his parents, Raymond Joseph and Marie Ellen (Redmond) Koch. In the mid-1960s, Charlie and Norma moved their family into that farmhouse, which was their home for the rest of their days.
He attended the one-room Myers School, just across the road from the farm, and was the last surviving member of the nine-member Class of 1947 at St. Mary’s Academy, Mount Sterling.
He married Norma Nolan on Nov. 3, 1951, in St. Mary's Catholic Church, now Holy Family, where they were dedicated and devout parishioners. Together they raised two daughters and six sons.
Norma died July 10, 2018, and for nearly five years Charlie looked forward to the day when they could be reunited. That day has arrived.
Charlie grew up on his father’s farm, and later partnered with him in their dairy operation. Years later, Charlie turned over the operation of the farm to his sons Philip and Kenneth, who had worked with him for decades. It was messy and exhausting work, with plenty of stress, but he loved it, especially working with his cows. When he looked at old photos or watched home movies showing former members of his herd, he could immediately identify many by name.
Long after he technically “retired,” Charlie helped on the farm as much and for as long as he could. Even when he was pushing 90 and physically limited after suffering a life-threatening fall in 2006, he enjoyed going out and feeding the calves.
He was the recipient of several agriculture-related awards, including Quincy Herald-Whig Farm Family of the Year and the Heritage Award from the Western Illinois Dairy Association. An early adapter of conservation practices, he was willing to try innovations that might conserve resources and make the farm more efficient.
Despite his long hours on the farm, he committed to serving his church, community and industry. He was a member of Holy Family Parish’s finance committee, its Nocturnal Adoration group and Knights of Columbus.
He was a former president of the Brown County School Board and Schuyler-Brown FS. He was a 4-H leader and active in the Mississippi Valley Holstein Club and Dairy Herd Improvement organization.
In what other free time he had, he enjoyed beekeeping, grafting fruit and nut trees, hunting morels, and building birdhouses. In their earlier years, Charlie and Norma enjoyed square dancing and playing cards.
Even to the last, Charlie remained interested in current events, from local crop reports to developments in Ukraine. He was a constant reader—magazines, newspapers and non-fiction books—and when his strength and eyesight faded, he switched to audio books.
Above all, Charlie will be remembered for his devotion to his Catholic faith, his love of family, his dedication to agriculture, his entertaining stories and jokes, and his hearty laugh.
His many survivors include son Phil (Becky) Koch, of rural Mount Sterling, and granddaughter Danielle Root; daughter Ann (Brian) Cooper of Dubuque, Iowa, and grandchildren, Kate Cooper (Will Hoyer), Andrew (Josie) Cooper, Ellen (Adam) Broich and Greg (Kristin) Cooper; son Ken (Mary) Koch, rural Mount Sterling, and grandchildren, Patrick (Erica LiBritz) Koch, Daniel (Jackie) Koch, David (Meggie) Koch and Keith (Nicole) Koch; daughter Jane (Mike) Morris of Princeton, and grandchildren, Aaron Morris, Laura Morris and Eliza (Connor) McNamara; son Dale (Barb) Koch of Chapel Hill, N.C.; son Tom (Marcy) Koch of North Mankato, Minn., and grandchildren, Corynn (Dan) Scaminace, Jamie (Chris) Rohwer, Blake (Jessi Swanoski) Koch and Evan (Alison) Koch; son Tim (Vicki) Koch of Leadville, Colo., and grandsons, Charles Koch, Joseph Koch and Matthew Koch; son John (Deborah) Koch of Evansville, Ind., and granddaughters Ashley (Clint) Caringer and Isabelle Koch.
Also surviving are his sisters Joan Zurita of Rolling Meadows and Rosalee (James) Shank of Decatur; and 30 great-grandchildren. Surviving in-laws are Marilyn (James) Wort, Tom (Judy) Nolan, Agnes (Richard) Redmond and Ruth Nolan.
Besides his beloved Norma, others preceding him in death were his brothers Donald (Marylyn), Maurice “Bill” and Robert (Betty); sisters Patricia Koch, Mary Ellen (Virgil) Ferrill and Sister M. Sara Koch O.P.; granddaughter Dawn Root Bronson; and in-laws Marguerite (Charles) Schneider, Robert Nolan and Dr. Victor Zurita.
Friends may call from 3-7 p.m. Friday at Hendricker Funeral Home, Mount Sterling, with the rosary and Nocturnal Adoration prayers to follow.
Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 22, 2023 at Holy Family Catholic Church, Mount Sterling, with burial in Mount Sterling Catholic Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to St. Mary School, Brown County Farm Bureau Foundation, Brown County Fire Protection District or a charity of the donor’s choice.
In lieu of flowers, please plant a tree or red rose bush in Charlie’s memory.
Condolences for the family may be left on line at hendrickerfuneralhome.com.
The Hendricker Funeral Home in Mt. Sterling is assisting the family with the arrangements.
To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.
St. Mary's School
Mount Sterling IL
Brown County Farm Bureau Foundation
Brown County Fire Protection District
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