Chambers — Robert "Bob" Joseph Koci, 89, of Chambers died Saturday, May 29, 2021 at his home in Chambers.

Memorial visitation was held Friday, June 4, 2021 at Biglin's Mortuary in O'Neill.

A celebration of life service was held Friday, June 4, 2021 at the mortuary in O'Neill. Rev. Wayne Owens officiated.

Bob’s wishes were to be cremated and have his ashes scattered over the hills on his favorite section of land on a sunny summer day.  

Memorials may be made to the family for future designation.

Robert was born on Feb. 20, 1932 in Schuyler to Joseph and Rose (Sedlacek) Koci. He was baptized into the Catholic Faith. His parents, older sister and he moved to Chambers.  

When Bob was a young boy, he learned hard work and the value of a dollar. By the time Bob was seven, he worked the fields alongside his father, planting corn and putting up hay.  

He graduated from St. Mary’s Academy in O’Neill in 1949. Bob was accepted into Veterinary School in Manhattan, KS, but his plans were cut short when he was drafted into the Korean War.  

Bob entered the U.S. Army on Nov. 3, 1952 and after basic training, spent 14 days on a ship to Japan, before continuing on to Korea. He was in several battles and engaged in hand-to-hand combat. Bob earned the rank of staff sergeant and later platoon sergeant. Bob never forgot the day, while he was talking with his Squad Leader, a sniper shot him and he fell into Bob’s arms. He received the Combat Infantry Badge for Excellence and the Rifle Precision Badge for Marksmanship. Bob was Honorably Discharged on Nov. 3, 1954 and he then returned home to Chambers to continue ranching with his father.  

While in Korea, Bob began receiving letters from people in the Chambers community. He became pen pals with Sylvia Loseke and upon returning to Chambers, the couple started dating. They were married on June 8, 1957 at the Catholic Church in Emmet. They continued to ranch until their retirement.  

Bob will be remembered as a hard worker, an excellent rancher and a steward of the land. He took great pride in keeping the tree groves cleaned up and the tall piles of fallen trees on his ranch were the backdrop for many senior pictures. He was often seen riding his Honda 4-wheeler on county roads accompanied by his beloved dog.  

Bob is survived by his wife of 63 years Sylvia Koci of Chambers; three daughters and their families that he loved above anyone else Nader Johnson of Oakland, her son Bob and grandsons Oliver, Ramsay and Sully; Juli (Rod) McCumber of Atkinson and their sons Brady and Cory (Amelia): and Joan (Don) Denker of O’Neill; and several nieces and a nephew. 

He was preceded in death by his parents and one sister Dorothy (Bob) Brazda. 

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