May 18, 1943-Feb. 21, 2023
Palo Alto, California
Judith Hootman Koch, a longtime Palo Alto resident passed away peacefully at her home on Tuesday, February 21, 2023. Three weeks earlier she was diagnosed with cancer. On the day she passed she waited until loved ones could arrive, including all six of her grandchildren, then she left us. She lived life on her own terms, and she left this world the same way. Judy was 79.
Judy was born May 18, 1943 in Ottumwa, Iowa to Mernace Hootman and Daisy (Goemaat) Hootman. She was raised in Ottumwa and was a graduate of Ottumwa High School. Judy attended college in-state and graduated from Iowa State University. Post college Judy moved to California and began her first career as a junior high school English teacher in Los Altos, CA. She was a teacher from 1967-1979. It was during this time she developed a passion for children’s literacy and early childhood education.
In 1979 Judy began her second career at RSP Manufacturing, a precision sheet metal fabrication company serving high tech companies in Silicon Valley. She worked along side her former husband and life long friend Ron Koch. In 1989 she acquired the company and became the CEO. Under her leadership sales grew dramatically until she sold the business in 1997.
Judy was always an educator at heart. After the sale of RSP Manufacturing, Judy founded the Bring Me A Book Foundation. She initially modeled the foundation after a workplace book bag lending program she created at RSP. She was passionately involved with Bring Me A Book up until the day she passed. Her work with Bring Me A Book was recognized with a Lifetime of Achievements award from Avenidas in 2016, as well as several national awards.
Judy loved to travel and experience new cultures and was an active member of the Palo Alto University Rotary Club, but her greatest joy came from spending time with family and friends. Her six grandchildren were the light of her life!
Judy is survived by her sons and their spouses, Stewart and Jordan Koch, and Marshall and Heather Koch; her brother Jerry Hootman; nephew Kent Hootman; two nieces Kyra Hootman and Kellie Viets; and six grandchildren Daisy Koch, Reese Koch, Carson Koch, Peyton Koch, Cameron Koch, and Thatcher Koch.
A private Celebration of Judy’s Life will be held in Menlo Park, CA. Please contact Judy’s family for more details. If desired memorials in Judy’s honor can be made to Bring Me A Book Foundation(www.bringmeabook.org).