Richard Raymond Koch ,87 moved to greener pastures in the early morning January 3rd, 2017 with his family by his side. He was born in Cascade County November 14, 1929, to Joseph and Caroline (Schreiner) Koch. He was one of 8 children and was raised and attended grade school in the Forest Grove community. He finished his education at Fergus High School in Lewistown graduating in 1947, continuing into the military where he found his love for Alaska. After that Dick worked as a ranch hand for several ranches in the Central Montana area, he soon then met and married the love of his live Rosemary Lee Stepp, they were united in marriage September 1955. They soon had the first of their haying crew Rita. The small family then moved over to Livingston to 8 Mile Creek in the Paradise Valley and started their cattle herd. It was here that they delivered the hay mower, Rex, hay raker, Roy, and farm hand driver, Raymond. They lived here for 11 years before the longing for the Central Montana community brought them back and they purchased the I.J. Horse Ranch east of Lewistown in 1965. It was here that they finished their haying crew, Roxanne the square baler (because Dick had modernized) RaeLynn on the mower, and Roszelle going round and round on the side delivery rake. He raised registered Hereford cattle for a time and eventually settled into Angus cattle, pigs, and sheep (to feed the coyotes).
Dick loved horses, he would often go into stories of haying, feeding with draft horses and wagons and would have his whole life if Rosemary had not made him somewhat modernize his operation. But that passion never really left him. He was very proud of his ranch and the mountain “Flat Top”. He spent many, many days riding it checking water, fences, and deciding where he would cut timber to supplement the ranch. In his later years, he still loved to drive it showing friends and relatives the beauty he saw in his place.
Before He lost his wife of 53 years in 2008 he was able to make 2 very memorable trips to Alaska and decided to give up the work in 2010. He spent his so-called retirement years going to Lewistown Livestock Auction to accumulate a small herd of cattle to keep his kids guessing, and frustrated, equipment auctions to occupy his time and driving his 1929 Ford Model A. He then started traveling with a longtime friend Beverly Kinkelaar, which he enjoyed immensely. His soon to be 50 grandchildren and great grandchildren brought him hours of joy, he dedicated a lot of time to making sure that they learned the art of pond fishing, and that the fishing ponds were there for all of the neighbor kids to use. Those big old hands set a lot of worms on hooks and untangled miles of fishing line. A kid catching a fish in his pond brought a huge smile to his face.
Dick had an insatiable appetite for company, a cold beer on a hot day, and pie, pie, pie. Actually, if it was a desert it was in his belly. He loved to see people and had a smile for everyone he encountered, never turned anyone away at the door. You never left his house without eating and having a sarsaparilla.
He is survived by children Rita (Jay) Bachler of Boyed MT, Rex (Charlotte) Koch of Bridger MT, Roy (Lisa) Koch of Lewistown, Raymond (Christine) Koch of Lewistown, Roxanne (John) Fortier of Wild Rose ND, RaeLynn (Karl) Christians of East Helena, MT, and Roszelle (Karnes) Neill of Windham, MT; one sister Eleanor Smith in Texas; 48 grandchildren, great grandchildren and all of Dick’s many nieces, nephews and friends of Central Montana
He was preceded in death by his wife Rosemary, parents Joseph and Caroline, brothers, Joseph, Walter, Gilbert Koch. Sisters Caroline Strunk, Ethelyn Duffy, and Marceline Duffy.
Funeral Liturgy for Richard (Dick) Koch will be Saturday, January 7th, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. in St. Leo’s Catholic Church with committal to follow in Mount Calvary Cemetery. A Cowboy Story telling Vigil will be Friday, January 6th, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. in the Cheadle Hall. The Cloyd Funeral Home is assisting the family.
Friends are asked to make memorials to the Central Montana Tough Enough to Wear Pink, Hospice of Central Montana or the charity of their choice and they may be left at the Cloyd Funeral Home. Condolences for the family may be posted online at www.cloydfuneralhome.com