Nathan Edward “Nate” Koch, 98, Clarkston, Michigan. After a long and remarkable life, our dear father, grandfather, and great grandfather died peacefully on August 22, 2018.
Nate was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on August 3, 1920, the only son of Gus Koch and Frances Woods. He worked his way through General Motors Institute and graduated in 1941 with a degree in industrial engineering. General Motors later awarded him a Sloan Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
He volunteered for U.S. Army Air Corps duty on November 7, 1941. Nate achieved the rank of Captain as a B-26 Martin Marauder navigator in the South Pacific Theater. He earned the DFC for completing 50 combat missions including the Battle of Guadalcanal. He also was awarded the Air Medal with two OLCs. He was last stationed as a trainer in Pyote, Texas, where he met and married native Texan, Laura Naomi “Nell” Healer.
After the war, he continued his 47-year career with General Motors, completing various assignments in St. Louis, Detroit, Tarrytown, Oakland, Boston, Kansas City, Van Nuys, and Fremont. He was the Manager of Manufacturing for all North American GM assembly plants when he retired in Detroit in 1983. He had a successful career with General Motors, but realizing his dream of having a large family was most important to him. Nate and Nell moved to Clarkston, Michigan in 1979. In retirement, their most treasured times were those spent with family.
He was preceded in death by Nell, his wife of 56 years, and his daughter, Judy Naughton. He is survived by his children: Peggy Bruni of Birmingham, MI, Jim Koch (Jana) of Clarkston, MI, Patty Hascall (Kent) of Hamilton, MT, and Sandy Simpson (Robert) of Stuart, FL; seven grandchildren: Lisa Short (Doug) of Ortonville, MI, Chris Naughton (Barbara) of New York City, NY, Alex Bruni (Molly) of Wellesley, MA, Erica Dickinson (Matt) of Lubbock, TX, Grayson Florkey (Andy) of Oakland Township, MI, Robert Koch (Libby) of Singapore, and Christa Merkle (Jason) of Clarkston, MI; and thirteen great grandchildren.
A private graveside service with military honors will be held at Lakeview Cemetery, Clarkston, MI, on August 28, 2018. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in his memory to Haven at haven-oakland.org, Salvation Army at give.salvationarmyusa.org, or the charity of your choice.