Obituary: John Koch
JOHN KOCH 1944 – 2020 John Koch died June 12 at his home in Aspen after a short illness. John was born September 2, 1944, in Madison, Wisconsin. When asked where he was from, John said, “the west”. He lived in Montana, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico and Colorado. He loved all the things the west had to offer, most especially hiking and skiing. He attended college in Fort Collins, Boulder and Albuquerque. While in New Mexico, he ski patrolled at Taos Ski Valley and helped construct the tram at Sandia Peak in Albuquerque.
John moved to Aspen in 1973 and worked at Snowmass as a Ski Patrolman and somehow acquired the nickname “Johnny Sawpit” often shortened to Sawpit or even Pit. He loved the Snowmass Ski Patrol and made lifelong friends there. John was an Aspen Volunteer firemen in the 1970’s and 80’s and relished driving the fire trucks.
John married Kathryn in 1978 and acquired a step daughter, Megan. John adored Megan and subsequently his step grandchildren, Henry, Amelia and Sam Twitchell. John was an ardent supporter of all sports that Henry, Sam and Amelia participated in and attended almost every Basalt Longhorn football game, including away games. I once asked Henry if he could hear John cheering and Henry said, “everyone can hear John”. John also attended plays and choir concerts of the Twitchells.
During the last twenty years of John’s life, he was proud to work on the Aspen Mountain lift maintenance crew. He found the mechanics of lift operation endlessly fascinating and would explain those mechanics in detail to anyone who might listen.
John will be missed by his family and friends for his quiet kindnesses, his inquisitive nature, and his joy at being with people he loved. He has gone to a place where ski boots don’t hurt. No service is planned at this time. Donations may be made in John’s memory to Mountain Rescue.