BRACKETTVILLE, Texas | Kenneth Joe Koontz and his loving wife, Melissa Lou Hill Koontz, along with their two daughters, Madison Glenn and Marley Ann, of Brackettville Texas, went to their heavenly home Sunday, April 14, 2013. They are survived by their son and brother, Kenneth Zachary Koontz. Ken and Melissa blessed us with their love and acceptance. They saw the best in everyone and raised their children to do the same. God blessed us all by sharing them with each of us. Ken had a passion for the great outdoors, flying, and loved working with his hands. He had a love for life and could always be counted on to lend a helping hand. Uncle Kenny was a favorite play partner for all his nieces and nephews. One of his happiest moments was when his son and best friend, Zachary, was born. Melissa was a loving wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. She spoke from the heart and shared her faith and love. Melissa’s beauty shined from her eyes and radiated forth and warmed us all deeply. The brightest smiles were to be found when she was watching Madison act, Marley playing sports, and Zach creating with Legos. She loved sitting and having a cup of tea and sharing her life with her prayer partners and Bible study groups. Madison and Marley were both shining examples of young Christian ladies. Both of them list the book Heaven is for Real as a favorite. Both young ladies saw the beauty and goodness in others before anything else. Madison lit up the world with her smile on the sideline cheering and on the stage taking on a variety of roles. She loved Tae Kwon Do and teaching others about this and The Lord. She had a passion for music which she had hoped to share and develop at Texas A & M Corpus Christi. Her words of hope and listening heart will be missed by the many who counted her as a friend. Marley always had a smile on her face and kind words for others. She loved her friends and family and enjoyed spending time with all. Marley was always taking care of animals and loved her sweet dogs, Bella and Sammy. Her Facebook page reflected her strong faith. God is love. God is life. Our hearts mourn the loss of Ken, Melissa, Madison, and Marley. They are survived by a large family and extended family, mothers, Selma Clements Koontz and Lucinda Wilson Hill; brothers and sisters, Dan and Pam Koontz, Kimberlee and Mike Humble, David and Renee Koontz, Lucinda Kelly, Bettie and Steve Fedrizzi, Emily and Randall Bolander, Hilda and Andy Wertz, Maggie and Barry Johnson, Sam and Carol Hill, and Jane Hill; nieces, nephews and cousins, Megan and Leslie Bolander, Heather and Scott Gilbertson and Emily Fedrizzi, Matthew Henniger and Cinda Kelly, Emma, Melanie, Hannah and Caroline Wertz, Ella, Charles and Lillie Johnson, Tracy and Angel Hill, Chris Jorgenson and Richie Hill, Graham and Grady Koontz, Ryan Humble, Reid and Charlotte Humble, and Macy Koontz. They were preceded in death by father and grandfather, G. Doyle Koontz and Richard C. Hill; brother, Richard D. Hill, and nephews, William D. Hill and Gary Hill. Visitation for Ken, Melissa, Madison, and Marley will be from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 21, 2013, at the Brackettville Civic Center. Funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Monday, April 22, 2013, at the Brackettville Civic Center. A private burial for the immediate family will follow. In lieu of flowers, the families are requesting for donations to be made to the Koontz Family Memorial Scholarship Fund, which will honor the family’s dedication and love for education and Brackettville. Donations will be accepted through the Brackettville ISD, P.O. Box 586, Brackettville, TX 78832. Please visit our website at www.sunsetfuneralhomes.com and sign our online guestbook. Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Sunset Memorial Oaks Funeral Home & Cemetery, 2020 Bedell Ave., Del Rio, Texas 78840, (830) 778-2020.
Published in The Citizen from April 19 to April 20, 2013
4/15/2013 – LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — An Air Force reserve instructor pilot and civilian employee was killed along with his wife and two daughters near San Antonio, Texas, April 13.
Lt. Col. Kenneth Koontz, a civilian simulator instructor and member of the 96th Flying Training Squadron was killed in a traffic accident on U.S. Route 90.
“Lt. Col. Kenneth ‘Jughead’ Koontz was one of the most seasoned T-6 instructor pilots at Laughlin,” said Lt. Col. Sean Garrett, 96th FTS commander. “He was a valued and trusted leader within the 96th FTS and he was loved by the students, having recently been named the ‘Best Guest Help IP’ by Class 13-15.”
Each pilot training class has instructor pilots who do not fly with them on a day-to-day basis, but do fly with them regularly. These instructor pilots are known informally as ‘Guest Help IPs’ and each class picks their favorite, as well as favorite simulator instructor. Koontz had been picked a number of times for these awards.
While Lt. Col. Koontz loved teaching students how to fly, it wasn’t his top priority, explained Garrett.
“Jughead was a man of strong faith, and spending time with his family was always his priority. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him,” said Garrett.
Before joining the Air Force Reserve, Koontz was in the Navy for 15 years. He became an Air Force reservist in 2006.
Many of the training flights for April 15 were curtailed as students and squadron members dealt with their grief.
“Our priorities right now are to help this family any way we can and to ensure our team is mentally ready to resume flight training,” said Col. Tom Murphy, 47th Flying Training Wing commander. “Lt. Col. Koontz was a civilian employee and a Reserve lieutenant colonel, exemplifying what an Airman is all about, and he established a very high standard of excellence along the way. He and his family were deeply ingrained into the Laughlin, Brackettville and Del Rio communities. This is a tragedy and they will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Koontz family and friends.”
Koontz flew 894 sorties equaling 5,656.5 flight hours during his career; 4,456 of those hours were in the Navy and 1,200 hours in the Air Force. He also had 2,036 hours in a simulator.
“That means he probably worked with 1,800 students in the SIMs alone,” said Mr. Danny Williams, Director of Sims and Academics.
“The number of students Lt. Col. Koontz has worked with and helped shape into remarkable pilots is a testament to his skills and talents,” said Murphy. “He helped us graduate the world’s best pilots. That is a fact!”