Holiday World's Will Koch dies at 48

Holiday World announced overnight that Will passed away overnight due to what is believed to be complications of diabetes.

More info from

News post from Coasterbuzz

Last edited by Jeff,
coasterqueenTRN's avatar

I am in total shock. :( He was an amazing man and one of the most genuine, hardworking people I have ever met. He will surely be missed.

My love and prayers go to the Koch family, friends, and the staff at Holiday World. :(


Thank you. We are heartbroken. He was a dear, sweet, brilliant man.

The park is open today and will continue to be owned and operated by the Koch family, as Will would have wanted.

Please keep the Koch family and the park family in your prayers.


Paula Werne
Holiday World

DantheCoasterman's avatar

We will, Paula.

I am so very sorry for your (and many others') loss. :(


I was walking out of the park at HWN on Saturday night late and saw Will coming down the hill. I was by myself and he waved at me and said 'Hello' with his big smile. I waved back and said the same. That is how I always remember him. Friendly, caring and always concerned about all at the park. He will be deeply missed....

I didn't want to make any comments in the initial post because it didn't feel appropriate.

I woke up to this news this morning and it's a very sad thing to hear. My heart goes out toward the Koch family, everyone at Holiday World, and to you, Paula. I know the staff at Holiday World, especially the full time staff, is very close.

Will's work at Holiday World drove innovation in the amusement industry and he will be missed. Because of the attractions, policies, and ideas we saw at Holiday World during Will's tenure we will never look at an "independent" park the same way. His ideas and his drive to do the unexpected changed the landscape of the smaller regional amusement park.

Last edited by robotfactory,

Paula, I just watched the video of him playing bass with the band at Splashin' Safari yesterday on the Holiblog and just this quickly, wow! I've made two trips to Holiday World from Pa. just to visit the park and when you would see him and his mom out and about you could just feel their passion for what they do. While I do not have diabetes it runs in my family and that 48 number stands out as that is my age.

Haven't been to the park since before Voyage and was trying to work the 10+ hour trip in before the PTC's came off but regardless a visit without seeing him doing his thing will feel strange, that's how much I identify him with the park. I would imagine many of us feel he had one of the best jobs in the world, getting to do what he loved.

My thoughts to the whole Holiday World community, I wish I could be there today.


While I never met Will personally, I understand what a profound impact he had on Holiday World and I know he was an all-around great guy. My heart goes out to his family and everyone at Holiday World.

And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

D_vo's avatar

Best wishes to the Koch Family and everyone at Holiday World. :(

I call Cedar Point my home park even though I live in the Chicago Suburbs.

>>Paula, I just watched the video of him playing bass with the band at >>Splashin' Safari yesterday on the Holiblog and just this quickly, wow!

I sat just feet away and watched him have a blast. That is the way to live your life. He had such fun and his happiness was contagious. :-)

I am so shocked its unbelievable but true none-the-less.

Never have I met a business owner like him. When I visited his families park, I was FAMILY. I considered him a brother, who no matter how busy he was, Always took the time to greet, chat, explain, whatever you need it and he at least made you feel you were no inconvenience at all.

A week and two days ago he was deminstrating the new timberliners, running operations, chatting with enthusiast and normal park guest and PLAYING BASS GUITAR WITH THE HW Beachcombers for us at our ERT event.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Koch Family. I know Will and his wife have kids and this will be very hard for them.

In reality, I knew very little about Will but just meeting him told you all you needed to know, Intelligent, kind, religious, caring, Proud Father and Husband and Proud Son as well himself.

R.I.P my friend, All the rides in Heaven are smooth, Just as you would have it.
Charles Nungester

I'm in shock and disbelief. Just last night I was watching a PBS special "Great Old Amusement Parks" with Will so proudly showing off the Raven. My thoughts are with the family.

I am very sad to hear this. He will be missed and my prayers go out to his family and the Holiday World community!

Collin Aynes

His enthusiasm, compassion, sense of humor and smile will always be remembered. Our hearts are heavy for the people of Santa Claus, IN today.

~Kara (car-uh)

Unbelievably tragic and I am just stunned. Themepark goers and coaster enthusiasts alike lost a true visionary leader who's tireless efforts never ceased to make even the most casual visitor feel as if they were a member of their own family.

My heart and condolences go out to the Koch family, their friends and the Holiday World staff. Will is going to definately be missed by everyone.


There is a special place in heaven for the dreamers. My condolences to Paula and the Holiday World family.

DaveStroem's avatar

I too am totally shocked and even though I only meet Will a few times, I know that he was a man of extreme character. My prayer are with Pat and the entire Holiday World family.

Before you can be older and wiser you first have to be young and stupid.

I probably forgot the most fitting term of knowing him.


With that, my comments will end.

Raven-Phile's avatar

Oh. My. I'm so sorry, Paula and HW staff. :(

Mein Gott in Himmel!

This is sad and stunning news. I genuinely felt everytime that I was in HW like the Koch's were inviting me into their house not just a business. And I believe Will has a huge part of that. He seemed a bit 'corny', but that show authenticity IMHO. He wasnt some extra slick CEO-type, but just a regular man who happend to head a pretty significant business. He will be missed by many more than he'll ever know.


Last edited by 2Hostyl,
PlaceHolder for Castor & Pollux

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