Walter James Kochan

July 15, 1922 ~ October 19, 2019 (age 97)


Walter James Kochan passed away after a brief illness on October 19, 2019. He was 97.

Walt was born July 15, 1922 to Michael and Mary (Kandrac) Kochan in Plainfield, NJ. Walt served in the Coast Guard four years, including time in the South Pacific, as a Signalman First Class and was honorably discharged in March 1946. He married the love of his life, Elizabeth (Betty) Burke at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Plainfield on July 24, 1948.

Together they moved to Logan, UT where Walt attended, and graduated from Utah State University. They then moved to New Brunswick, NJ and Walt earned his PHd from Rutgers University in June 1955.

Following graduation Walt accepted a research position with the University of Idaho, Parma Branch Experiment Station where he worked from 1956 to 1980. He transferred to Moscow to finish his career as a professor of Horticulture in the Plant Science Department, doing what he loved, teaching. He also worked on the early development of the arboretum at its new location. Walt was awarded the University of Idaho Alumni Award for Excellence in 1985 and retired in 1987.

Walt most enjoyed spending time with his family and gardening. He also loved the outdoors and spent happy times fishing, bird hunting, camping, back packing, golfing and meeting up with the “Geezers” Thursday mornings.

Walt is survived by his wife of 71 years, Betty at their Moscow home, daughter, Kathleen, and son-in-law Phil in Bend, Oregon and numerous nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a brother, Robert.

A rosary will be recited at 11:00 AM on Tuesday, October 29th at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Moscow, followed by the Funeral Mass at 11:30 AM. A luncheon will be at St. Mary’s Family Center immediately afterward.

The family requests that memorials be directed to the University of Idaho Arboretum or to the Moscow Food Bank in lieu of flowers.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Short’s Funeral Chapel, Moscow, and online condolences may be sent to


To send flowers to Walter's family, please visit our floral store.


Funeral Mass
October 29, 2019

11:30 AM
St. Mary's Catholic Church
618 E 1st st
Moscow, ID 83843

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