John Gordon Koch

White River Jct., Vt. — John Gordon Koch, 86, passed away on Wednesday, May 28, 2014, after a brief illness. John was born in Woodsville, N.H. on March 17, 1928, to William F. Koch, Sr. and Lillie Koch and grew up in Haverhill, N.H.

John was a serious student of music from an early age. After finishing off his high school career at Phillips Academy he then studied at John Hopkins University and the Peabody Conservatory of Music simultaneously. After graduating, he majored in composition with Bernard Wagenaar and Peter Mennin at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City where he won a Fulbright Scholarship which enabled him, in 1960, to study with the celebrated Nadia Boulanger in Paris.

He joined the U.S. armed forces in 1951 and traveled with their musical entertainment services overseas during the Korean War until 1957.

After returning from the war he lived in New York City where he worked for G. Schirmer Inc. Music Company. He had a successful career accompanying musicians and lieder singers on tour. He wrote many symphonies, concertos, chamber music and other light, lyrical songs. He taught and worked in musical shows in the area and in 1969 was appointed editor for the American Recorder Magazine.

In later life he settled in White River Junction and was a teacher of piano and recorder to many children and adults. He entertained with his own musical talent throughout the area such as a performance of original lieder compositions at Alumni Hall in 2005 prior to his final retirement.

He was influential at the Haverhill Historical Society and played the organ for many years at the Congregational Church in Haverhill, N.H.

He will be dearly missed by many who knew him and his nieces, Margaret Koch and husband, John Perham of North Hampton, N.H. and Suzanne and husband, Michael George of Dover, N.H. and nephews, Thomas Palmer and wife, Joanne of Barrington, N.H. and Richard Koch and wife, Gloria of S. Nashua, N.H.

He was predeceased by his brother, William Koch, Jr. and his father and mother, William and Lillie Koch.

Graveside funeral services will be held on Sunday, June 29, 2014, at 1 p.m. in the family lot in the Ladd Street Cemetery in Haverhill. There are no calling hours.

Donations can be made in his name to the Haverhill Historical Society.

The Hale Funeral Home and Cremation Care of Bradford, Vt. is in charge of arrangements.

To view an online guestbook go to