HICKORY, N.C. — Dr. Keith Melvin Ochs, "Doc", 74, died peacefully at home on Dec. 6, due to declining health. Keith was born, Sept. 24, 1936, in Great Bend, to the late Melvin C. Ochs and Emma Schneider Ochs. He was employed by Lenoir-Rhyne University during the years of 1970 until his retirement in 1996. He played an integral role in the school’s transition from the NAIA to NCAA Division II. He supervised the expansion of Moretz Stadium and helped plan the Shuford Physical Education Complex, which was completed in 1978.
During his tenure as Athletic Director, school teams won numerous South Atlantic Conference Championships, including two football titles in 1988 and 1994, and three men’s basketball titles in 1989-90, 1990-91, and 1994. He was assistant athletic director when the women’s basketball team won three NAIA state championships from the 1980-82. He also expanded the athletic program from seven teams to thirteen, and the number of student athletes nearly doubled.
As a coach and administrator, Keith displayed tenacious effort, generosity, and courage. He was known for his hearty, infectious laugh and cherished an extensive network of loyal friends from his playing days, early coaching career, and long tenure at Lenoir Rhyne. In his final days he enjoyed watching his grandson play football. Keith was his number one fan.
He will be remembered as a loving husband, an excellent father, "Poppy", brother and faithful friend. He never lost his warmth or his sense of humor in spite of his adversities. Keith was loved, respected and this amazing man will be greatly missed.
Dr. Ochs is survived by his loving wife of 49 years, Ann Ochs; his two daughters: Leslie Ochs and husband Jamie Nicholson of Asheville, N.C.; Dana Hamilton, husband John of Hickory, N.C.; two sisters Judith Isern of Boulder, Colo., and Sally Richards of San Francisco, Calif.; one grandson, Austin Hamilton of Hickory, N.C.; and many nieces and nephews.
Memorials may be made to Palliative Care Center & Hospice of Catawba Valley, 3975 Robinson Road, Newton, NC 28658; Piedmont Educational Foundation, Lenoir-Rhyne University, 625 7th Avenue Northeast, Hickory, NC 28601; Mt Pisgah Lutheran Church, 9379 NC Hwy. 127, Hickory, NC 28601.
Funeral arrangements provided by
Bass-Smith Funeral Home and Crematory*
P.O. Box 1869, Hickory, NC 28603
Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, Dec. 14, 2010