Charles (Charlie) Koch (2/67) (Ray Elder, 2/67 and Naracoorte Herald 27 March 2014)
We were all very saddened to hear of the death of Charlie Koch on 20 December 2013. All associated with OTU, and particularly his 2/67 classmates, extend our deepest sympathy to his lovely wife Julie and to his children Charles, Louis and Alice and other family members.
Charles Guthrie August Koch, of “Tallageira”, near Frances in the South Australian just over the Victoria border, will be remembered as a generous, involved member of the local community. Born on 11 May 1946 to Charles August and Beryl (nee Guthrie), Charles died on 20 December 2013, aged 67.
Charlie started primary school at the Catholic Convent in Naracoorte until the house at
Tallageira was finished in 1952 after which he transferred to Frances Primary School. At age
11 he went to boarding school at Rostrevor College in Adelaide – where he went through to leaving honours in 1962. He won a Commonwealth Scholarship to take him through university, but decided to return to the family farming property at Tallageira.
Charlie was another winner in the National Service ballot and arrived at Puckapunyal with the second intake of 1967. He was selected to attend OTU with the ‘premier class’ of 2/67. Charlie immediately stood out as one of the leading Cadets and was elevated to Sergeant in the Senior Class. Graduating on 9 October 1967, Charlie was sixth in his class. (Sgt Koch seen on the left of photo).
He was posted to 6 RAR at Lavarack Barracks in
Townsville as a Platoon Commander where, according to his fellow younger officers from OTU and those “other places”, he really enjoyed himself. 6 RAR had just returned from its first tour of Vietnam. While he volunteered to go to Vietnam he was lucky enough not to be sent. In June 1968 Charles was posted to 2 RTB at Puckapunyal where he finished his ‘time’.
Upon completion of National Service, Charlie returned to the farm, spending his free time playing tennis and football for Border Districts where he became a premiership ruckman. In
1970 he met Julie Porter, (the pretty young teacher who came to Frances Primary School), marrying her three years later on 1 June 1973 at Rostrevor College Chapel. Their first child, Charlie, was born in 1974, Louis followed in 1975 before daughter Alice came along in 1978.
Under Charlie’s leadership the family business adopted the latest technology and developed from a predominately grazing property into a diverse mixed farming enterprise involved in large scale cropping, wool, fat lambs and cattle. The business grew substantially via the acquisition of neighbouring properties. He joked that he
just kept acquiring more houses.
Charlie was involved in local affairs being on the Shire of
Kowree Council from 1978-95, including as president in
1987 and 1988. He was instrumental in the establishment of the MacKillop Farm Management Group and also the White Clover Growers Association. As the years passed Charles was involved in a lot of local organisations – in fields including sports, education, farming and local government – and gave generously to important community causes, particularly Naracoorte Hospital.
Later in life Charles and Julie became interested in camping and spent holidays travelling around Australia. They attended the 2/67 Class reunion at Scheyville and also the recent
National Reunion and enjoyed a great time on both occasions.
A respected member of the community and well-liked by everyone he met, Charles was farewelled at a service at St Thomas Aquinas Church in Naracoorte on December 27, 2013. Charlie Koch will be remembered fondly as a friend, a bloody good bloke, a true gentleman, a gentle giant who could be serious when required and a very handy Aussie Rules ruckman.