Forest “Forey” Kosch, who made volunteering his occupation in the 35 years following his retirement, died Friday in St. Luke’s Hospital after a stroke.
He was 85.
He and his wife, Glenna, had celebrated their wedding anniversary by going out to dinner Thursday, daughter Linda said. The couple married on June 27, 1947.
Mr. Kosch of Maumee was employed for 30 years at Libbey-Owens-Ford Co.’s glass plant in Rossford, retiring in 1978 as a high-crane operator.
That week, he started to volunteer at St. Luke’s. He was still on duty last week, visiting patients — friends and strangers alike — through the chaplain’s office. He especially enjoyed visiting elderly patients, he told The Blade in 2001.
“I talk to them. Sometimes they are lonely and they just want someone to listen,” Mr. Kosch said then. “I offer them encouragement. I hold their hands.”
His daughter Diane said: “He’d walk into Meijer and have people come up to him and thank him for spending time with them and sharing prayer with them.”
Until about two years ago, he baked bread — often 20 loaves — and made soup for the monthly soup-and-salad supper at the Maumee Senior Center. He and his wife prepared meals at their church, St. Paul’s Lutheran, for people in need of all faiths.
The couple also coordinated Sunday services at the Northwest Ohio Developmental Center and the Whitehouse Country Manor nursing home.
And for years, he opened his garage as a repository of essential items — beds, clothes, high chairs, strollers — for people in need. In turn, he became a clearinghouse. Volunteers from area churches stopped by to collect items they knew could be used. Some who’d heard of his kindness contacted him directly.
In 1996, he was awarded the Book of Golden Deeds by the Exchange Club of Maumee. In 2001, he was presented the Outstanding Citizen Award by the Maumee Chamber of Commerce during a community dinner. The Maumee mayor declared a day in his honor. Five years later, from among 37 finalists statewide, he was named the Bronze Award winner in the Ohio Senior Volunteers Competition. He qualified by winning the 2006 J.R. Rollen Award as an outstanding senior volunteer in northwest Ohio.
He found such notice humbling, almost embarrassing.
“God gave certain people gifts,” Mr. Kosch told The Blade in 2006. “Mine is to help people. I’m a guy who can get things done.”
He was born June 12, 1928, in Maumee to Fay and Albert Kosch. He grew up in the Monclova Gardens neighborhood and was a 1946 graduate of Maumee High School, where he had varsity letters in track and basketball. He was named all-conference in basketball and most valuable player his senior year. In 2004, he was named to the high school Athletic Hall of Fame.
Surviving are his wife, Glenna; son, David; daughters, Linda Garn and Diane Huber; seven grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.
Visitation is 2 to 8 p.m. Monday in the Maison-Dardenne-Walker Funeral Home, Maumee. Services are 11 a.m. Tuesday in St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Maumee.
The family suggests tributes to the church or the Maumee Senior Center.
Contact Mark Zaborney at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6182.