By Steve Plunkett

Mayor William Koch Jr., who served as Gulf Stream’s top elected official for more than half his life, has died. He was 91.

Despite being a very public servant, Mayor Koch was a “very private and humble man,” the town said about his June 16 death, noting he was a decorated pilot-bombardier in World War II, a successful real estate broker and a founding member of Bethesda Memorial Hospital.

 “There are many accolades which can be said about Bill, but it was his desire to pass respectfully without fanfare,” the town’s notice continued. The Gulf Stream Civic Association planned to email the notice to its members.

Mayor Koch was thanked again by state Rep. Bill Hager at the Town Commission’s June 8 meeting. Hager last year gave the mayor an official tribute in the Florida House congratulating “his ongoing and longstanding dedication” to Gulf Stream.

Commissioner Fred Devitt III said Mayor Koch was dedicated to making sure Gulf Stream maintained its unique character but never sought recognition.
"He will be greatly missed but his contributions will never be forgotten," said Devitt, a commissioner for the past 15 years.

Mayor Koch was appointed a town commissioner in 1956, the same year he opened his real estate firm, and first became mayor in 1966. He was also a mosquito commissioner and one of the first paid lifeguards for Delray Beach.

In February WPBT presented Mayor Koch a Lifetime Service Award for his commitment to public broadcasting. The mayor was on Channel 2’s board of directors more than 30 years.

He is survived by his wife and Rollins College sweetheart, Freddie; son, William III, and daughter-in-law, Laura, of Gulf Stream; daughter, Claudia, and son-in-law, Scott Burns, of Phoenix; and grandchildren Lauren and Scott.

The family planned a private service and asked that instead of flowers, donations be made to the Bethesda Memorial Hospital Foundation or WPBT.

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