John N. Koch of Madison, age 71, died on March 1, 2018, after a brief struggle with cancer. John was born in Milwaukee in 1947. He attended Pius XI High School and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he made life-long friends and graduated with distinction. After working as a paraprofessional at Memorial and College Libraries on the UW Madison campus, John obtained his Master's degree in Library Science in 1983. He served in the Reference Department of College and Memorial Libraries and as the Government Documents Coordinator at Steenbock Memorial Library of Agriculture and Life Sciences from 1985 to 2003. He was expert in reference data-bases, web site development, on-line searching in the life sciences, and Geographical Information Systems, and provided much-appreciated research assistance to academics and county extension agents state-wide as well as bibliographic instruction to students on the UW campus. With Jean Gilbertson he published Agriculture: Illustrated Search Strategy and Sources (1992). After retiring, he worked to post the maps from John Bordner's Wisconsin Land Economic Survey to the web.
As a clerical worker John was a stalwart member of AFSCME Local 2412 on campus. He supported progressive political causes with his money and volunteer work. He gave generously of his time, leadership, and expertise to community organizations including the Emerson-East Neighborhood Association, Participatory Learning and Teaching Organization (PLATO), Emerson school, Hawthorne Public Library, and the James Reeb Unitarian Universalist Congregation. He wrote many letters on behalf of political prisoners through Amnesty International and was a long-time supporter of Save the Children. John was proud of his Luxemburgish heritage. With his wife, he vacationed in the national parks, Europe, Cuba, and Mexico. He loved Bob Dylan and Jefferson Airplane, Irish fiddling and blue grass music, studied the violin, loved stand-up comedy, wrote and sold jokes, and tried out improv. He was a master gardener, a conscientious recycler, and a solicitous cat owner. He was a great reader in all genres and knew all the new books as well as the classics. He was a devoted son and husband and a kind friend.
John is survived by his spouse, Mary Anglim, his brother, Thomas Koch (Teena Parduhn) of Reno, Nevada, nephew David Koch, niece Sarah Koch, aunt Margaret (Harvey) Medinger, and numerous cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents, Norbert Eugene Koch and Elsie Medinger Koch, brother Steven, uncles Joseph Koch, Elmer and Harvey Medinger, and aunts Adeline (William) Wertschnig, Lorraine (Miland) Race, Dolores Koch, and Laverne (Robert) Shupe.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, March 17, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm, at James Reeb Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 2146 East Johnson Street, Madison. John's relatives and his many friends are invited to attend.
Contributions in John's honor may be made to Save the Children, the Goodman Community Center, or a charity of your choice.
Cress Funeral Home
3325 East Washington Avenue
My sympathy to all of John's family and friends. John was such a good friend and staunch supporter of our union those many years ago when we were all so young. I will always be grateful for his keen sense of humor, sage advice and that smile always on his face.
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