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The Departure of Mr. Koch

It had been a couple of weeks since my mother had seen Mr. Koch. She had even started asking around the market if anyone had seen him around. Then one day a lady she thought may have been a nurse from Raulerson Hospital, came and found her at her booth. Telling her Mr. Koch was in the hospital with an aneurysm, and had been transferred via helicopter to St. Mary’s Hospital in West Palm Beach, Florida.

My mother closed up her booth, and went and visited with him that very day. He was in the ICU, hooked up to a respirator, but awake and very alert. A nurse took my mother aside and asked her if she knew how to contact his family. My mother said that unfortunately she didn’t, only that he had a twin brother but they didn’t speak. Turning her attention back to Ed she was surprised at how alert he was for being in ICU. 

He was even able to communicate to her with his eyes and hands; such as giving her a double thumbs up. When my mother called back a few days later, she was told he was gone. She was so surprised as he seemed so alert when she visited with him. Within a few weeks, the air-stream trailer he had been staying at, was removed from the RV park. She had never been to his trailer she had only found out from locals he was staying there.

Around the time Mr. Koch passed away, my mother got the Jane Peterson authenticated by Sotheby’s in Palm Beach. It went up for auction later that same year (1992) and unfortunately didn’t sell. She had hoped that would be the catalyst for the remaining artwork to sell. From that point forward everything she tried to do with the artwork was always met with disappointment. 

We couldn’t go back and question him, and the internet was in its infancy then. It became very hard to research. All we had is my mother’s story of his visits and the random, scattered notes they both wrote during his visits. View the notes here

My mother has always said that Ed had been telling her he was going to help her sell the artwork, but once he passed away, it was painfully obvious that would never happen. She was hesitant to do it by herself, because she wasn’t sure if she believed his story, and her own life kept her focused on other matters. When she would work on the artwork, it was always a one step forward, two steps backward, kind of thing. Always leaving her defeated and deflated.

What is suppose to be this amazing story was always anything but. She would find many years passing by before working on the artwork again, 2002 and then 2009 which brings us to where we are today. In 2010 we discovered Fred hadn’t died and his full name is Frederick Robinson Koch.