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Robert M. Koch

Published April 30,2020

Obituary's Biography:

Robert Martin Koch, age 89, a resident of Grayslake passed away on April 29, 2020.  Robert (Bob) was born October 21, 1930.  His parents were Martin Koch and Pearl (Unison) Koch.  He was the older brother to John Gerhardt Koch, deceased.  He attended the University of Illinois at Navy Pier for 2 years and graduated from Augustana College in Rockford, IL with honors in 1952. 

His first job was at Sears, Roebuck Co. as a salesman in Plumbing and Heating.  He sold a furnace to John Enander who said Bob should be working for him.  John became Bob’s good friend and mentor, and Bob went on to become President of Standard Transformer Co. in Warren, Ohio.

Bob married his wife, Anita (Ernst) on Dec 6, 1952.  They had 4 children, Susan (John) Shannon, Cathy (Delva) Hemker, Robert (Ernst) Koch, and Jeffrey (Jill) Koch.  His son, Robert died at age 17 in 1977.  He is survived by his grandchildren (Rebecka, Kendra, Catrina, Kyle, Justin, Jack) and his great-grandchildren (Aleasha and Marissa).  Bob and Anita were married for 67 ½ years.  

Upon Anita’s retirement, Bob became a lifetime member of the Wally Byam Airstream Club.  He was an active member of Joy! Lutheran Church where he was a member of the First Lighters, a men’s Bible Study group, and Men in Motion, making beds for children who had none.  Bob was their #1 varnish-man.  He also was a member of the Joyful Vagabonds, a bible study group for men and women.  He played bridge which began as a Joy! Bridge club but became a non-sectarian club with both members from other religions and churches.    The First Lighters support a prison ministry called FIST (Former Inmates Striving Together).   For 25 years, he was a volunteer at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glenco, IL.  He loved getting his hands dirty and seeing New Life springing from the earth.

His hobbies were boating, sailing, fishing, reading, and traveling in his Airstream.  Bob and Anita travelled in all 50 states.  He was a member of the Book Club at Carillon North Community, and a member of the Young Presidents Club in Ohio (men who become corporate presidents before the age of 40).   Anita used to tell his bosses that Bob had the “smarts” and she was the charmer.

His friends are many; some are childhood friends who remain our golden friends to this day. 

Bob died peacefully in his home of a sudden complication of diabetes.  He is much loved by his friends and family who will miss him greatly.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date.  In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Joy Lutheran Church, 749 S. Hunt Club Road, Gurnee, IL 60031 https://www.joylutheran.org/

4 replies on “Robert M. Koch”

  1. Bob was such a great member of our Bible study. We loved his sense of humor and his wisdom. He always arrived at Joy! early to open the doors. Most Saturdays he brought breakfast burritos from Burger King. We were made better men for having known him. He will be sorely missed by us all.

  2. One of my earliest memory of Bob was before he
    and Anita were married…… I believe. Bob and Anita were visiting our house for a family event.
    Bob was in the living room with all the kids and was entertaining us with magic tricks!!!! Wow! I thought
    he was so special! I never knew a real “magician!”
    More memories to come…..

  3. I remember sleeping overnight at Aunt Anita and Uncle Bob’s house when I was a preteen. Uncle Bob made his back yard in Northbrook feel like a science scouting adventure! First when it got dark, he let my cousin Jeff and I crawl through a long tunnel made out of bushes with a flashlight which was a fun and exciting sensory thrill! Then he introduced me to space for the very first time by letting us see it closer up through his big 🔭 🌌🌌telescope and then discussing it with us! He was very interesting and very knowledgeable about so many things . Now that I’m a Kindergarten science teacher, I also try to make science a hands on adventure that is so interesting that the kids will remember it 45 years later too!💫😍

  4. We had such wonderful family vacations while growing up, and later, as adults, we would continue to gather with family in Arkansas. Dad enjoyed travelling, and the wonders of the natural world and taught his children to do the same.
    When I was 19, my plan was to gather 3 other gals and travel around the U.S. for half a year. Having found the crew, the next and largest obstacle was figuring out what we could afford to travel around in. The choices were scruffy, as our budgets were based on summer waitressing and pool lifesaver types of jobs. So one late night, when Dad was picking me up from work at the mall, we walked past a shiny red truck with a pickup camper in the bed parked right by the mall entrance. I eyed it with envy and walked past, when Dad suggested we look inside. Not wanting to cap the day by being arrested, I said no way. To my horror, Dad opened the passenger door, and told me to check out the inside. Figuring if we were going to be arrested anyhow, I might as well look. The truck had those cool rotating spotlights, which I had never seen on a non police vehicle before. I opened the driver side door, still looking askance for the owner who must surely be nearby; after all he hadn’t even locked his vehicle.
    Then I realized Dad was holding a set of keys out to me, and the camera I hadn’t seen in his other hand flashed.
    That trip zigzagging across the USA and Canada was the best thing I’ve ever done. Thank you, Dad, for that incredible gift and for the many, many other acts of love. I will miss you so much. Until we meet again, I carry you in my heart.

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