By JOHN T. WARD
Friends and family eulogized Fair Haven Councilman Jerome A. Koch, Jr. with love and humor in the form of some of his favorite aphorisms Thursday, four days after he died from injuries suffered in a bicycling accident on River Road.
Setting aside the “nightmare” circumstances of Koch’s death, one of his four children told a packed Church of the Nativity that her father “would be telling us to knock off with the crying.”
Among the adages cited by eulogists were:
“You can’t change what you had for breakfast.”
“Never let the little you can do stop you from doing the little you can do.”
Kathryn Koch said her father was almost always the first one to bed at night, usually heading upstairs with a history book in hand.
His trademark sign-off, she said, was “Good night, guys. Never change.”
Koch, 63, had served on the council since 2006, but lost his re-election bid to Democrat Aimee Humphreys last month. His term was to have ended December 31.
Shortly before Koch was struck by a vehicle near Elm Place last Saturday, Mayor Ben Lucarelli saw him on his bike, stopping to pick up roadside litter, a practice he was long known for in the close-knit borough.
“There is meaning in the way he passed,” said Kathryn. “We take solace in the fact that he died doing what he loved: riding his bike on his way home to watch Notre Dame,” his alma mater, play football.
Referring to a two-town agreement Koch was instrumental in forging, a lifelong friend, George Cady, quipped that Koch “was most proud of the fact that he found a way to get Rumson to pay for the Fair Haven dump.”
His son, Jerome, known as Jake, recalled their last golf outing, at which the elder Koch, after teeing off, replaced the divot he’d created, and then another.
“He said, ‘son, always fix yours, then fix someone else’s,'” Koch said.