Frederick R. Koch died on Wednesday February 12 2020 at his home in Manhattan, where he had lived, as he preferred, in relative anonymity. He was 86. John Olsen, his friend and longtime assistant, said the cause was heart failure.
Bill and Charles Koch are Frederick’s only immediate survivors. His entire estate, Mr. Olsen said, including his investments, real estate and art collection, will be used to establish a foundation to promote the study of literature, history and the arts.
Frederick R. Koch is the oldest son of Mary Robinson Koch and Fred C. Koch. Fred C. Koch is the founder of the company that became Koch Industries, currently one of the largest privately held company in the United States, with revenues in excess of $100 billion. Koch Industries, a large diversified energy company, is currently controlled by two of Frederick Koch's younger brothers, Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch. There also is a third brother, William I. Koch, who presently is the founder, owner and president of the Oxbow Group, a large diversified holding group of industrial companies.
The three brothers of Frederick R. Koch followed similar educational, and later professional careers. They decided to follow in their father’s footsteps, and became chemical engineers, educated and trained at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Two of the three brothers even earned advance degrees in chemical engineering.
The only one who decided to follow a different career path was the oldest of the four sons, Frederick R. Koch.
Frederick R. Koch chose a career in liberal arts and graduated from Harvard University with a B. A. degree in 1955. Following graduation he joined the United States Navy and served for several years. Following his military service he enrolled in YaleUniversity's graduate program and earned a M.F.A. degree in 1961.
Following the death of his father, Frederick became a collector and expert in rare materials such as books, manuscripts, and American drawings, which he subsequently bequeathed to libraries at several well known universities. He also established the Frederick R. Koch Foundation, which became a major donor to the Pierpont Morgan Library, the Frick collection and the Carnegie Museum of Arts in Pittsburgh among others.
Since the 1980's, Frederick R. Koch has become interested in the restoration and maintenance of a number of historic real estate properties in various countries including the United States, England, Austria and France.
The two best known collections of Frederick R. Koch's collection efforts are located at Yale University and Harvard University. The Frederick R. Koch Collection of rare books and manuscripts takes up a prominent place in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. And at Harvard University, the Frederick R. Koch Collection of American Drawings takes up a similar prominent place in the Houghton Library. There may also be other collections at other universities or colleges, but none were known to the author at the time this biographical profile was prepared.
Unlike his three brothers, who are fairly well known for their business, philanthropic, political and sports endeavors, little is known about the apparently more reticent older Koch brother, Frederick R. Koch.