Cover photo for Sharon Koch's Obituary
Sharon Koch Profile Photo
1938 Sharon 2016

Sharon Koch

November 11, 1938 — February 1, 2016

Sharon Lorraine (Church) Koch, of Frostburg, died in her sleep Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, at her home following a long illness. She was 77 years old. Born Nov. 11, 1938, in Flint, Mich., she was the daughter of the late Amos A. and Dorothy V. (Cutler) Church. Sharon graduated from Northern High School in Flint in 1957 and briefly attended Flint Junior College, where she majored in art. On Aug. 10, 1957, she married Richard T. "Dick" Koch. During their 58 years of marriage, they lived in Danville, Ind., and Garrett County, Md., before settling in Frostburg in 1969. Throughout her life, Sharon touched the lives of many people in her local community and beyond. She was instrumental in organizing Frostburg Meals on Wheels, and she and Dick coordinated the program in Frostburg for more than three decades, ending only when her health became too poor to continue. While raising their children, Sharon taught Sunday school and participated in various ministries at Emmanuel United Methodist Church in Finzel. She was active in Shawnee Girl Scout Council for more than 25 years, where she served as leader of Girl Scout Junior Troop 73 and Cadet Troop 55, as well as serving on the Council’s board of directors. She was also a Cub Scout den mother and a 4-H leader. Sharon’s activities included work with the Frostburg Community Theatre, the American Field Service, the Allegany County United Way board of directors, the Area Agency on Aging, the Red Hat Society, and the Frostburg Garden Club. She served in various educational, missional and leadership positions with Frostburg United Methodist Church. Sharon was a longtime active volunteer with a variety of emergency services agencies. She was a Life Member of Frostburg Area Ambulance Service, where she volunteered as dispatcher and crew member for more than 25 years. She served as an active member of the Western Maryland Specialized Crime Scene Search Team, and an instructor and instructor trainer for the American Red Cross. For 13 years, she chaired disaster services for the local chapter of the American Red Cross, assisting local families affected by emergencies. She also served on the National Disaster Response Team, travelling throughout the country to assist those in need. From her first response in the US Virgin Islands after Hurricane Hugo in 1989 until her final assignments following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, she helped thousands of families affected by natural disasters. She also spent five weeks providing family services in New York City after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Her work garnered her recognition through the years. Public acknowledgements for her service include the Delbert Payton Community Service Award for Outstanding Achievement and Service from the City of Frostburg in 2004, the Jack Baumiller Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Western Potomac Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Good Citizen Award from the Maryland State Police, and several certificates of appreciation from Health Occupations Students of America. In addition to her husband, Richard, she is survived by a sister, Bernice Frederick and husband James of Owosso, Mich.; four children: Steven D. Koch, of Dale City, Va., Alicia D. Garbelman and husband Kevin, of Dale City, Va., Celeste D. Nichols and husband Roger of Newark, Ohio, and Vivian D. Laxton and husband Dan of Walkersville, Md; six grandchildren: Scott Garbelman of Annandale, Va., Christopher Nichols of Newark, Ohio, Austin Garbelman and wife Ashley of Renton, Wash., Emily Nichols of Newark, Ohio, and Colin Laxton and Tim Laxton, both of Walkersville, Md.; a great-grandson; and numerous nieces and nephews. The family would also like to thank the caring and supportive nursing staff of WMHS Hospice Services. The family will receive friends on Thursday Feb. 4, from 7-9 p.m. at Sowers Funeral Home, 60 W. Main St., Frostburg. A celebration of Sharon’s life will be held at Frostburg United Methodist Church on Friday at 11:00 a.m. with Pastor Jennifer Webber officiating. Friends will be received one hour before the service. Burial will follow at Frostburg Memorial Park. Pallbearers will be Scott Garbelman. Colin Laxton, and Tim Laxton. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the charity of one’s choice.


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