American Patriotic 10


William J. Koch

January 28, 1929 ~ June 8, 2018 (age 89)

William “Bill” Joseph Koch, 89, of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, died peacefully in the arms of his devoted daughter on Friday morning at 3:32am on June 08, 2018 in the Family Hospice & Palliative Care Lawrenceville Inpatient Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  He was born to the late Jacob Gordon and Ann Balas of Indiana, Pennsylvania, on January 28, 1929, in the borough of Cresson, Cambria County, Pennsylvania.  In 1946 he left high school to pursue his passion of defending our great nation by enlisting in the Armed Services. As Private First Class at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, he completed the course of Enlisted Specialist training as an air compressor operator. In 1947, he earned the title of Technician Fifth Grade and was deployed to Camp Hillenmeyer, Kunsan, Korea for almost two years at the beginning of the Korean Conflict. He returned to Fort Belvoir and successfully earned his Construction Equipment Mechanics certification. In 1949, he was promoted to Corporal 528th Engineer Heavy Shop Company, APO 980, U.S. Army and was deployed to Adak, Alaska. After the tour was over, he returned to Fort Belvoir Engineer School in 1950, earned the degree of Construction Machinery Operator and certified in the Dissemination of Atomic Energy Information: Indoctrination-Phase III. As a corporal in the HQ 5th Infantry Division with the United States Army, he earned a Bronze Star and the United Nations Service Medal. He was promoted and honorably discharged a Staff Sargent of the 528th Engineer Heavy Shop Company in the early 1950’s. He intended to return again to the U.S. Army. But, after meeting Anna Mary, the Army could not compete with Cupid’s arrow, and they were married August 1955 at Saint Bartholomew Church in Crabtree. They resided next to the rest of her family in Greenwald, Pennsylvania. They later moved to Greensburg and lived in the same house for the rest of their lives.   After a honeymoon in Cuba and happily married, he studied as an apprentice to become a master craftsman and artisan in granite, marble and stone under the wise and talented Italian immigrant, Mr. Elia Bononi. Bill was and will continue to be remembered as one of the preeminent stone cutter artisans in Southwestern Pennsylvania. His legacy will continue forever in the beauty of the monuments he created and left behind. Take a walk in any cemetery in the Greater Pittsburgh, Laurel Highlands and surroundings areas and without realizing, you will be admiring his work. As a stone artisan and cutter, he memorialized thousands with his detailed and creative work of sandblasting monuments and grave stones. His enthusiasm for sandblasting and cutting stone into timeless and forever lasting artwork was his reason for living; but ultimately responsible for his demise. After 66 years of unprotected breathing and eating the microscropic bi-products of marble and granite sandblasting, his lungs suffered the dire consequences. Bill was known for his storytelling, love of birds, and always proud of his big Cadillac! He reminisced often of his time oversees. He was talented inventor and gifted with a quick wit and kept us rolling in the aisles at his jokes, songs, and animated stories. We tagged him as a cross between Einstein and actor-comedian Walter Matthau. He adored time fishing with grandchildren and searching with them for ice cream in his little “MG”.  He was preceded in death by Anna Mary (Yantos) Koch; his wife of 51 years. Later, he was preceded in death by Louise (Miller) Fenton; his beloved companion of 10 years. He is survived by his daughter, Melinda Ann (Koch Cimba) Clark, her husband Charles Kenneth Clark of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, and his son, Christopher William Koch of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Bill was the loving and proud grandfather of Olivia Melinda (Cimba) Recker, husband Dr. Matthew Jacob Recker, Collin Richard Cimba, Nicole Elizabeth Koch, Alexandra Leigh Koch, Samantha Christine Koch, step-grandfather of Tracey Lee Clark Gill, husband Anthony Jerome Gill and great-grandfather of Graham Clark Gill. Also survived by sister-in-law Barbara Ann (Yantos) Volek, husband Stanley, and brother-in-law Andrew Yantos, (late Elizabeth). Special thanks to the staff at Shadyside Hospital and Family Hospice; who worked easing Bill’s anxiety and provided comfort to him during his final days.  Relatives and friends are invited to celebrate the life of Bill, Friday, June 15, 2018 from 2 to 8 p.m. in the Clement L. Pantalone Funeral Home, Inc. 409 W. Pittsburgh Street, Greensburg, PA 15601, (724) 837-0020.  Parting prayers will be held in the funeral home Saturday, June 16, 2018 at 9:15a.m., followed by a Catholic funeral Mass at 10:00 a.m., at Saint Bartholomew Church, 2538 Route #119, Crabtree, Pennsylvania 15624 with Fr. Justin Matro, OSB, celebrating.  Interment with full Military Honors will follow at Saint Clair Cemetery, 944 Saint Clair Way, Greensburg, Pennsylvania 15601.  In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Surgicorps International; a Pittsburgh organization close to our hearts. Visit to make a contribution in memory of William J. Koch.  The family of William J. Koch has entrusted his care to the Pantalone Funeral Home, Inc., Greensburg.  To share your memories and photos, offer your condolences, or for directions, please visit us at Natale N. Pantalone, Supervisor.

Donations may be made to:

Surgicorps International
3392 Saxonburg Blvd, Glenshaw, PA 15116
Tel: 1-412-767-4185

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