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Dorothy L. Koch

August 15, 2019

Dorothy Louise Dohrman Koch, Newton, Kansas, gained her eternal reward on Thursday, August 15, 2019. Dorothy was born February 23, 1941 in Delia, Kansas in her grandmother’s bedroom.  Though she was an only child, she never saw herself that way and, instead, liked to think she was blessed to be “everyone’s child.”  She attended Catholic schools her entire life and it would be upon that foundation that she would build her life.

She is survived by her husband, Vern; her four daughters, Rae Niles (Doug) of Sedgwick; Dana Knott (Terry) of Hesston; Joy Gehrer (Kory) of Zimmerdale; and Jana McKinney (Kyle Headrick) of Zimmerdale; as well as her beloved grandchildren Abby and Mark Walker; Megan and Aaron Austin; Andy and Donna Niles; Morgan and Nathan Simmons; Garrett and Laura McKinney; Chance and Tayler Gehrer; Madi  Gehrer; Wyatt McKinney; Ellie McKinney; and Kyle Rutschman; great-grandchildren Madden; Sam; Winston; Abel; Kade; Lin; Logan; Lance; twins, Coleman and Peyton; Elliott; and Baby Boy Gehrer; step brothers Gary Burgett, Terry Burgett, and Greg Burgett.  She was preceded in death by her parents, Raphael J. Dohrman and Helen L. Dohrman Burgett; and son-in-law, Lance McKinney.

Dorothy was a world-class pie maker, wedding cake baker, sugar Easter egg maker, and caterer extraodinaire feeding as many as 1,000 people in one meal.  She was a perpetual student and traveled the world.  She boasted being a skilled weighmaster, daily mass attendee, and famous radio personality, giving the daily hog markets for more than 25 years.  She and Vern have faithfully given one hour each week to the Perpetual Adoration since its inception in 1990.  She was a charter member of the Divine Mercy Prayer Group, church lector, Eucharistic minister, birdwatcher, avid reader, Harvey County 4-H supporter, Sunday school teacher, dominoes enthusiast, Girl Scout leader, card shark, hoarder of rosaries and other religious relics, trailblazer for medical advancements and scientific research, 22-year cancer survivor, and a call-it-like-she-sees-it-straight-shooter who, as surrogate mother to the masses, single-handedly taught more kids to drive hogs and stick-shift, all in the same summer. She opened her home to anyone and everyone, whether they were Labo Exchange students, kids needing summer jobs, or just someone down on their luck.  She had a gracious heart and loved people.






On December 31, 1961 Dorothy and Vern were married at Immaculate Conception Church in St. Mary’s, Kansas and began their life together where they were blessed with almost 58 years of marriage.  Her family was her greatest joy and a source of immense pride.  From an early age she taught her four daughters the value of hard work and to believe that they could do anything they wanted, if they simply put their mind to it. She and Vern owned and operated Newton Livestock, where they bought hogs for 40 years.  She was also a partner and clerk for Auction Specialists in Newton and thoroughly enjoyed the thousands of people she met along the way, considering each one a friend.  Dorothy was the woman behind the man, supporting Vern in all of his endeavors. She was her grandchildren’s biggest cheerleader and supporter attending every activity or event they were ever involved in.   She had a fiery spirit, a quick wit, and was a strong and brave soul showing immense courage, grace and conviction. She loved her family and she loved Jesus. Her devotion and faith were an inspiration to all who knew and loved her.  Those lucky enough to be loved by her in this life will miss her loyalty, laughter, glass-half-full attitude, fighting spirit, unending friendship, and unconditional love.  She will be deeply mourned, eternally loved but, most of all, she will be celebrated.

Family will be present for visitation Sunday, August 18, from 4:00 to 6:45 p.m., with recitation of the rosary immediately following at 7:00 Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Newton.  Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30, Monday, August 19, 2019 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Newton,with private burial to follow at Eastlawn Cemetery, Zimmerdale, Kansas.

In lieu of flowers, please consider memorials to Our Lady of Guadalupe Church Food Pantry, or St. Jude’ Children’s Research Hospital, c/o Petersen’s Funeral Home, Newton, Kansas.


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36 thoughts on “Dorothy L. Koch

  1. I am sorry for your loss. Dorothy sounded like she was an amazing mother and grandmother. Praying for the Petersen family as they grieve the loss of this amazing woman.

  2. Sincere sympathy to you, Dorothy’s family– she was an amazing woman. Her obituary reads of a life well lived. Earthly life complete, eternal life begins.

  3. Our sincere condolences to Dorothy’s family. She was a jewel to her family, friends, and community. We will miss her welcoming smile and friendship.

  4. So sorry for your loss. I believe I met Mrs. Koch when I was a clerk in Newton during one of our safety celebrations. She was always friendly, made delicious food and had a smile on her face. Praying for you and your family.

  5. How fitting that she passed on the feast day of the Assumption of our Blessed Virgin Mary. We will miss her leading the singing at daily mass. Our community is richer for her many contributions, and much poorer with her loss.

  6. Rest In Peace, Mrs. Koch

    Sweet women and she will be missed by myself and many. I’ll never forget that beautiful smile.

  7. I am so sorry for Vern, the girls and all the precious grandkids. Peace and blessings for the whole family.
    Love, Ellen DiLorenzo

  8. Vern and family,
    I send my condolences. I rejoice in Dorothy’s life knowing that she is in heaven and has probably already met up with my mom. Rosie. Dorothy was such a comforting friend to her and mama really appreciated her friendship. May the Lord continue to bless you!

    Veronica Camargo
    Denver, CO

  9. Loosing a Mom is so hard ; Rae, Dana, Joy and Jana, and Families, you all have my deepest sympathy.
    O probably first met Dorothy a little while before Jana was born, so 50 years ago. I only most recently felt like I got to know her better by seeing her smiling face at daily Mass, and as Mark said, enjoyed having her lead us in singing at Mass. She always had a smile for our Grandson Knox as she left Mass, I appreciated her acknowledging us. She came to my rescue when I slept on the ice before Mass last November offering a butter knolife and wash cloth to stop the bleeding. She was ALWAYS so helpful!!!
    She made our Family so HAPPY when she made copies of my Mom’s prayer book for us, – ALWAYS so kind and helpful , when our dear Mother entered Eternal Life. Thank You, Dear Dorothy for comforting us in our grief!
    A few of us prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet after daily Mass and asked for Blessed Stanley Rother’s intercession for her healing. She has now joined him, and our Mom in heaven.
    What a wonderful woman! We will not be at her Rosary and funeral Mass, since we are traveling. We will be praying for you all and thinking of your Family

  10. Vern and family- we are mourning the loss of Dorothy. Mike has so many good memories of J.C.s. I was privelaged to know Dorothy for a very short time but really thankful for friendship. God bless as you carry on without her earthy presence!

  11. It is so hard to loose a Mother. Dorothy will be greatly missed by all who knew her. Our deepest sympathy, love and prayers for Vern, Rae, Dana, Joy and Jana and their Families. Although I remember first meeting Dorothy almost 50 years ago a little while before Jana was born, I most recently was able to know her better by attending daily Mass and having her lead the singing. She always had a sweet smile for our Grandson as she left Mass and asked where he was a few weeks ago when I saw her at daily Mass. I appreciated her acknowledging him and it was nice to visit with her about her Grandchildren and great Grandchildren after Mass.
    Dorothy was SO KIND, thoughtful and helpful. When I slipped on the ice last November, she helped me by getting me a wash cloth and knife to help stop the bleeding, telling me when one of her daughter’s had busted their head open, she used the pressure of a knife to stop the bleeding- (learned something that day. ) When our own dear Mother entered Eternal Life last December, she was SO KIND and made and lamenated copies of our Mom’s prayer book for us, how comforting she was to us in our grief.
    We prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet and asked for Blessed Stanley Rother’s intercession for her healing after daily Mass. She has now joined him and our Mom in heaven. She will be so greatly missed, – at Mass, seeing her in the early morning with her husband at Druber’s, and missed her helping with the 4-H Sale a couple of weeks ago.
    Thanks to your Mom for all she did , our sympathy, thoughts, and prayers .

  12. Our deepest sympathy to Vern, the girls and all the family. We met Vern and Dorothy after I began working with Joy. Dorothy was always so kind, always had a smile and was sooo proud of her family. Heaven has gained a great worker. I can imagine Dorothy checking on the saints, angels and our Lord just to make sure they’re all doing OK.

  13. Patsy and I are deeply saddened by the passing of such a grand lady. Vern, the girls and their families will be in our thoughts and prayers. Both of us had the privilege of meeting Dorothy and Vern in the 1970’s through the Newton Jaycees. Right from the start we knew that this woman was special. Her warm smile, positive attitude and tireless energy would literally light up the room.

    Visits with Dorothy and Vern, on our infrequent return to the Newton community, were always eagerly anticipated. We will miss you dear friend.

  14. We are so sorry for your loss, Dorothy was a beautiful person. So kind and gentle.
    The Faris Family

  15. I am so sorry for your loss. What a blessing to have her as your mother. My heart hurts for your family.

  16. I am deeply saddened by the loss that your family has encountered and I express my sincere sympathy to you
    God is our refuge and strength

  17. Harvey county was blessed when vern and Dorothy with her parents decided to relocate to Newton. We have enjoyed many years of friendship and working with them. The years of 2 generations of 4-Hers with our families.

  18. Dorothy is quiet demeanor always made a loud statement !!
    My sympathy to all of the Koch family.

  19. Dorothy was a very dear friend of my husband’s family. She will be missed so much, but I know she is sitting at the side of our Lord. I absolutely adored her fiery spirit!!

  20. Dana,
    My condolences to you and your family, losing a parent is tough. I read about her firery spirit and see where you get it. That’s a great thing. Treasure the memories!

  21. My heart is saddened by the news. Dorothy was so sweet and would do anything for anyone. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire family.

  22. Rick and I were so sorry to learn of Dorothy’s passing. She was such a wonderful person. When I first came to the Kansas Auction Convention, I felt very out of place and alone. Dorothy came up to me and made me feel part of the group. She was that kind of a person. She will be sincerely missed. Vern, you and your family will be in our thoughts and prayers.

  23. knew Dorothy when She was in St.Marys High School. She was One of a Kind then. never knew a stranger and made all feel welcome. Sending Prayers to the Family

  24. To Vern and Family. It was a privilege to have known you and Dorothy for over 40 years. She had such patience for a very young Jaycee Jane. Always enjoyed talking with her at the auctions. Always made me feel like a dear friend. May God bless you all and send you comfort and peace.

  25. Dorothy I will miss our weekly coffee and donut time together. You were always there for the 4H kids and helping at the county fair. Thank you.

  26. Dorothy was an example to me with her legacy of goodwill & generosity-and she could make short work of a steak too!
    I admired her many talents and spot on sense of humor-always an entertaining friend.
    My condolences and love
    Pam McCullough

  27. We are so sorry to hear the news. Dorothy’s obituary is a great tribute to an amazing woman. She had tremendous abilities as noted and could multitask incredibly. I remember her weighing hogs, writing out tickets, talking on the phone, and hearing what Vern was hollering up from the ring, all at the same time. What a woman! It was an honor to have known her and she leaves a wonderful legacy for her family. Everyday is a great day for her now for all eternity, because she chose Jesus as her Lord and Savior. She will be missed and our thoughts and prayers are with Vern and the family.

  28. Dorothy was ever present in all the lives she touched. She was a rock, and I never heard her say a bad word about anyone. She will lead the angels in heaven!! It will be a big celebration!

    Blessings to her family!

  29. Vern, Rae, Dana, Joy, Jana, and families —
    So saddened to hear about Dorothy. She was an amazing lady!! Boundless energy, always a friendly smile, and so generous in so many ways. Years ago, I remember hearing my mother saying of Dorothy, “she just goes like a house on fire”. True that. I like to think that she and my dad are having lunch together in heaven. ❤️She will be so missed by so many. Thinking of all of you so much and sending you all big hugs.

  30. We just recently learned of Dorothy death. So sorry Vern & family. It was an honor to know her. Allen & Chris Campbell Ottawa Ks

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