Generous and well-known community member remembered

CHARLES Guthrie August Koch, of "Tallageira", near Frances, will be remembered as a generous, involved member of the local community.

Born on May 11, 1946 to Charles August and Beryl (nee Guthrie), Charles died on December 20, 2013, aged 67. He had two sisters, Diana and Rosemary.

The Koch family lived in Naracoorte while the family home at Tallageira was being built in the early 1950s.

Charles started primary school at the Catholic Convent in Naracoorte until the house at Tallageira was finished in 1952, after which he transferred to Frances Primary School.

At age 11 Charles went to boarding school at Rostrevor College in Adelaide - where he went through to leaving honours in 1962.

Charles was a good scholar and did well in his final exams, winning a Commonwealth Scholarship which would have covered his university fees.

He considered studying law but decided to return to the land and make farming his life's work.

The 1960s were the time of the Vietnam War and conscription.

Charles's birth date was drawn out and he was sent to Puckapunyal for six weeks' basic training.

He then went to the Officer Training Unit for six months and graduated as a Lieutenant, from where he was posted to Lavarack Barracks in Townsville as a platoon commander.

While he volunteered to go to Vietnam he was lucky enough not to be sent.

At the end of his army service Charles came home to the farm at Tallageira, spending his free time playing tennis and football for Border Districts - where he became a premiership ruckman.

In 1970 he met Julie Porter, who was a teacher at Frances Primary School - marrying her three years later on June 1, 1973 at Rostrevor College Chapel.

Their first child, Charlie, was born in 1974 and Louis followed in 1975 before daughter Alice came along in 1978.

Charles was very passionate about farming.

During his lifetime Tallageira changed from a mostly grazing property to a very diverse mixed farming enterprise.

He moved into large scale cropping - readily using and understanding new technology. The business still included wool growing, fat lambs and cattle.

Livestock numbers were able to be retained by expansion of the existing properties at Frances, Wrattonbully and Struan and the purchase of a grazing property at Furner.

Charles was the third generation of his family to farm at Tallageira - in February 2011, the Koch family had been farming there for 100 years.

He was well known as a successful and fair negotiator in his business dealings.

Most of his contracts, whether buying or selling, continue to be recurring today and some of his staff have been with Tallageira for more than one generation and in excess of 30 years.

As the years passed Charles was involved in a lot of local organisations - in fields including sports, education, farming and local government - and gave generously to important community causes, particularly Naracoorte Hospital.

He was with the Shire of Kowree from 1978-95, including as president in 1987 and 1988.

Charles was influential in the establishment of the MacKillop Farm management Group and was a founding committee member from 1998 until 2003.

He was also instrumental in the formation of the Neuarpurr White Clover Growers Association, which eventually became known as the White Clover Growers Association. Later in life Charles and Julie became interested in camping and spent holidays travelling around Australia.

A respected member of the community and well liked by everyone he met, Charles was farewelled at a service at St Thomas Aquinas Church in Naracoorte on December 27, 2013.

He is survived by wife Julie and his children Charlie, Louis and Alice and their families.

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