Dorothy Ann Northup Koch 1924 - 2024

Dorothy Ann Northup was born October 3, 1924, in Newport, Washington. She was the eldest daughter of Benjamin and Jessie Northup. She died peacefully at home on May 5, 2024, with family nearby, hearing readings from the Book of  Psalms.

Dorothy graduated from Linfield College in 1947 with a degree in English and after college taught high school English in Newport for one year. She married former classmate, Paul Koch, on June 6, 1948. After teaching one year at Lincoln High School in Portland, she made her husband and family her primary life work. Dorothy and Paul enjoyed 65 years together before Paul died in 2013.

From 1964 to 1975, she worked alongside Paul in his VW business, until an auto accident limited her ability to work outside the home. After a long hospitalization and intense physical therapy, Dorothy regained much of her life’s activities. After the accident, she lived with constant pain, but that did not stop her from being kind and loving to all she met. Dorothy embraced hardship or joy with patience, grace and gratitude. She always looked for and focused on the bright, optimistic, and hopeful side of things.

When she was eight years old, Dorothy met Jesus at the Salmon Creek Methodist Church. She had a deep and lasting love for God and prioritized her spiritual growth with daily devotions and prayer. She and Paul were active for many years at First Baptist Church in Portland. She sang in the choir, was part of the Homemakers Sunday school class and hosted a Women’s Circle group for several years. After many years, Dorothy and Paul joined Mountain Park Church in Lake Oswego. Dorothy was faithful to watch various TV preachers when she was no longer able to attend in person. One granddaughter wrote: “I loved how she always talked to me while pointing at me to make sure I understood what she was saying. The last thing she told me before she died was this: ‘Keep your eyes to the path of Christ Jesus. I love you.’”

Family and friends remember her as a rare, precious and elegant woman with a spunky sense of humor; her laughter lit up a room! “Grandma would create humor even out of little things,” a granddaughter shared, “and begin laughing so hard she couldn’t talk!" Another granddaughter remembers: “She was kind, spicy, endlessly fashionable, witty, wise, generous and thoughtful. I hope to be like her.” When the elevator was installed, she joyfully rode up and down in it with her three delighted great-grandsons.

She loved to gather the family together around a beautiful table and treasured being with her children and grandchildren and all of the friends or significant others they brought with them. Whomever she was with felt their importance as she focused upon them, listened, gave advice and gifts of wisdom. She encouraged people when the chips were down and uplifted everyone in prayer. She made sure to always remember to call for birthdays or send a card.

She was captivated by beauty of every kind, from hairstyles, clothing, and music, to flowers of all kinds. Roses, rhododendrons, fuchsias and  petunias were among her favorites. She loved watching the birds in her garden and scolded the squirrels for eating the birdseed. She loved to show off new orchid blooms or flower arrangements on the dining room table. She was so proud, also, of artistic creations made by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, especially food, art and music. She loved beautiful clothes and dressed with great intention every day. She often chose two or three outfits the night before and narrowed them down in the morning. For special events, she planned weeks in advance.

She had an enduring and never-ending love for food, (especially cookies and ice cream), and always wanted to know the most important detail of everyone’s experiences: what did you eat? In the past few years, she was open to trying new kinds of food and was faithful to watch one of her favorite cooking shows in the evening. One of her favorites, Ina Garten, said, “I love to take something ordinary and make it special.” Seems like maybe they were kindred spirits.

Dorothy practiced giving thanks all the time. As she navigated doctor, hair, nail appointments, she left so many smiles in her wake. She was thankful for all she experienced. If a person came to visit and brought anything--flowers, cookies, a picture--she would make a point of calling the same evening to say thank you. In the past few months and, especially, as words became fewer, she relied on the phrase, “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” as a response to visits, calls and cards.

Dorothy was preceded in death by her husband of 65 years, Paul Koch; and her sister, Lois Swift. She is survived by her sister, Abbie, and husband Keith Shaffer of Coquille, Oregon; by her three children, Katherine Koch, and her six children, Nicholas, Bethany, Christopher, Maddie, Katie, and Ben; Steve Koch, and his son Micah Koch, and family, Jadon, Ryker, and Bowen; and Karen Shimer, her husband Brian, and their four daughters and families, Anna and Zack Armstrong, Josie and Bridget, Grace and Justin Copeland, Susanna and Collin Howder, and Antonia, Theo and Gregory; and Gabrielle Shimer.

Dorothy was interred at Evergreen Memorial Park Cemetery in McMinnville, Oregon. A celebration of her life was held at 1 p.m. Monday, May 13, 2024, at Wilsonville United Methodist Church in Wilsonville, Oregon. To leave online condolences, please visit


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