GILLETTE — Richard (Rick) Alvin Koch, age 69, of Gillette, Wyoming died in Billings, Montana on Friday, August 2, 2019 after a long battle with ALS. Rick was born on September 20, 1949 in Flandreau, South Dakota. He was the oldest son of the late Harvey and Martha Koch and was the fifth of eight children. He and his family farmed the Koch Homestead in Sherman, South Dakota, where the family continues to farm today.
Rick completed grammar school in Sherman, then moved on to high school in the nearby town of Garretson. After graduating from high school in 1967, he went on to a vocational-technical school in Pipestone, Minnesota where he studied agricultural banking and carpentry. Rick married Patricia Anderson in February of 1969 and the couple moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota where he worked for Western Airlines. Eventually Rick moved his family back to the Koch farm, where he tried to follow in his Father’s footsteps. Unfortunately, times were tough in farming, and he was forced to look elsewhere to support his growing family. Rick and Patricia had four children together; Anthony, Barry, Camron, and Nicole. Rick and Patricia eventually divorced in 1982. Later, Rick married Candy Wrenn. They divorced several years later.
In 1974, the family moved to Gillette where Rick went to work in the oilfield. Later, he worked for Belle Ayr coal mine before moving on to P & H. Rick spent the later part of his career traveling around the country as a certified welder. His Ford truck took him from Florida to New Mexico to the state of Washington and back during the 1990’s and early 2000’s. As he travelled around the country he perfected his craft. Many times he was able to complete projects and solve welding problems others thought impossible. Rick’s tenacity and perseverance would always find a way. His last welding position before retiring in 2016 was with Esco, in Wright.
One of his greatest passions was restoring old tractors. He spent a great deal of time searching for hard-to-find parts, traveling to far-away places to retrieve them, and finally repairing and tuning his tractors until they ran like new.
Richard is survived by his children, Anthony Koch, Camron (Vince) Davis, Nicole (Tony) Merchen, along with several sisters and brothers: Karen (Jim) DeWitte of Sioux Falls, SD, Sondra (Norm) Feldman of Sioux Falls, SD, Marsha (Lyle) Songstad of Fargo, ND, Elline (Terry) Satrang of Rapid City, SD, JoAnn (Jim) Keyser of Valley Springs, SD, William-Bill (Bonnie) Koch of Sherman, SD, and Paul (Karen) Koch of Sherman, SD.
He was grandfather to seven grandchildren: Veronica Koch, Devan Douglas, Steven Koch, Clayton Koch, Brandon Koch, Morgan Merchen, and Baiden Luderman. He also had three great-grandchildren, Alina, Mia, and Arlo Bronson.
Rick was preceded in death by his son Barry Koch and his parents, Harvey and Martha Koch.
A memorial service will be held at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church on Saturday, August 10, 2019 at 11 am. A luncheon will be served at the church afterwards.