Walt Koch, 77 of Lindenhurst, IL passed away after a courageous health battle on April 28, 2023. He was comforted by his loving family and an amazing care team at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital.
Walt was born on September 13, 1945, and raised in Breese, IL (Clinton County). He was the first of four children to parents Carl and Evlyn Koch. From an early age Walt demonstrated his organizational and management skills on the family’s pheasant farm, as well as local sports teams.
Walt received his chemistry degree from Millikin University in 1967. He was appointed as one of five chemists to the Analytical Service Group of Corn Products in Summit, Illinois where he met Lana Cannella and they married on May 1, 1971. Together they lived in Evanston, IL where their first son was born. With the support of his wife, Walt embarked on a successful career with Abbott Laboratories that took the family to Rocky Mount, North Carolina where he earned an MBA from East Carolina University. Here they welcomed another son to complete their family.
The family then returned to Chicagoland in 1983 and settled in Lindenhurst. Walt continued the remainder of his career at Abbott Laboratories, applying his chemistry and management background to various leadership positions in product manufacturing. Walt was known as a dependable and effective manager responsible for overseeing sophisticated facilities as well as hundreds of employees.
Upon retirement Walt pursued his passion of freshwater fishing and formed Red Rock Guiding Service so he could help create memorable, guided, fishing experiences for his clients. Walt was known to endlessly share his love and knowledge of fishing with everyone he met, but what he enjoyed most was fishing with his grandchildren. He successfully completed the rigorous and difficult process of captain’s licensing administered by the US Coast Guard, earning him the official moniker of “Captain Walt.” Walt also put his heart and soul into many non-profit fishing clubs and advocacy organizations, most notably the Walleyes Unlimited USA where he was a member, volunteer, trustee and ultimately President. As President of the Walleyes Unlimited USA, he tirelessly volunteered his time, business experience, and leadership ability to help the guide the group and flourish in it’s mission to educate anglers across the region. Walt continued his work with this beloved group up until his last moments.
Walt was preceded in death by his mother, Evlyn and father, Carl Koch. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Lana Cannella Koch; siblings Fred (Louvella) Koch, John (Deborah) Koch, and Jean (Brad) Taylor; children Scott (Victoria) Koch, Matthew (Yvonne) Koch; grandchildren Jackie (Derek) Sebben, Adriana, Aubrey and Conrad Koch; great grandchild, Greyson Sebben; and five nephews.
Visitation Services will be held from 2:00 – 7:00 PM on Monday May 8th at McMurrough Funeral Chapel, 101 Park Pl, Libertyville and a closing viewing on TuesdayMay 9th from 10:00 – 10:30 AM at the funeral home. Burial will follow at Queen of Heaven Cemetery at 1400 S. Wolf Rd, Hillside, IL. In lieu of flowers, memorials made to Walleyes Unlimited USA c/o 101 Park Pl, Libertyville, IL 60048 would be greatly appreciated. Funeral info (847) 362-2626.