Robert Koop ’50

Robert Koop, 97, passed away peacefully surrounded by his children, on August 13, 2022. He was eleven days shy of his 98th birthday. He was born in Holland, Michigan on August 24, 1924 to William and Minnie ( Boes) Koop. He graduated from Holland High School and immediately enlisted in the Air Force.

As Sergeant in the 8th Army Air Force, Bob was stationed in England. He was a B-17 Flying Fortress waist gunner. He was decorated with the Air Medal for courage and achievement in action while paving the way for Allied armies into the Reich with bombs. He served with the veteran 390th bombardment group, crack 8th air force unit, which holds the WWII record for destruction in a single engagement, having shot down 63 German fighters overMunster, Germany on Oct. 10, 1943. The group was cited by the president and shared in another presidential award for aiding in the 3rd air division’s epic attack on key Messerschmitt plants at Regensburg, Germany.

Following World War II, Bob returned to Holland and attended Hope College where he played football and was a member of the Fraternal Society. He met his future wife, Marilyn ( Wolbrink) Koop at Hope and following his graduation in 1950, Bob andMarilyn were wed. They were married 71 years before Marilyn’s passing on March 22, 2022.

Bob started his own insurance company, Koop Insurance, in 1951. He was joined by his son, Dave, in 1976 and much to Bob’s delight, by his grandson, Andrew, in 2016. He was thrilled to have the agency stay in the family.

A passionate golfer, Bob recorded 7 hole-in-ones in his golfing career. He golfed 18 holes of golf three times a week until he was 91 years old. He was a long time member of Christ Memorial Church. He was an active leader in the American Legion.

Bob lived in Holland most his life but also spent thirty winter seasons in Naples, FL. He developed life long friendships there and was a beloved member of his community. He is preceded in death by his wife, Marilyn ( Wolbrink) Koop and his infant son, Douglas. He is survived by his children, Dave ’76 (Karen) Koop of Holland, Kathy ( Jeff) VanDer Kolk of Holland, Kristin ’81 Koop of Williamsburg, VA, and Beth (David) Wehunt of Houston, TX; grandchildren Lisa ’06 (Matt) Huyser, Rachel (Bryan) Melhorn, Andrew Koop, Sam Klein, and Ben Koop; 5 great grandchildren and nieces and nephews.

The family is grateful for the wonderful care Bob received from the staff at Freedom Village and Hospice of Holland.

Return to Current In Memoriam