No problem, riddle, or formula seems to be beyond his ken. He is the outstanding scientist of St. Francis College; he is the winner of the coveted Smith Memorial Medal for excellence in Science. Yet even his own brilliance could not fathom the enigma of Joe Koch. In many ways Joe is a walking paradox. He seldom laughs outright; in fact his picture would lead one to believe that he is a sombre pessimist. Yet it is his nimble wit that makes him a distinctive personality. His humor is never loud; rather it is whimsical and epigrammatic.
To be the leading scholar of the college it is necessary to do more work than the average. A student who is desirous of attaining official recognition must sit at home and do extra assignments. That is the normal procedure. But is that the form fol owed by our human riddle? Certainly not! He is actually scrupulous about not doing more than the assignment requires. He does exactly what he is demanded to do and not one jot more. What he does, however, is of such undeniable excellence that he was one of the first men picked for the Duns Scotus Honor Society.
With regards to one trait, however, Joe appears to contain no contradictions. That is his quality of intense loyalty to his friends.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
My mother's younger brother, Warren, then 10, describes the wedding:
All hell broke loose. This Koch guy was coming home on furlough, and was going to get hitched to my sister. It was Four Koch sisters riotously descended on our 220th Street home, seeking to turn it into a wedding palace - Agnes, Peggy, Mary and Jane! After them, D-Day was a letdown! In preparation for the great day, Frank, Ken and I, now nearly 10, 8 and 12, were sent out across the neighborhood on a foraging mission, a kind of loaves and fishes expedition, to find red ration coupons so there could be meat served at the wedding feast.
March 6th was a brilliantly sunny, crisp day, more spring than winter. At the wedding, my big shot Xavier brother Robert, with his fancy blue uniform and white gloves, got to give away the bride, subbing for Jim who was in the Pacific. At the 220th Street reception, I have a strong memory of being impressed that our pastor, Father Herchenroder, was actually standing in our backyard, in a black leather jacket, talking just like a regular person. After the reception, my sister took off somewhere with Corporal Koch, and we kids went across the street to the more serious business of shooting marbles.