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Benjamin Koch, 78

Benjamin James Koch, 78, of New Richmond, Wis., passed away peacefully in his sleep on March 13.

Ben was born in Pontiac, Mich., on March 30, 1935, to Joseph and Mary Koch of Rochester Hills, Mich. He graduated from The Western Military Academy in Alton, Ill., in 1954, and continued on to the University of Notre Dame, before enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1958.

Ben was married to Pearl McGinn in Dexter, Mich., in 1962, and was blessed with six children. The marriage was later annulled. Ben moved from Michigan to New Richmond in 1995, to live near his daughter, Susanna Nyberg.

Ben was well known at the New Richmond Area Centre, where he worked out six days a week. He attended church almost every Saturday night at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in New Richmond for the past 18 years. He enjoyed playing his guitar and harmonica, singing songs -- especially at Christmas, fishing, going for walks to the Dairy Queen, watching football and working on puzzles.

He frequently visited the New Richmond Heritage Center flea market and one day purchased a bowling ball. Though he hadn't bowled in years, he could score a 193 with little effort. Ben lived with a disability and a hearing deficit, but with God's grace, he was content in his circumstances and never complained. He had a cheerful smile for everyone he met.

Ben is survived by six children: Stephen Birchmeier of Pittsburg, Kan., Jeffrey Koch of Medford, Wis., John Birchmeier of Johnsburg, Ill., Susanna (David) Nyberg of New Richmond, Wis., Heidi Koch of Oshkosh, Wis., and Theodore (Josephine) Birchmeier of Butternut, Wis. Ben is also survived by 11 grandchildren: Jaclyn, Rachel, Michaela, Courtney, Trevor, Diego, Dalton, Charlie, Tucker, Lincoln, and Cullen.

A burial service will be held later this Spring at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church Cemetery, with Fr. James Brinkman officiating.

Arrangements are being handled by Cullen Crea Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to the following Christian school where Ben has grandsons in attendance: Valley Christian School (Please note Koch Memorial Tuition Fund on the memo line.) 3450 Vinland St.,Oshkosh, WI 54901. Donations can be made online at: (Please note Koch Memorial Tuition Fund on the memo line.)