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Alice & Lester Koch, 1980. Family photo. 
Alice Alta Nahrgang was born in Wilmot Township, Waterloo County, Ontario on 1 February 1913 at home to Menno Nahrgang (16 March 1867-30 June 1962) and Amelia Millie Bergey Nahrgang (20 September 1873-19 April 1936). Alice was their only child, but she was raised along with two foster brothers, Alfred and Philip Richardson. The family lived on a farm near New Hamburg, where she lived most of her life. They attended Biehn Mennonite Church, and Alice was baptized on 11 January 1924.  

Alice trained in Stratford to become a public school teacher. She taught nine years in a one-room school of eight grades with as many as 50 pupils. While teaching, she studied for a B.A. degree which she received in 1938 from the University of Toronto.   

On 14 August 1940, Alice married Lester Koch (20 May 1906-20 August 1993). For the next two decades they farmed and raised 10 children. When home responsibilities decreased, Alice became involved in Home and School events at the public school, did some supply teaching, attended sewing circle and taught adult Sunday School. She served in the Ontario Women's Missionary and Service Commission (WMSC), including several years as president. Starting in 1976, and continuing for 25 years, she was the volunteer supervisor at the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Cutting Room at 50 Kent Ave., Kitchener, stocking fabric for sewing circles, making supplies available for school and health kits, Christmas bundles, etc.

Her interest in history led Alice to involvement in the Mennonite Historical Society of Ontario for 27 years, serving as president for 11 years. As the congregation's historian, she wrote a short history of the Biehn Church for its 90th anniversary in 1960. She also co-authored Nith Valley Mennonite Church and its Roots, the 25 year history since the 1975 merger if the Biehn and Blenheim Mennonite churches. 

Alice also enjoyed piecing hundreds of quilt and comforter tops, quilted some of them and donated them to the Mennonite Relief Sales, MCC projects, and to her 10 children and over 20 grandchildren. She was honoured to present the Mennonite Bicentennial Quilt to Governor General Madame Sauvé in 1986.

Alice Koch used her long life to serve God through her family, church and community, and described her life in her book, A Time for Memories in 2002. Alice Koch died 7 August 2011; she and Lester are buried in the Nith Valley Mennonite Church cemetery.


Author(s) Earl Koch
Date Published January 2013


Cite This Article

MLA style

Koch, Earl. "Koch, Alice Nahrgang (1913-2011)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. January 2013. Web. 25 Dec 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Koch,_Alice_Nahrgang_(1913-2011)&oldid=95573.

APA style

Koch, Earl. (January 2013). Koch, Alice Nahrgang (1913-2011). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 25 December 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Koch,_Alice_Nahrgang_(1913-2011)&oldid=95573.




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