According to a press release issued by the theme park Sunday night, Will Koch died at home of what the family believes to be complications from diabetes. He was 48.
Park spokesperson Paula Werne says, "Will was not only our leader, he was our dear friend. Our park family is in mourning for this sweet man who worked tirelessly to bring fun and happiness to so many families in the 20 years he ran the park."
Will Koch was the Chief Executive Officer of Koch Development Corporation, the parent company of Holiday World Theme Park and Splashin' Safari Water Park. Under his direction, the theme park introduced its first wooden roller coaster, The Raven in 1995. As enthusiasts discovered the park and coaster it gradually became more and more popular eventually winning the Amusement Today Golden Ticket Award for best coaster in 2000. That same year Holiday World opened its second wood coaster, The Legend, which was followed six years later by The Voyage. As enthusiasts flocked to Santa Claus to ride The Raven, they discovered not only a great wood coaster but a pleasant, very clean, family-run park, with super-friendly employees. As the word spread, Holiday World began to gather additional Golden Ticket Awards for park cleanliness, and employee friendliness.
Each year annual seasonal attendance at Holiday World & Splashin' Safari continued to grow. In 2006 the park topped one million visitors in a single season.
Koch is survived by his wife, Lori, and three children: Lauren, Leah, and William. He is also survived by his mother, Pat, and siblings Dan, Kristi, Philip and Natalie.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to be made to the Lincoln Boyhood Drama Association or the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
UPDATE: ACE has donated $250.00 to the Lincoln Boyhood Drama Association. ACE members who wish to make an individual donation in memory of Will Koch are encouraged to identify themselves as members when doing so.
Funeral arrangements: Visitation will be held this Wednesday, June 16, at the The Fuller Funeral Home in Spencer County beginning at 2:00 p.m. central time. The funeral for Koch will be Thursday morning, June 17 at 10:30 central time at the Santa Claus United Methodist Church.