I was the weekend news anchor at WLIO-TV when Vince Koza was hired in 1980 by the station fresh out of OU to work alongside me as weekend sports anchor.
In those days, whether you were in news or sports, news director George Dunster would send you out in teams to either film and/or report news stories. Vinny and I developed a good working relationship, and because of his crazy, upbeat nature, a friendship that would last for decades.
I knew Vince before he met Holly and before she was hired by the TV station. I knew Vince before I met and married my wife of 39 years. I had my bachelor party at his rented house, and he served as bartender at our wedding reception at the FOP Hall. He even gave us a surprise going-away party when I took a job with a TV station in Pennsylvania.
We came back to Lima in 1990, and even though he and I drifted into different ventures during the nineties while raising our families — two daughters for him and two daughters for me — Vince and I tried to stay tight.
After I suffered a near-fatal burn injury in Mexico in 1999 while working for a private firm, Vince roused the community to help my family, both financially and emotionally. Vince had a heart as big as his personality. He always scoffed when I asked him what I could do to pay him back for his generosity. I was able to sponsor him when he was confirmed at St. Gerard, an act of faith which I know meant a lot to him.
We in the Lima community will all mourn Vince’s passing. But at the same time, we should celebrate a life lived as only Vince Koza could.
Tom Del Signore