You regulars will know that our family visits Holiday World most years, and we are fans of this family-friendly, clean park. A few weeks ago, I asked on the Facebook page for blog post ideas, and Pat Koch came up.
Who, you may ask, is Pat Koch? And why the Holiday World connection?
These days, Pat Koch *is* Holiday World. Her son, Dan, owns the park, but Pat is a constant presence. I think I’ve seen her on each recent visit we’ve taken. She is always walking around, interacting with guests and smiling. It’s amazing, really, when you consider that she is 79 years old.
Other than recognizing Pat as the energetic lady about the park, I didn’t know a lot about her. But a little research, as well as a helpful email from Paula Werne, Holiday World’s director of public relations, turned up some interesting tidbits about this energetic lady:
- She has a master’s degree in pastoral ministry and was a nun for 10 years
- Her father was Santa Claus in the park when it was still Santa Claus Land
- She has been involved at Holiday World since marrying its owner and developer, the late Bill Koch
- She loves to quilt and sing, and learned to play violin as an adult
- She’s a 10-year colon cancer survivor
- She founded the Santa Claus Museum in town
- She is the force behind the park’s obsession with cleanliness and friendliness (as a visitor, I have to say: it’s working!)
- She heads up the Santa’s Elves organization, which ensures that every child’s letter arriving to Santa receives a personal reply
My belief in God is not so much wrapped around the institution, though I love it. Unless I live in the moment and see God in everybody every day, all the rest is really just stuff. God and respecting my God is what’s important. — Pat Koch