Al (Allan) Koch, 75, considered one of the greatest basketball players in Cedar County history, died of cancer on Sunday, August 17, 2019 in Castle Pines, Colorado. A Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, October 13, 2019 at 1:30 PM, Fry Funeral Home, Tipton, with the Rev. Ronald Lashmit officiating. A time of sharing memories with coffee and cookies will be held in the Tipton VFW following the memorial service. Online condolences may be shared at www.fryfuneralhome.com
Koch was a basketball giant at Tipton High School in the early 1960’s before going on to star at Iowa State University in Ames. A 1962 graduate of THS, he averaged 27.5 points per game in basketball as a senior and scored 47 points against Maquoketa. He scored 605 points in 1962 and was a first team forward All-State in his senior year. At Iowa State he was a three-year letter winner and an All-Big 8 performer, scoring 1,000 points in three seasons, the third highest total at that time. He was the first Cyclone to be named a two-time Academic All-Conference selection.
In 2008 he was inducted into the Iowa High School Basketball Hall of Fame and in 2010 he was inducted into the Cedar County Sports Wall of Fame. While Koch was an outstanding athlete, he was also an excellent student and after graduating from Iowa State he earned advanced degrees, including a Ph.D. in 1970 in geology from the University of Washington. He went on to a 30-year career as a geologist with Mobil Oil (now Exxon Mobil), from 1970 to 2000. He worked across the country and globally, including having studied volcanoes in Guatemala. He became associated with the Cherokee Ranch and Castle in 2003 as a volunteer and became fully engaged by founding the Cherokee Ranch Science Institute in 2013. He retired several years later.
Koch was proud of his accomplishments on the basketball court, but he knew the success was not his alone at THS. His contributing teammates included Myron Holden, Larry Hodgden, George Pinnell, Vaught Butterbrodt, Alan Rice, Larry Geadelmann, Ron Werling and others. Yet it is acknowledged that no one achieved as much success as Al Koch playing basketball at a Division I school out of Cedar County.
Al Koch, son of Viola Wilke Koch, 100, West Liberty and the late Marvin Koch (May 16, 1999), is survived by his wife, Heather; two children, Mark and Tara; and three brothers, David, Rancho Palos Verde, Calif.; Steve, Frankfort, Ky.; and Harlan, Tipton.