Roy Swartz Koch, 96, of Goshen, died at home, Saturday. He was the beloved husband of Martha (Horst) Koch for nearly 68 years. He was a loving and encouraging husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
Roy was born near St. Jacobs, Ontario, Sept. 6, 1913, to Charles and Minerva (Swartz) Koch. The seventh of 10 children he is survived by a sister Gladys Martin, Elmira, Ontario.
He married Martha Horst Aug. 8, 1942. She survives along with six children, Robert (Linda Epp) Koch, Colorado Springs, Arlene (Ken) Holdeman, Bloomington, Minn., Richard (Rhonda Peck) Koch, Goshen, Rodney Koch, Salem, Ore., Jane (Stanley) Oyer, Middlebury, Sheila (Millard) Graber, Goshen; 18 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by six brothers; two sisters; and granddaughter, Joyce Graber.
A graduate of the University of Western Ontario, at Waterloo, and Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, he was a churchman all his adult life, ordained as a pastor in 1936, at age 23, and as a bishop in 1951. In addition to pastoring congregations for more than 34 years, he was a teacher, administrator, writer, editor and development officer. He preached well into his 90s.
In Ontario, he pastored St. Jacobs Mennonite Church from 1936 to 1957. From 1957 to 1970 he served at South Union Mennonite Church in West Liberty, Ohio. He also filled the bishop’s role in Ontario and Ohio, overseeing and mentoring. While pastoring in Ontario, he also taught at the Ontario Mennonite Bible School and Institute in Kitchener during the ’40s and ’50s, serving as its principal from 1952 to 1957. He frequently travelled as a speaker, evangelist and story-teller, in Canada and the States. He wrote numerous articles for church and secular papers, served as editor of the “ministers’ section” of the Builder, and of the Mennonite Renewal Services Newsletter. He wrote several pamphlets and edited the book-length “My Personal Pentecost” with his wife for Herald Press in 1977.
He filled many posts as administrator and committeeman while living in Ohio and, after 1970, in Indiana. He served as Moderator of the Ohio and Eastern Conference in the 1960s, and as Moderator of Mennonite General Conference from 1963-1965. He served on the Mennonite Church’s Board of Missions, Board of Education and Commission for Christian Education. In the early 1970s, he was Indiana-Michigan Conference Minister, and then development director for Bethany Christian High School in Goshen. He was subsequently Executive Secretary of Mennonite Renewal Services well into the 1980s.
In his 70s, he did several stints as interim pastor, and graded Bible studies of prison inmates for Gospel Echoes Team in Goshen, into his 90s.
Friends may call 6 to 8 p.m. Monday and 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at East Goshen Mennonite Church, Goshen, where a 9:30 a.m., funeral service will be held on Wednesday, with Pastor Steve Slagel officiating.
Burial will follow in Violett Cemetery, Goshen.
Memorial contributions may be made to East Goshen Mennonite Church Building Fund or East Goshen Mennonite Church, “Joyce Graber Foundation.”