Martin Henry Koch

Photo used with permission from Jim Sheaffer, Nebraska Gravestones.
Photo used with permission from Jim Sheaffer, Nebraska Gravestones.

(March 23, 1887 - March 24, 1972)

The Harrison Sun
March 30, 1972

Martin H. Koch, Pioneer Businessman and Contractor in Harrison, Dies

Martin H. Koch, 85, pioneer resident of Sioux County and long-time construction contractor and business man of Harrison, died March 24 at his home in Harrison.

The funeral service was held Monday at United Memorial Methodist Church at Harrison and burial was in the Harrison Cemetery. The Rev. Larry Shrout officiated. Mrs. Bill Coffee sang "The Lord's Prayer," and the church choir sang two songs. Mrs. Robert Todd was organist.

Active pallbearers were Richard Carnahan, Richard Marsteller, LaVerne Hanley, Charles Mumby, Duane Pullen and Thomas Broderick. Honorary bearers were J. A. McClarey, George Wickersham, Francis (Bud) Bourret, Arthur Dunn, Carl Buckley, W. D. Wasserburger, Emerson Buckley, O. L. Fox, Orville Corbin, Fred Davison, T. M. Powell, Ernest Pullen, Lester Dunn, Vernon Dunn, Bill Buckley, Jim Phipps, John Marsteller, John Broderick, Everett Parmely and Frank Zerbe.

Martin Henry Koch was born March 23, 1887, in Woodford County, Ill., the son of Henry and Suzanna Koch. He came to Sioux County with his brother Walter on February 2, 1910. They homesteaded south of Van Tassell, Wyo., and when they proved up Walter returned to Illinois and Martin stayed in Sioux County.

He met and married Minnie Jane Sutton to whom four children were born: Lois Erwin and Beryl Bootjer both of Santa Barbara, Calif., Bruce and Willadell De Haven of Harrison.

Martin's youngest brother Luther came to Harrison in 1918, and on December 29, 1919, he and Martin started the firm of Koch Mercantile Company. In 1927 Luther remained in the store while Martin returned to construction work. He built the first cement bridge in Sioux county, the present county jail and municipal light plant. His work included sidewalks in the village and he contracted work all over the county building bridges, cisterns, septic tanks, foundations and basements. He built and maintained the buildings at the Sioux County fair grounds for many years. He was in the amusement business in Harrison for about 20 years including operation of the first motion picture theater.

In 1937 he and his wife opened Koch Furniture and Variety which was in operation until June of 1970.

Martin was a loyal supporter of Harrison, Sioux County and its people. He served more years on the village board than any other member.

He was preceded in death by his parents, three brothers, two sisters, his wife and two sons-in-law. Surviving are his four children, two sisters-in-law, two sons-in-law, one daughter-in-law, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

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