David Koch’s wife was Julia Flesher. The couple was married in 1996 at his home in Southampton, Long Island. Koch passed away on August 23 at the age of 79. Koch and Flesher, 57, had three children together, David Jr., Mary Julia and John.
Koch, one of the biggest donors to the Republican Party and to various right-wing causes, died a little over a year after he retired from Koch Industries. Koch’s death was first reported by the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer.
In June 2018, around the time of his retirement announcement, Koch had been named by Forbes as the 11th-richest person in the world with a net worth estimated to be around $51 billion.
In a statement announcing his brother’s death, Charles Koch said, “It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of my brother David. Anyone who worked with David surely experienced his giant personality and passion for life.” Charles Koch had said before that his brother had shared his “declining health” diagnosis with family members in October 2016.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. His Wife Was ‘Much Admired’ for Marrying One of the Richest Men in America
Julia Flesher, a native of Iowa, married Koch in 1996. The New York Times wrote in 1998 that Julia Flesher was “much-admired in her Upper East Side circle for marrying one of the richest men in America.”
The final tweet on David Koch’s account, from 2014, said that he and his wife had donated $1 million to the September 11. Memorial Museum.
Koch’s tribute on the Koch Industries website says that it was Flesher, along with Koch’s mother, who helped to “instill” a love of the arts in him. A New Yorker feature on his retirement described Koch as being “more socially prominent” than his brother.
In the Koch Industries tribute, among the philanthropic contributions made by the couple includes, “major gifts to the Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. David and Julia also contributed to the construction of the Mary R. Koch Arts Center in Wichita.”
2. Flesher Previously Worked as an Assistant to Famed Designer Adolfo & Helped to Style Nancy Reagan
According to the couple’s New York Times wedding announcement, they were married at Koch’s home in Southampton, Long Island. Prior to their marriage, Julia Flesher, had been an assistant for the designer Adolfo, beginning in the 1980s and making $200-a-week.
Flesher told the New York Times in 1998 that she grew up in the town of Indianola, Iowa, close to Des Moines. Her family owned a farm and later a furniture store in the town. The family later moved to Arkansas where they opened a high-end women’s clothing store. That store was sold in 1984. The Times says that in 1998, Flesher’s father was back living Indianola while her mother was living in Little Rock, Arkansas. Flesher says that she fell in love with New York City after coming to the big apple on a business trip with her mother in 1980. Soon, Flesher moved to the city and began working in the fashion industry.
Flesher had been an assistant to Italian designer Adolfo where she styled Nancy Reagan among many other prominent socialites. The Times says that Flesher was regularly taken to the White House to style the First Lady.
3. Flesher Described Herself as Being a ‘Throwback to the 1950s’
In a January 1998 New York Times feature, Flesher said that she had stopped working in 1993, three years before she married Koch. Flesher said, “I’ve become a throwback to the 1950s.” The Times article said that the couple divided their time between homes in Aspen, Colorado, Manhattan, Long Island and West Palm Beach. Among her roles as Koch’s wife was pouring his orange juice every morning.
4. The Couple Met on a Blind Date in January 1991
Flesher told the New York Times that she met Koch on a blind date in January 1991. The couple went out only once at that time but would meet again at a party six months later and reconnected, beginning with a date at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in Queens.
5. Koch Liked ‘Having A Lot Women Around’ in His Younger Days
Cindy Farkas Glanzrock, who said that she was one of David Koch’s former girlfriends, told The Observer in 2012 that she was just one of the “many girls that he had dates with… He liked having a lot of women around.” In the article, Glanzrock defended Koch saying, “I think we constantly are looking at things in a very negative perspective and pointing fingers. I mean, I’ve known David Koch for 25 years. I will tell you that I dated him, but you’ll probably throw a target at me, but probably other women in this room have too. The bottom line is, and first of all, I think people should see this, but I’m very disappointed.”
Discussing women in a 2010 New York Magazine feature, Koch complained about pains in his knees while joking, “If you spent as many years as I did begging girls for favors, you’d have bad knees, too.”