Holiday World's Will Koch dies at 48

crazy horse's avatar

Here is an interview with Pat koch today....

I can't believe she is even at work today.....a very strong woman indeed.

what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard.
Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it.
I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

rollergator's avatar

Such a fitting quote, George. Been unable to do anything here at work today - hopefully soon that smile will take over again.

Will's joy and enthusiasm was a major factor in turning an amusement park event into what we often referred to as "our annual Springtime family reunion". Words really cannot do justice....but Heaven is a better place today for receiving one of God's finest.

Raven-Phile's avatar

That's pretty awesome, George. I, too, have been pretty down today at work. I still can't believe this.

delan's avatar

No way!!!!! Wow :: :: :: of all the opportunities I had to go to HW coaster events and I always put it off. He was definitely one of the people I would love to meet. My prayers for all of the HW Family.

Jeff's avatar

Yeah, I haven't been that useful at work today either. It's not that we were close friends or anything, but I had enough contact with him and know enough about what he meant to others that I can't help but feel sad, that we lost something.

I was talking to someone today following up on the Falfas story (yes, it's real), and believe me when I say that this is on the entire industry's mind right now. Six Flags gave a shout out in their Twitter stream, as have countless other parks. I'd be shocked if there wasn't a tribute of some kind at IAAPA in November.

I take comfort in knowing that people did appreciate him before this for what he's brought to the world. His mom was right about the way he lived, that's for sure. It's hard to find heroes you can really count on, but he was the real deal.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

joe.'s avatar

I read about this this morning, and I'm still in shock. So many prayers for the entire Holiday World family. Will was an immensely great man, and I hope that his vision spreads to so many others. He truly enjoyed his life, and the people around him, and I feel it was an honor to meet him.

Just last Saturday, during Holiwood Nights, I was talking Will's ear off on a variety of topics. Reading about this brings tears to my eyes. Will will surely be missed, and my heart goes out to his family and friends.

I too, did not know Will very well. Yet, even with me, he was upfront, honest, and genuine. Shocking is the only word I can use to describe this loss.

THANK YOU WILL! You will be missed!


Wow. Such a sudden shock. I only talked to Will once or twice, but he was an amazing man. He will be missed.

I see over in the news link that the request is to donate to the JDRF instead of flowers. Everyone who can, please do so. Type 1 diabetes is far less common (and seemingly less well-known even after all these years) than Type II (they're very different diseases that happen to have some similar presentations), but is a nasty, devastating disease to live with.

"You seem healthy. So much for voodoo."

LuvRaptor's avatar

crazy horse said:
Here is an interview with Pat koch today....

I can't believe she is even at work today.....a very strong woman indeed.

I watched it and couldnt help but cry. I liked Will and Pat Koch from the moment I met them back in '00. What was not to like?
Will...a classier, carrying, fun loving wonderful man you will never meet. I have been in an empty daze all day. What a terrible loss.
I am so sorry I didnt go to HWN this year


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

Ever since I was a kid I knew I always wanted to get into the amusement park industry. Back in 2004 or so I talked to Will for about 20 min about the steps I should take to make it there. That year I ended up going to college for a business degree and working in the rides department at a local amusement park in NY for several seasons, became a supervisor, and have always dreamed of owning a theme park one day. I have now graduated from college and have worked four summers at amusement parks. While I am still trying to make my way "in" and get a job in the industry that can support me, Will has always been a person I always thought about when I imagine where I wanted to be when I grew up, and Holiday World has always been a role model park to me and how I wish every other theme park would run. He was never the "typical CEO type", he was always genuine in his love for the park and all the people who visited. Every time I have visited (unfortunately only four times, living 600 miles away) it felt like I was being invited into his house and meeting his personal family.

I saw him 9 days ago jamming away with the beachcombers at the Holliwood nights event and there was a smile on his face each of the 10-20 times I saw him in the park during my visit (and every time i've ever been to the park). His laugh during his speech was contageous. He and everyone else put on a fantastic event. I watched all winter as he updated with videos on the new timberliner trains, and as he took a ride on the wildebeest. He was such an amazing and genuinely friendly person. That saturday night walking up from the thanksgiving section before leaving the park for the weekend, we made eye contact. He smiled at me, nodded, and said "hello" and I smiled and nodded back and that was the last time I saw him. He greets visitors every morning at the gate at park opening. There is a reason there are tens of thousands of posts on the facebook page and around the internet right now. There is a reason why HW has received so many national awards for their friendliness, cleanliness, and rides -- all with the help of Will and the entire staff. Holiday World is a model all theme parks should follow, as you rarely find heart in a park like you do at HW. This news is extremely sad and I cried this morning upon hearing the news, and tear up thinking about it. I have only been to the park four times, but this is still a huge loss for me. I can only imagine what friends, family, and everyone at the park and people who knew him are going through right now. I am in disbelief :(

-- God bless and may you rest in peace.

I had tears in my eyes at work today. It's hard to believe it, knowing just last weekend that Will and family hosted such a great party, and it was quite evident how much he loved us all. Not only has the industry lost a great man, but we as enthusiasts have lost a brother.

God bless all at Holiday World. We will think of you every day.

Vater's avatar

Unreal, this is a total shock. :( My deepest condolences to the Koch family and Holiday World staff. I firmly believe Will was truly a man who will find treasure in Heaven. It's so rare to find someone so genuine and good.

I'm crushed. He was so young at heart and vibrant, and so full of life.

The world feels a little emptier today.

God bless all of you at Holiday World.

To being an "us" for once - instead of a "them".

I'm shocked by this. I don't even know what to say.

A little more than twelve hours after returning from another amazing trip to Holiday World, I read the stunning news that the president and owner, Will Koch, had passed away. The news was completely shocking and surreal to me. I just saw him in the park on Saturday, checking out the operations on his newest creation, Wildebeest, and making sure all the guests in line were staying hydrated and cool. Now he is gone.

Saying hi to Will in the park was like an attraction all on its own. He was the Walt Disney of our time. Holiday World has the best public relations and customer service of any park I've ever been to, and that started with Will.

I saw Will's mom, Pat, outside the front entrance on Saturday and Sunday morning and to hear that she was in the exact same place on Monday morning after all this, wow, just wow.

I will greatly miss his passionate video explanations of how his rides worked. A fellow coaster enthusiast and engineer, he touched many lives. Today, I find myself asking, how can I be more like Will? How can I help as many people as he has? How can I make as many people smile as he did?

"If you hear thunder today don't worry, it's just heaven's new wooden roller coaster."

Last edited by Amnesiac,

Deepest sympathy to his family and the Holiday World family.

stoogemanmoe's avatar

You know, I have never been to HW and my Wife of 1 year and I are planning a trip there this July. I never met Will, and strangely I really feel like I lost a dear friend. I have read all the boards and blogs and everyday check out the Holiblog, But WOW I feel that this is significant loss. Our hearts and prayers from my family go out to the Koch family as well as all my park brothers and sisters. I Too, today at work kept thinking and something just does'nt seem to be right, Now I know what that something is. Will, I didn't know you, but, I did know you. You are a brother to me, May god watch over Will, and his family. We are deeply saddened, but we are going to celebrate the life of Will Koch.

My Beautiful wife, Julia, is the best thing that has ever happened to me!

Thanks for all your kind posts. We'll share them with the Koch family and the park family.

Still in shock and disbelief. He was taken from us all too soon.

Will thought you were all crazy :) ... but you know there was a very special place in his heart (and that amazing brain of his) for you all.

Thanks, Paula

Paula Werne
Holiday World

Tekwardo's avatar

We are crazy, Paula. Crazy about all the things the HW family has done for us as a community. :)

Website | Flickr | Instagram | YouTube | Twitter | Facebook

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

Just echoing what others have said...

I didn't find out until I was leaving work and was talking about my love for Holiday World with a co-worker, and she told me the news. "Shocked" is an apporpriate word.

I am praying for the Koch family and for the Holiday World community for peace and rest during this very difficult time. 1 Peter 5:7, "You can cast all your cares on Jesus, because He cares for you."

Ride on.

You must be logged in to post

POP Forums - ©2022, POP World Media, LLC