The amusement park community lost a dear owner on Monday, June 14th as Holiday World owner Will Koch passed away of type one diabetes at the age of 48. He is survived by his wive Lori, three children, his mother Pat, and sibblings Dan, Kristi, Phillip and Natalie.
Being part of the Koch family, Will was part of a amusement park heritage. Holiday World proclaims itself as the world’s first theme park, opening its gates more than sixty-four years ago, even ahead of the world renown Disney parks. The entire time, it has been owned by the Kochs.
Will was born and raised in Santa Claus, Indiana. Later, he would graduate from Heritage Hills High School and graduated in 1979 as a Valedictorian. Afterwards, he graduated in 1984 from the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelors degree in electrical engineering. He received a Masters degree in computer science from the University of Southern California in 1986.
He took the reigns of Holiday World soon thereafter. He was pivotal in bringing Holiday World a big time spotlight in the amusement park industry, paticularly in the first two wooden coasters Raven in 1995 and Legand in 2000. He was part designer of the 2006 Voyage wooden coaster and boosted the size of Splashin’ Safari.
In 2004, he received the International Applause Award for the amusement park industry, with criteria including foresight, originality, creativity, sound business development and profitability. Since 2006, Holiday World has topped one million visitors each season. This year, the park is introducing the world’s longest water coaster in Wildebeast’s one-third mile long trek along with adding the techonologically advanced Timberliner trains to Voyage.
A few nearby park blogs including Cedar Point’s and Kings Island’s along with the many coaster sites on the web have expressed their condolences towards Holiday World and the Kochs. The members, administration, and staff here at COASTER-net also have them in our prayers.