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View Full Version : Will Koch, Holiday World owner and president, passes away at 48



Leo C
06-14-2010, 06:40 AM
<img src="http://www.thrillnetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/holidayworld.gif" border="0" alt="" />Will Koch, Holiday World and Splashin' Safari owner and president, passed away on Sunday evening at his home of what his family believes th... Click here to read more... (http://www.thrillnetwork.com/news/3802/park-president-will-koch-of-holiday-world-passes-on.html)

Steven
06-14-2010, 07:11 AM
I woke up, saw this, and was in shock. My prayers are with the Koch family and the Holiday World staff during this time of grief.

Leo C
06-14-2010, 07:12 AM
Wow, I just got to start to understand this park. That's pretty cool that he joined the ranks of the employees at the forefront at times. I admire a boss that can be in touch with patrons, get a real feel for things, and showing his love for what he does.

coasterqueen
06-14-2010, 07:12 AM
This is a very a sad day. We just saw the guy last weekend at Holiwood Nights. :( Will was one of the most hard-working, genuine, and kindest people I have ever met. The Koch family has always been very hands-on as far as managing the park. Will was everywhere, from helping design a coaster to running a ride to being a fill-in bass player for the Beachcombers.

I first met him in 2001 and couldn't believe how down-to-earth he was, especially being the owner of such an amazing park. That attitude as well as the park itself has had me hooked immediately. His strong work ethic, hands-on approach to everything, clear business sense, friendlieness, and customer-driven service is an example that ALL businesses should follow, not just amusement park owners. It's RARE to find that nowadays. And no matter how busy he was, he always took time to say hello and make you feel like you were part of the family visiting for the weekend. :)

I am in total shock and disbelief. He was way too young to die. :( He will be truly missed.

My prayers and with the Koch family, friends, and everyone who knew and loved him. They always treated me like family everytime I walked into their park. That is RARE, especially in today's businesses.

RIP Mr. Koch.

-Tina

GAmFanboy
06-14-2010, 07:21 AM
He passed away WAY TOO Early. I hope the Park Can Continue Being Great without Him.


I Have a Quote in times like these "A Person is Only Dead When you Stop Remembering Them"


Here's to Him. RIP.
YouTube - Angel Friend (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQI1vT2JkSg&feature=related)

Hank
06-14-2010, 07:43 AM
Thoughts & prayers to the family.

Wes
06-14-2010, 08:09 AM
It takes a lot to shock me anymore, but this was truly a shock.

Will was one of the nicest guys, park president or not that I've ever had a chance to talk to.

I can't imagine what his mom and the rest of the family are going through. They are in my prayers.

Katie
06-14-2010, 08:24 AM
We woke up via text message this morning to the news and we are both heart broken. Will always made us feel like one of his family members and today we will mourn him as one of ours. He was taken away too soon.

What a wonderful man he was and I am truly grateful for meeting him.

Brian F
06-14-2010, 09:13 AM
My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and staff.

Jimmy B
06-14-2010, 12:20 PM
I normally don't have much of an opinion on news stories, but this one I just had to spill my guts and eyes. :sadface:

Still hoping for my first trip to Holiday World some day. But this was....I can't even describe how I'm feeling right now. I always considered Will himself to be one of the park's main attractions ( a meet-and-greet attraction if you will).

I'm also worried is Holiday World even going to be the same park without him anymore? Do I even want to go to Holiday World as much now that the most important element of the park is taken away?

I hope that he is looking down at the park and looking after his guests, staff, and family members from up there.

Leo C
06-14-2010, 12:44 PM
I am so much a newbie that when I went in person to the park I admired the sprawl of the park, like something very rich was happening with this small park in a desolate part of Indiana. I hardly knew what the layout of Raven was before and I never met Mr. Koch. I always thought with the park being around since 1946 he was an old man, maybe even a man that could wear suspenders and fill in for Santa Claus himself. Not the case but evidenced by your personal accounts and pictures I sense how warm of a person he was. I hope leadership continues on strong with a touch of what he would have wanted and expected.

Wes
06-14-2010, 12:49 PM
I saw on TPR someone said Mrs. Koch is at the park today like normal. I have a lot of admiration for her.

Strangely enough I watched the Great Old Amusement Parks (PBS) special again this weekend or last week, and HW is featured. I remember them saying that Will had a brother and sister that worked at the park as well. Hopefully one of them will be able to take over to keep the park in the family. I'm sure Will had contingent plans in place.

Sad that Will will never get to see the Timberliners run. :(

Leo C
06-14-2010, 12:50 PM
Was that the tv special you showed me at the Westate?

Cuddy
06-14-2010, 01:33 PM
Wow...that is sad.

Katie
06-14-2010, 01:59 PM
If anyone wants, please friend any of us that went to HWN 2010 and we have pictures up in the albums with Will. He was beyond wonderful.

I also have on my computer his talk he had with us Friday night in the picnic grove. If anyone wants to see it, Jeff and I will be glad to post it.

Wes
06-14-2010, 02:03 PM
Was that the tv special you showed me at the Westate?

Yep.......

Chip
06-14-2010, 02:10 PM
How awful. I can't believe this. I had no idea he had diabetes. I guess these things just sneak up on you. He was a great man who truly loved life, his work and his guests. He treated us so well at HoliWood Nights. I'm so glad I got to go to that event. After my last ride on Voyage, I walked up to him and thanked him for putting on the event. He was sincere in his appreciation that I could visit (from Texas too). I said we were calling it a night, and he reached out to shake my hand. He was a real class act.

Cuddy
06-14-2010, 03:23 PM
Cedar Point has this to say: CP Mobile (http://www.cedarpoint.com/public/fun/blog/2010/6/14/We_Extend_Our_Sympathies.cfm)

I imagine other parks will follow suit.

amnesiac
06-14-2010, 04:59 PM
I still can't believe this. I just saw him at the park on Saturday!

There are pictures on facebook and a TV interview on YouTube of Pat Koch at the park today. Very moving.

Steven
06-14-2010, 06:41 PM
I saw on TPR someone said Mrs. Koch is at the park today like normal. I have a lot of admiration for her.

Strangely enough I watched the Great Old Amusement Parks (PBS) special again this weekend or last week, and HW is featured. I remember them saying that Will had a brother and sister that worked at the park as well. Hopefully one of them will be able to take over to keep the park in the family. I'm sure Will had contingent plans in place.

Sad that Will will never get to see the Timberliners run. :(

There's a picture of her out front doing what she does best on Facebook, especially in the face of tragedy...

Welcome to Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/#%21/photo.php?pid=4295277&id=35385539537)

Chip
06-14-2010, 07:33 PM
Someone on a site suggested that when they open, riding the Timberliners in the front seat by yourself. Save that other seat for Will. I think that'd be a fitting tribute.

Katie
06-14-2010, 07:45 PM
Here is what Will said to all of us that attended HWN 2010 Friday night..

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Jimmy B
06-15-2010, 01:36 AM
Maybe they could do something to celebrate his life and his impact in the industry and do a tribute or a memorial....like build a statue at the park's entrance. Whatever is done to honor him is very much deserved.

Brian F
06-15-2010, 02:17 AM
Katie- who is that devilishly handsome guy in the roller coaster print shirt sitting down at Will's right- directly opposite the camera?

Jimmy- yes you still want to go. The family has already said that the park will remain owned and run by the Koch family. I bet they won't do a statue (pretty much the only guy who has a statue in HW is Santa) But rest assured, they will do something. I'll bet a bronze plaque. The park itself stands as a monument to his vison and leadership. His father built the park, but Will built it into someplace worth going to if you're over ten years old. I'd be willing to bet that the town will do something, too. My guess is that they'll rename the main road through town after him.

Alex, I don't know if anyone else will do it, but I will. Count on it. I've already figured out how to dissuade any single riders from trying to jump in next to me. I think I'll get an ORP of it, too.

Wes, you mentioned that it's sad he never got to see the Timberliners run. He got to see the train run plenty for testing, but that's not the same as seeing his guests enjoy them. It didn't happen by HWN, but I'm hoping in the week between HWN and his passing that maybe he got a chance to ride them.

tornbretto
06-15-2010, 02:47 AM
I received this news this morning as well! I was shocked and couldn't believe it! Will was truly one of a kind. He'll be missed.

Dalee4lifefan
06-15-2010, 04:00 AM
Rest In Peace Will. You will be missed.

Brian F
06-15-2010, 08:50 AM
Indianapolis News Video | Weather Video Forecast | Sports - 13 WTHR (http://www.wthr.com/Global/category.asp?C=136236&clipId=4868323&topVideoCatNo=103348&autoStart=true)

Story from Indianapolis TV. Amazing that they got the coaster facts correct.

Katie
06-15-2010, 11:48 AM
Haha, Brian, I had forgotten that you and Lori were sitting catty-corner from us when the Kochs and Paula were speaking to us!

Our flag at the house is still flying at half-staff in his memory.

Katie
06-15-2010, 06:42 PM
Sorry for the double post, but I found this to be very strange....

Holiday World president drowned in family pool Evansville Courier & Press (http://www.courierpress.com/news/2010/jun/15/holiday-world-matriarch-greets-guests-continuity-s/?partner=popular)

Looks like he drowned in the family pool. Very sad.

raser
06-15-2010, 11:42 PM
I only met Will one time and he exuded fun and energy. My concolences to the Koch's and all those at Holiday world...

Brian F
06-16-2010, 01:27 AM
I suggested to Paula that they run the first train after opening every day with the front seat empty (on all three coasters) I also suggested that they do that for Holiwood Nights