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Published: Friday, 1/5/2001

Retired teacher loved children, helping needy

TIFFIN - Lucile J. Koch, 86, a retired elementary school teacher and a volunteer at St. Paul's United Methodist Church, died Wednesday after suffering a stroke at the Fairhaven Retirement Community, Upper Sandusky.

Born in Fostoria, she grew up in Wyandot County where her father ran a small hardware store.

“She started out helping at the store,'' Esma Cronin, a close friend, said. “She eventually put herself through college.''

After graduating from Mount Zion High School near Bucyrus, Mrs. Koch enrolled at Bowling Green State University, where she completed the requirements for a teaching degree.

Over the years, she taught elementary school children, mostly fourth-grade students, in Wyandot County, Bloomville, and Clinton Township. Her final years were spent teaching at Noble Elementary School in Tiffin.

“She didn't have children of her own,'' Joanne Gongwer, her sister, said. “I think that is why she liked teaching. She loved helping children, to teach them.''

In her spare time, she traveled extensively, including trips to Russia, Africa, and South America. She also enjoyed playing bridge, pinochle, and euchre.

After she retired, Mrs. Koch became a volunteer for the Sharing Kitchen, a program at St. Paul's United Church. She tapped a church fund to buy and distribute personal care items and food for the needy, Mrs. Cronin said.

She also was a member of the Order of Eastern Star, the Seneca County Retired Teachers Association, the American Association of University Women, and the Republic Grange.

Her husband, Leonard Koch, and brother, Ted Jury, preceded her in death.

Surviving are sisters, Gwen Graham, Betty McCarty, and Joanne Gongwer.

Services will be at 2 p.m. today in the Lucas Funeral Home, Upper Sandusky. There is no visitation. The family requests tributes to the church or to a charity of the donor's choice.

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