Holiday World's Will Koch dies at 48

My thoughts and prayers to the Koch Family and all of the Holiday World Staff. I have only met Will a few times but feel like I lost a member of my own family. He will be truely missed.

This is so terribly heartbreaking to hear.

Will always impressed me as a very gifted man with a sense of faith, family, and fun. I greatly admire him for that.

My prayers are with his mother, as the loss of a child is devistating.
My prayers are with his wife, who no doubt has lost a soulmate.
My prayers are with his children, for the loss of their father.
My prayers are with the Holiday World Family, as they struggle through this time.

God bless them all, and God bless Will.

Last edited by Shaggy,


My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, his HW family and to his coaster enthusiast family. He was such a genuine great guy. He will be missed by so many.

Carrie M.'s avatar

Oh my. I'm so sorry to hear this. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Koch and Holiday World family. Take care of each other in this terribly difficult time.

Will's light touched many lives and it will continue to do so.

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

Raven-Phile's avatar

I know, I'm usually the one who doesn't like the corny "thoughts and prayers" to someone we don't know, but even after not making it to Holiday World in the last 3 years, this saddens me. I feel like the times I talked to Will, he was genuine, and almost like a friend that you may not see all the time, but when you do, you pick right up where you left off.

This makes me very sad.

mlnem4s's avatar

I just read the post on Facebook, I am shocked and saddened by this tragic loss. My best to everyone at Holiday World.

LuvRaptor's avatar

I was absolutely devestated at the news. I always remember Will with a smile on his face. A genuine, sincere, wonderful and devoted man. My thoughts are with Pat, his wife, his children and his HW family.

Earth's loss is Heaven's gain


'00 '02 '03 '09 Raptor Crew
2018 - present Mako Crew

2Hostyl said:
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.


There was actually a enthusiast gathering once where he invited them up to his house. Its also been mentioned that they took a second mortgage on said house to build RAVEN.

Thats not a comment, A observation :)

eightdotthree's avatar

I never met him but have always been impressed by his excitement and love for running Holiday World. So sorry for him family, friends and staff.

obxKevin's avatar

Wow, I was so shocked to read this. My heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to the Koch family and the entire Holiday World staff. What an amazing person he was. I can only imagine that Will is getting his ultimate ride.

The poster formerly known as 'Zcorpius.' Joined 2004
rollergator's avatar

Shocked and saddened. The Koch family, HW/SS, and Santa Calus are in our thoughts and prayers today. :(

Tekwardo's avatar

Total shock here. Especially after just seeing him last week. Very sad, my thoughts are with the employees and the family.

Website | Flickr | Instagram | YouTube | Twitter | Facebook

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

Rokuchan's avatar

We are tremendously sorry for your loss, and our hearts go out to the entire family and organization. So young...

I hate people. But I love gatherings. Isn't it ironic?

This is the first industry news I have read in a long time that resulted in absolute jaw-dropping astonishment. I mean, I was just exchanging friendly conversation with the man a week ago...!

I presume that this news was as shocking to the park and to the family as it is to the rest of us. Like most people here, I didn't know Will very well. But I know him as the genius whose influence on the industry will be felt for years to come. He was an expert at taking the carefully calculated risk that has always caused a lot of people to scratch their heads and say, at least privately, "he's absolutely crazy." But he wasn't crazy. He knew exactly what he was doing and in almost every case, a well-chosen gamble, smart execution, and his own style made it work. Sixteen years ago most of us had never heard of Holiday World, and now it's an upper-tier theme park with three of the world's best wood coasters.

But it's more than the coasters. Anybody can build a world class ride. The trick is to combine that with some real simple rules and practices that mostly boil down to being a good person, respecting the customer, and doing the right thing. Anybody can do that, too, but very few in business actually do. Will was one of those few. Holiday World itself has, for lack of a better way to explain it, Will's personality. On the one hand, that means his loss is going to be instantly felt, and I'm sure it's going to be a rough time emotionally and spiritually for the people who operate that park. On the other hand, it also means that there will be no casting about, wondering "what would Will do." Because everybody already knows.

I hope I am making some kind of sense. I'm actually still pretty stunned.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____

Frantic Ferret's avatar

Wow, this hurts. Seeing him around the park was always a highlight of our visits. He always had time to say "Hello" and chat for a bit. My deepest sympathies to all of the HW family and staff.

Raven-Phile's avatar

Just thought I'd share for those who aren't on Facebook - Pat is currently standing outside, in uniform, greeting guests. The quote on her photo says "There's nowhere else I could possibly be this morning.".

I truly believe that Will would have wanted her to be standing right there, but she's a strong woman, I know I'd be hysterical if I were in her shoes.

That photo of Pat made me cry a little.

Tekwardo's avatar

I saw that photo. I just hope that she finds comfort in the smiling faces of all of the people she greets because she surely needs that right now. Hopefully she'll get some hugs through out the day.

Website | Flickr | Instagram | YouTube | Twitter | Facebook

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

Raven-Phile's avatar

Yeah. It got me a little misty.

I'm thinking that I'll be making the trek to Holiday World this year, when I was only kicking it around before.

DaveStroem's avatar

It's graduation day at our local high school, and since the Beachcombers bass player's mother ( is making him take the day off to pick up his diploma, a substitute bass player was needed. Guess who just happens to play bass guitar? None other than our president, Will Koch. Here's a snippet from their first set this afternoon. And let's all say it together, " ROCK!" :0)

Last edited by DaveStroem,

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

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