Pat Koch: Vision Lost with Passing of Two Sons
Pat Koch smiles when she recalls her son Philip John’s days in drama, while he was a student in the 1983 class at Heritage Hills High School in Lincoln City, Ind.
Philip, standing 6 feet 4 inches in height, appeared in the school’s production of “Oklahoma” and delivered the line, “I was small once.” The audience roared with laughter. “Philip always said he could deliver a line,” his mother said.
As reported by the Evansville Courier-Press, Philip — who was also the son of the late William A. Koch Sr. — had a serious side as well, as the chief executive officer of HO HO HOldings, LLC, which is the parent company of Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort, the Santa Claus Christmas Store, Kringle Place Shopping Center and Santa’s Land LLC.
Philip Koch died unexpectedly April 9 at Deaconess Hospital. His wife, Carol, said the cause of death was brain trauma, caused by cardiac arrest.
His death followed that of his brother, Will A. Jr., 48, president of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, by accidental drowning in his family’s swimming pool on June 13, 2010.
In a recent interview, Pat Koch — whose efforts to mentor young people and to keep Holiday World wholesome and family-oriented are legendary — described the deaths of her sons as “the town’s biggest losses.”
She said, “Will passed away, and now three years later Philip … It’s impossible to replace that kind of vision that both had.
“Will was more for the continuation of the family legacy of Holiday World.
“Philip was more about the continuation of growing the town.
“Their passion and love for the community stemmed from their grandfather, Louis J. Koch, Santa Claus Land founder, who said, ‘We have to do something for children.’”
Pat Koch said she wants to reassure the public that the Koch family will continue operating and growing Santa Claus.
“I can see my grandchildren, as they get older, stepping in and taking bigger roles,” she said.
Philip Koch was highly regarded in the national campground and recreational vehicle industry for his success in growing Lake Rudolph Campground and RV Resort into one of the nation’s largest.
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