August 25, 1950 – October 9, 2018
Jan Keith Kocher, 68, of Claremont, Illinois passed away peacefully on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 at 11:03 p.m., surrounded by his family in the home he and his wife built in 1973.
Visitation will be from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM on Sunday, October 14, 2018 at Kistler-Patterson Funeral Home in Olney. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 AM on Monday, October 15, 2018 at the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Stringtown with burial following in the St. Joseph Cemetery in Stringtown. Full military rites will be performed at the graveside. Memorials may be made to the Richland County Relay for Life or to the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Stringtown.
Jan was one of a set of triplets born on August 25, 1950, the son of Robert N. and Bernadette (Rennier) Kocher. They were the first set of surviving triplets born in Richland County at the Jackson Hospital. They were quite famous for that time period, many people having never seen triplets before. People traveled to their home to see these little miracles, each weighing 5 pounds or more at birth. They even gained national recognition by the Pet Milk Company and Carnation, who both rivaled for a contract to provide them milk for their first year of life. Pet Milk Company ultimately was awarded the contract.
Jan married his one true love, Judith (Green) on August 25, 1973. She survives. He attended St. Joseph School in Stringtown through 8th grade, graduated from East Richland High School in 1968 and graduated from Wabash Valley College with an Associate’s Degree in Agricultural Mechanics. He served in the U.S. Army National Guard for six years thereafter. Jan was instrumental in the formation of what is now Master Halco in Olney. He retired from Master Halco after 36 years of service. He was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Stringtown and served on their cemetery committee for several years.
Jan never met a stranger and was soon to become friends with everyone he met, never short of a story or a joke to share. He was a man full of life and always had a positive outlook. Jan had a big heart for people. He loved visiting his neighbors and lending a helping hand. He loved to share words of encouragement with others as they would start their journey to battle cancer and continued to be a friend to share their experiences. One of the annual events Jan was honored to attend was the Richland County Relay for Life. He would beam with the biggest smile as he walked the survivor lap.
Jan enjoyed many things in his 68 years. He took pleasure in hunting, fishing, gardening, yard work and mowing, backyard cookouts, four-wheeler riding, going to the coffee shop, and living the country life. He enjoyed working in his shop and had the ability to either fix or build almost anything. In his retirement years he began to restore Cub Cadet garden tractors and attend tractor shows. This quickly became one of his favorite hobbies as he was awarded the first trophy in his life at the age of 64 from the tractor show at the Richland County Fair, with many more trophies to follow.
Grandchildren were a joyful addition to Jan’s later years and became a central part of his life. He loved to teach them life skills and the value of hard work. Jan was a devoted “PaPa” who was so very proud of all eight of his grandchildren. Along with adoring his family, he also enjoyed the companionship of his beloved dog, Olivia.
He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Judith (Green) Kocher; daughter, Tonia Inskeep and husband Ben, of Claremont; son, Kerry Kocher and wife Sabrina, of Claremont; daughter, Melissa Smith and husband Adam, of Flora; grandchildren, Mikaela, Raley and Avalyn Inskeep, Kadence and Ethan Kocher, and Carson, Connor and Audra Smith; mother, Bernadette Kocher, of Olney; brother, Ed (Sue) Kocher; triplet sisters, Judy (Gary) Fehrenbacher and Joan (Dave) Buerster; brothers, Jeff (Diane) Kocher and Tim (Paula) Kocher; sister-in-law, Eloise Kocher of Claremont; and numerous nieces and nephews, cousins and extended family and friends.
He was preceded in death by his father, Robert N. Kocher; infant brother, Joseph Kocher; and brother, Michael Kocher.