Carl J. Koch
Carl J Koch, 73, of La Crosse, WI passed away on May 30, 2019 at Mayo hospital after years of treatment for prostate cancer.
He was born on June 16, 1945 in Memphis, TN. He was the second child of Joseph and Helen Koch. He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Susan.
Carl is survived by his wife Joyce, his niece Lisa Geeslin of Columbus Ga, his nephew David Harmon of Cincinatti, OH and nephew Kevin Harmon of Duluth, GA. He also has 37 nieces and nephews through his wife Joyce.
Friends and family will remember his infectious laugh, profound hope, his ability to find the good part of everything. He saw life and everything about it as a gift, enjoyed music, had Southern hospitality in his DNA. He was always willing to learn about everything from wrangling to writing, let animals/dogs teach him, faithful friend, stimulating conversationalist, provided a safe space to be vulnerable, enjoyed cooking, humble yet assertive, never had an idea that couldn’t be made into a book, a servant leader. Carl’s attitude about life can be summed up by his favorite phrase “Get er done and have fun doing it.”
Carl was a speaker, retreat leader, writer, spiritual director, and consultant on servant leadership development.
He retired in 2011 after six years as Director of Ring Lake Ranch, an ecumenical retreat center in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming [www.ringlake.org].
For thirty-eight years, Koch was a high school and then university teacher and administrator, having taught all levels from eighth graders to doctoral students.
Koch served as a senior editor and writer at Saint Mary’s Press for sixteen years. He has authored 37 books and many journal articles. Among his books are: A Popular History of the Catholic Church (Saint Mary’s Press, 1996), Journalkeeping: Exploring a Great Spiritual Practice (Sorin, 2004), Creating a Christian Lifestyle (Saint Mary’s Press, 1996), Garden of a Thousand Gates: Pathways to Prayer (Saint Mary’s Press, 1998), and John Baptist de La Salle: The Spirituality of Christian Education (Paulist, 2004). His article “Only Witnesses” was published in ABC-CLIO’s academic web text, World Religions: Belief, Culture, and Controversy.In 2014, after an inspiring pilgrimage to Assisi, Italy he wrote Leading Like Francis: Building God’s House published by New City Press. In 2017 he wrote his last book; Renewal in Sacred Wilderness: The First 50 Years of Ring Lake Ranch to honor the sacred place and the people who had nourished his last 20 years.
From 2001 to 2006 Koch served as the first director of the MA in Servant Leadership Program at Viterbo University. This was the first graduate program in servant-leadership in the country. During these years he was also the program director at the Franciscan Spirituality Center in La Crosse, WI.
Carl held master degrees in religious education, spirituality and human development, and English and a doctorate in English from the University of Michigan.
His wife, Joyce, and he lived in La Crosse, WI, and enjoyed cooking, singing, kayaking, playing with their two rescue dogs, and walking.
In lieu of flowers memorials can be sent to Wafer Food Bank, The Franciscan Hospitality House and Ring Lake Ranch in Dubois, WY. A funeral mass will be held on Friday, June 21, 2019 at 11 a.m. at Roncalli Newman Center, 1732 State St., La Crosse, with visitation being held from 10 a.m. until the time of service.