Obituary: Jean Oliver Koch, 1937‑2021 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Jean Oliver Koch, 1937‑2021

Active community member loved skiing, tennis, singing and gardening

Published January 25, 2021 at 6:30 a.m.
Updated January 25, 2021 at 3:19 p.m.

  • Courtesy Photo
  • Jean Koch

Jean Oliver Koch passed peacefully at home, surrounded by family, on January 14, 2021. An avid skier, tennis player, singer and gardener, she treasured her family, friends and beloved pets.

Her full life began to shrink in the last decade as it became clear she was struggling with Alzheimer’s disease.

Jean was born in Teaneck, N.J., to Hedwig and Frank Oliver, who were avid hikers. Gifted in ballet, she danced the lead role in her school’s rendition of Swan Lake and later studied in New York City. Her grace was evident on the ski slopes and tennis courts. She decided early on not to marry a hiker. After receiving a bachelor’s in education from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, she married Joseph Koch, a fun-loving, spirited skier, on December 26, 1959. They settled in North Haldon, N.J., where their son, Steven, and daughter Susan were born; they moved to Franklin Lakes in 1965, where Jenny was born. From there, the family trekked almost every winter weekend to their favorite ski area, Mad River Glen.

In 1975, they moved to South Burlington, Vt., and two years later to Fort Wayne, Ind., before settling into their beloved home in Fayston, Vt., in 1989. In each place, she made a comfortable home and excelled in learning all the roads and shortcuts in town.

Jean was a member of the Our Lady of the Snows church, the Mountain Gardeners Club, the Valley Singers and the Fayston Historical Society, and she volunteered for Meals on Wheels and the Valley Food Shelf. She managed the Mad River tennis courts and worked short stints as a school teacher, Realtor, bank teller and on the Mad River Ski Patrol.

She is survived by her children, Steve Koch of Brandon, Vt., Susan Koch (aka Nema Nyar) of Honesdale, Pa., and Jennifer Koch and her husband, Gregg Blasdel, of Burlington, Vt., her brother Paul Oliver and his wife, Audrey, of Portland, Ore.; and her dedicated caregivers Carol Bourque, Jessica Blais, Danielle Hampton, Karen Campbell, Jacci Van Alder, Tina White and Tracy Flint, among others. She is predeceased by her husband, Joseph Koch; her brother Peter Oliver; and her many cherished cats and dogs.

A memorial service will be held at Our Lady of the Snows when it is safe to gather. Contributions can be made to your local humane society in lieu of flowers.

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