My Pen Pal

When I lived in our little house in town in Montrose, I became friends with my neighbor. He was an elderly gentleman by the name of Gereon Koch. He got a kick out of my garden and my huge Labrador Retrievers. He used to come over to visit all the time and we would talk about the weather, gardening, his family; really anything. He grew up in Missouri, was one of many children from a very large Catholic family. He was very committed to his faith and trust in God. He would walk everyday. When the pecans were dropping, he would collect pecans on his walks and give bags of shelled pecans away to everyone at Christmas time. Even though he could not eat nuts himself due to his false teeth. I never baked him anything with nuts in it. He thought it was funny that I carved so many pumpkins every Halloween even though I didn’t have any kids then.

When I moved to Arizona, we became pen pals and wrote each other regularly until about a year ago he could not see well enough to write any longer. I continued to write to him and someone would read the letters aloud to him.

His 98 birthday was June 28th. When the birthday card I sent to him was returned I feared the worst. He passed away the week before his 98th birthday.

We were friends for so many years that I would have to think and count to figure it out. He was a gracious soul that never stopped caring for others or believing that there was good in this world.

This was taken in December of 2010. He wrote on the back that he was 96 years, 5 months, 17 days old.

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4 Comments

  1. granny said,

    July 3, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    I THINK IT’S GREAT THAT YOU HAVE HAD A FRIEND LIKE THIS OVER THE YEARS. EVEN THOUGH HE’S GONE FROM THIS EARTH, YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE THOSE MEMORIES. LOVE YA LOTS

  2. Claudia said,

    July 3, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    What a wonderful experience for you. I’m surprised I didn’t realize how close you were with Mr. Koch. Only Shannon, with the ole sole, would be able to continue this relationship. So beautiful I almost cried. You are a wonderful person and I feel blessed to have meant you.

  3. vic said,

    July 4, 2012 at 9:57 AM

    ‘Atta girl’……..bless his heart…

  4. aunt beth said,

    July 5, 2012 at 5:32 AM

    Awww….I almost didn’t read it. I knew you would blog about it at some point. I’m all teary. I’m so glad that you are instilling the same things in that beautiful, sweet niece of ours!


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