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Koch, Rudolph Leon


Rudolph “Rudy” L. Koch, 79, of Princeton, Texas passed away Tuesday Nov. 3, 2020, peacefully at home surrounded by his family.

Rudy was born November 21, 1940 in San Antonio to the late Rudolph William Koch and the late Germaine (Wille) Hazelrigg.  Proud of his German heritage and Texan roots, he enlisted in the United States Air Force not long after graduating Kaiserslautern High School in Germany.  He posted first to Okinawa, Japan after Basic, where he met and married Sachiko Tamaki in 1965 and took up scuba diving.  His tours of duty brought his family abroad, where they enjoyed a life of discovery and cultural immersion.  He retired Chief Master Sergeant in 1993 after completing his last tour, coincidentally back in Okinawa where he got another chance to dive its coral reefs, this time with his grown sons.

Chief Koch’s forceful leadership served him well in running best-in-command PMEL labs (Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratories) serving all military branches, establishing the first-ever high intensity radiation and laser calibration facilities in the Western Pacific theater, and implementing impactful quality management initiatives through process analysis and supervisory empowerment.

With his BS in Professional Aeronautics cum laude from Embry-Riddle, Rudy brought his 31 years of meritorious Air Force experience to the private sector, as a Program Manager at Boeing before culminating his career as F-15/F-18 MCM Program Manager, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, and retiring for good in 2005.  He and Sachiko built their forever home on 20 acres near Lake Lavon, enjoying quiet country living and sailing his West Wight Potter.  When his community called on him, Rudy didn’t hesitate to volunteer, where he served many years on the Board of the Culleoka Water Supply Corporation eventually as Vice President until he passed.  Rudy typified his life by industriousness, humor, and integrity. The relationships he nurtured with family, friends and colleagues were meaningful and lasting.

Rudy is preceded in death by his brother, Navy Captain Steve Hazelrigg and survived by his wife of 55 years, Sachiko; two sons, William R. Koch, and wife, Windy, of Pennsylvania and Edward S. Koch, and wife, Yolotl, of Texas; four grandchildren: Alena, Isabel, Stafford and Natalia.

In keeping with Rudy’s wishes, a private family ceremony will accompany his inurnment with military honors at the Dallas Fort Worth National Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family requests that donations in his name be made to the USO ( or Red Cross (

Please leave the family condolences and share memories on this website.

7 Thoughts on Koch, Rudolph Leon
    Dave McClay
    13 Oct 2022

    I had the honor and pleasure of working for/with Rudy at Wakkanai in the early 1970s. I also had the opportunity to meet Sachiko and the boys, though I doubt the boys would remember me. I sent Rudy a long note around the third week of October, and I’m hoping he had a chance to read it. I also spoke with him via a video call about a week before that. I am very, very sorry for your loss.
    (Former) Sgt. Dave McClay, Martinsville, Virginia

    Ron Bara
    13 Oct 2022

    I am so sorry to hear of Rudy’s passing. He was a wonderful man, I enjoyed many visits with him at family functions. He will be missed

    Gary Grogan
    13 Oct 2022

    I worked with Rudy at Rockwell and Boeing as a Program Manager. When Rudy retired from Boeing, I inherited the responsibility for his government commumications businesses in Puerto Rico, Key West, Tinian, San Diego and North Dakota. Rudy was a strong manager. I will miss his subtle humor and smile.

    13 Oct 2022

    I was a “boot” right out of Keesler when I went to work for Rudy at Awase in ’66. We reconnected about 5 years ago and it was then I realized I was still following the guidelines Rudy set forth back in the day. Along the way I would have to say Rudy was the finest manager I ever had. It was an honor to have served with him and my sincere condolences to the Family.

    Kenneth Tripp
    13 Oct 2022

    I will always owe Rudy a debt of gratitude for taking a chance on hiring me back in 1998 on Tinian. His decision made all the difference in our lives for the better. I know that I am just one of many that followed his coattails to a successful career. He was quite a leader and a man to emulate. The rare boss who was also a friend. I am deeply saddened to hear this news. Our prayers for peace for Rudy and his family.

    13 Oct 2022

    To say I am shocked would be an understatement! I am truly sickened at the loss of a good friend and exceptional gentleman.
    I knew your father since 1996. I was fortunate to have a personal and professional relationship with him for about 5 years as one of his Project Managers at Boeing. We kept in touch a bit after we both left Boeing through email and an occasional phone call. I remember also having dinner at your parents house shortly after I left Boeing. Your mother is a truly gracious Lady and my heart goes out to her for this huge loss in her life. Your Dad was such a fun guy. A serious professional in every endeavor but with a great sense of humor!!! Easy to laugh and hard to anger!!! A true leader and strong mentor who will be sincerely missed. He provided the guidance I often needed to get around some sticky personnel events; often created by myself! My condolences to yourself, brother and families.

    Scott Drach
    13 Oct 2022

    Sachiko, William, Edward, other family members. Consistent with the comments from Doug Hawkins, Ken Tripp, and Gary Grogan, My condolences go out to each of you. We meet people in our lives who shape us and inspire us and Rudy did both for me. His preparation and thoughtful approach to people made an enduring and profound impression on me and many others. Fairness, equity and always doing the right thing were the key lessons he taught me.

    I followed Rudy around the world and he taught me many valuable leadership lessons. I am so grateful to be his understudy.

    Sachiko, I remember being in Puerto Rico with him one time and he order fish for dinner and I asked him why he was so exited about the meal and he said Sachiko helps me watch my diet carefully. He always had you on his mind and you came up on every trip. I remember talking with him about how the two of you met and your photography passion.

    So sorry for his passing, but please know what a broad impact he had on many who he worked with. Scott

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The Gillilands
The Gillilands[click to read more]
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Dear John,

It was such a nice pleasure to meet you, and what you had planned for my father just took my breath away. It was so special to hear you tell us how he would just come over to talk with you. I think it brought him much comfort. Tha you for putting that Air Force article of him on your website. I am going to have a replica made of the painting of his plane to give you.

Thank you again for all you have done to honor our dad.

Love, The Gillilands


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