Frederic Arthur Koch

We are saddened to announce the death of Fred Koch, age 68, on September 15, 2015 at VGH in Vancouver, B.C., from cancer.

Fred grew up in the small town of Renata, B.C. on the Lower Arrow Lake. He went to Stanley Humphries High School in Castlegar where he excelled academically, played on the basketball team, and played guitar and sang in the folk group “The Westwinds” and the rock band “The Mods”. He moved to Vancouver in 1966 to attend university and ended up living there for the rest of his life, though he was a frequent visitor to Castlegar to see family and friends and he was always proud of his Kootenay roots.

He graduated from UBC with a B.A.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering in 1970 and worked as an Environmental Engineer from 1972-1978. He received a M.A.Sc. in Civil Engineering in 1976 and began working in 1978 for the UBC Civil Engineering Department as a Research Associate where he was an important member of the Environmental Engineering Group. He devoted his career to ongoing studies in wastewater treatment and nutrient recovery, mentoring graduate students, and supervising research involved in nutrient removal and recovery processes in aid of developing the sewage treatment plants of the future. He was a co-inventor of a nutrient recovery technology that has been commercialized and licensed to Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies and was well known for promoting this technology and the product it created.

From 1978 to 1998 Fred also followed his passion for music through another branch of engineering – that of music recording. He founded Bullfrog Studios in 1978 with then band mate Adrian Duncan. For the next 20 years under Fred and partner Maggie Scherf, Bullfrog grew to record thousands of local musical acts, award-winning albums as well as house its own recording school, record label, Rana Records, and country music publication, The Rana Review. Fred’s vision of a creative home for musicians and technicians left a lasting legacy in Vancouver’s music and recording community.

From the mid 70’s, when Fred first met and recorded with C.W. Nicol, who remained his lifelong friend and mentor, Fred continued to be fascinated with the Japanese culture. His ties with the Japanese community eventually led to his meeting Akiko Yabuno, a fellow engineer, in 1999 and marrying her in 2002.

Over the years, Fred had a great impact on the lives and careers of many students whom he mentored and colleagues and musicians whom he worked with. He had a huge heart and a great laugh… and always had time for a song. Predeceased by his father Art in 2002 and his mother Mary in 2006, he leaves behind his wife Akiko of Vancouver; sister Alvina Koch, brother-in-law Rick Smith, niece and nephew Michaela and Kieran Koch-Smith of Prince George; seven cousins and their families, as well as numerous musical acquaintances, work colleagues, and special friends. He will be missed dearly by all.

No funeral service by Fred’s request. Condolences may be made online at

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