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Holiday World (HW) Discussion Thread

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... I'd rather see our members be more proactive and charitable and not just melodramatic and weepy. Do something that will make a difference for other people...


I agreed. It's a loss but let live the legacy of what Will has done in the past. I just contribute money to one of the listed charity of what I can out of my college budget but I made it do. That's all I got to say. It's a loss in the Industry and I hope people/industry will follow his path that he has started and be able to continue the path of the awesome success. Robb is already doing it. He is making people (us as TPR member) happy and moving forward with adding new things to the site and on the tour from what I'm hearing/seeing. No need to brag but Wes and Robb are 125% right on the ball.

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I'm from Louisville and without and alternate source, I don't believe one thing that WHAS 11 says!

WHAS 11 has had to pay 3 million in damages to Kentucky Kingdom for falsely reporting the facts behind the Starchaser accident for just ONE example. My thoughts go out to Mr. Koch's family and friends. This is all unreal!

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Why is it always the great ones that go so early!? The couple of times I got to meet him during visits to the park, (esp. Holiwood Nights), he was always so friendly and caring. Our family always recognized Will for his infectious laugh from several videos and tv shows. He always wanted to know how we were enjoying the park, and sometimes even asked what could be better. He was truly a man who knew how to run a park, and a real teacher and leader in this industry. From the time we made our first trip to HW on Labor Day weekend of 2000, up until now, I think that park has practically doubled in size, (esp. Splashin' Safari)...just amazing!


Thanks Will! You will be sooooo missed. Koch's and the whole HW family...you are in our prayers!

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Here is another article now reporting the cause of death was drowning in the swimming pool, which the park confirms :




INDIANAPOLIS - Holiday World & Splashin' Safari owner Will Koch died due to asphyxiation from drowning, the Spencer County coroner and a park representative said Wednesday.


Paula Werne, spokeswoman for the amusement park in Santa Claus, said Koch's wife found him in the family pool. Werne said the family believes Koch's diabetes was a contributing factor, as he was an excellent swimmer.


"We're assuming the diabetes caused him to drown," Werne said.


A funeral service for Koch is set for 10:30 a.m. Thursday at the Santa Claus United Methodist Church.

Koch died Sunday. He was 48.

Edited by robbalvey
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truly horrible. Will Koch is holiday world. I can only imagine what kind of mourning and grief the family and park is going through. My mother has diabetes and I couldn't bear the thought of her passing in that way. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved. I will be sending his charity some money as we all should.

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I had the chance to meet Will at Holiwood Nights, and I was immediately impressed with how genuine and warm he was. He was a true theme park enthusiast, and it was clear from the way he ran the park that he cared so much about giving the guests the best possible experience and making Holiday World one of the best parks in the country. When other parks were charging more and more for drinks, Will gave them away for free. While other parks have starting charging $15+ for parking, Will kept that free. While other parks were focusing on smaller and cheaper rides, Will made sure that Holiday world always had the longest, the tallest, and the best. He was a true icon in the industry and a great man, and he will be sorely missed.


It's sad to see someone who was so full of life taken away from us so soon, but Holiday World will always be his legacy. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Koch family, as well as to the entire Holiday World team.


Will's death should also be a reminder that being in water with no one around is dangerous no matter how old or how good of a swimmer you are. I had a friend who drowned and have others who have had close calls, and all of them were strong swimmers. Hopefully the publicity surrounding Will Koch can help people remember that pool safety isn't just for children.

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Dan Koch has been officially named as the new president of Holiday World. He is not the brother who has been running the campground for the last several years. He is a partner at a law firm in Florida.




SANTA CLAUS, Ind. — The Koch family announced this morning it will continue to own and operate Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari “into perpetuity” and that Dan Koch is the new president.


Dan Koch, 46, takes the helm following the sudden death of his brother, Will, earlier this month.


“Will and I have been business partners for decades and have spoken on the phone daily for more than 30 years,” Koch said in a press release. “I consider it an honor to step in as president and continue the expansion plans my brother and I crafted together. In the meantime, Will’s three children will have time to finish their education and learn more about the family business before they decide how they would like to be involved in the future of the park.”


Koch said his mother, Pat, will continue as the park’s director of values, greeting guests at the front gate and providing motivation and guidance to the management and staff.


“Our company was reorganized two years ago when Will promoted two of our park directors to general managers,” Koch noted. “These GMs will keep the park running smoothly as we move into the heart of the season and prepare for next year.”


Koch said he will “stay the course” with the park’s long-range growth plans, community involvement and philanthropic efforts.


Koch is a partner in the law firm Koch & Trushin in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and said he plans regular trips to the Santa Claus park and daily communication with management. He is married and has two young children.


Along with his four siblings, Koch grew up in the town of Santa Claus and worked various jobs at the theme park started by his father and grandfather in 1946, including working games and hauling trash.


He is a graduate of the University of Miami

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Not begrudging at all, actually. Dan and Will have been business partners for years and spoke daily. Dan grew up here and loves the park and his family. He never would have chosen this set of circumstances, but he's chosen good-heartedly to step in where he is needed. He's a good guy.


Thanks, Paula

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I'm sure Dan is a great guy, and I wish Holiday World only the best. I love the park, and I especially love the way it's run. The idea that he'll be running it from Florida is the primary reason for my cynicism. But it is, of course, ultimately, none of my business anyway.


Truly sad about Will. He will be missed--even by those of us who only met him once or twice.

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