Gunter W. Koch Tuesday, November 25, 1924 - Saturday, July 8, 2017

Gunter W. Koch, 92, died Saturday, July 8, 2017, at Woodland Terrace of Longmeadow in Niles.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, July 17, at the Seminary Chapel on the campus of Andrews University.  Visitation with the family and viewing will be one hour before the service, also at the Seminary Chapel.  Allred Funeral Home, Berrien Springs, has been entrusted with arrangements, and online messages may be left for the family at

Gunter Koch was born November 25, 1924, in Tokyo, Japan, and lived there with his missionary parents, Pastor and Mrs. Alfred Koch, until the age of 15. He was fluent in the Japanese and German languages. Gunter lived in the United States and supported himself after age 15. He graduated in 1943 and 1945 from high school and junior college at what is now Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee. 

In 1945 he registered in dental school, at what is now Emory University School of Dentistry in Atlanta, Georgia, graduating in 1949 with a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree.  Before starting his senior year at Emory University, he entered the U.S. military and served for three years during the Korean War.

He married Erna Mae Kyle in 1948. Beginning in 1952, they built a successful dental practice in Bangor, Michigan. The couple shared business acumen, a love of music, their church and their family. The couple had two children, Ruth Koch (died 2015) and Gerald Koch (died 2013). Erna Mae passed to her rest in 2006.

After 40 years of dental practice, Gunter retired in 1992. Upon retirement he developed an interest in photography, and earned a Bachelor of Science in photography at Andrews University, which gave him a renewed zest for travel and life in general. A self-proclaimed workaholic, Gunter also remained active with gardening, boating, skiing, tennis, golf, playing the violin and photography, until he suffered a stroke in 2015.

In October 2009 Gunter married Dorothy Johnson, a widow from California. The Kochs and the Johnsons had been family and professional friends as young professionals in Michigan. Gunter and Dottie kept a home in Berrien Springs and wintered in California.

Gunter leaves behind his beloved wife, Dottie; his son’s former wife, Karen; two grandchildren, Carey Koch and Casey Koch; and four great-grandchildren, CJ, Matthew, Sámya, and Karen; a sister, Hildegard Landschoot of Pebble Beach, California; nieces and nephews, and a host of lifelong friends.


July 17, 2017, 10-11 a.m. Monday

Seminary Chapel, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan

July 17, 2017, 11 a.m. Monday

Seminary Chapel, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan

We are thinking and praying for you, dear Dottie.  In this time of sadness, we thank God for the Blessed Hope where we will see Gunter again.  Our love, Pat and Bill Mutch.

My deepest sympathies to you, dear  Hildegarde.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.  Celebrate his Victory!  Love. Ruth and John 



Gunter and Erna May were long time friends of my family. Our daughters were close friends. We have attended the same SS class for several years with Gunter and Dot. He will be greatly missed.

My husband and I have known Gunter for many years now, and our lives intertwined at many points, both in sadness and in joy. We shared interests in music, travel, photography, and much more. With Dottie also being a shirt-tail relative of mine, I considered him as almost family when he married her. We will miss him and look forward to seeing him again in the Resurrection.

I met Gunther through his daughter Ruth who was my classmate at Andrews University from 1973-1977. The Kochs were so generous in sharing their beautiful home and property on the water with so many student and alumni groups. Cherished times were spent there with that dear family who taught us much about developing our talents, and doing with our might whatever our hands find to do. I choose to believe that their heavenly mansion will have an amazing music room and a photo studio and gallery like none other. It will never, ever be short of welcome guests either.

It is so sad to read about Gunter's going to sleep, but there is a great awakening coming!  He seems like family since he was a schoolmate of my parents at Mt. Pisgah Academy and they shared many happy memories.  It was a blessing to live in Berrien Springs and really get to know him ourselves and appreciate his love for God and His family (and photography!).  I am just sad that we are not in that area now but our thoughts and prayers are with you Dottie and family.  

Dr Koch....What an inspiring life you led. As a kid I couldn't separate you from that dentist drill,  but your passionate embrace for this old world eventually dominated my recollections.  The last time we skied together, well into your 80s, you pulled me with a ski pole out of the back bowls. Such exuberance is rare and precious. I know the last years were difficult because of untimely deaths, but Dottie was the pot of gold you well deserved.  May you rest in peace. 

It is with such sadness that I note Gunter's passing.  Dr. Koch was a tremendous inspiration in how to live life to the fullest!  His daughter, Ruth, was a college classmate of myself and my sister Gloria.  With his journey into photography he cemented a great friendship with my dear friends Don and Becky May.  Through them I have often heard of his amazing zest for life!