Christopher “Kip” Darling Koss
Christopher “Kip” Darling Koss was born June 25, 1935 to Richard and Mary Koss of Des Moines, IA. He studied at Philips Exeter Academy where he developed a keen academic mind and a resolute work ethic. He received his Economics degree from Stanford University where he was active in the Alpha Tao Omega fraternity and graduated from the AFROTC before joining the United States Air Force. Perhaps the biggest decision of his life was to pursue a flying career rather than take the reigns at the family owned Koss Construction Company. After his military service, Kip began his 27 year career with Pan American Airlines. By the time of his retirement, he had served as a 747 check pilot, training captain, and manager of flight operations.
Kip spent his retirement preserving the legacy of his grandfather, conservationist, artist, and political cartoonist Jay N. “Ding” Darling, and pursuing other projects for which he had both interest and expertise. Kip’s visions were grand, but he maintained a stringent attention to detail that equated to uncompromising quality and integrity. Compiling and cataloging nearly 7000 of his Pulitzer Prize winning grandfather’s editorial cartoons onto a searchable CD took over a decade in a time when scanners were new technology, there were no such things as camera phones and most computers still used floppy disks. He wrote a short book providing financial planning advice modeled after the lessons he had taught his children and had used to grow his family’s wealth, worked to “keep Tahoe blue” by advocating against lawns in the Lake Tahoe basin where fertilizer runoff threatened the lake’s ecosystem and legendary clarity, pursued the telling of an inspiring story of heroism displayed by Pan Am personnel during a hijacking in Karachi, Pakistan, and all the while kept up lifelong correspondence with friends, family, schoolmates and colleagues.
Kip was preceded in death by his adored parents, and grandparents, his daughter, Catherine, whom he credits with teaching him courage and grace through her difficult battle with cancer, his daughter Kristen, whom he lost shortly after her birth, and his faithful companion, Leina. He will be missed by his wife Andrea, his partner, caregiver, best friend and true love, her three children Eduardo and Marcella Holguin and son Eduardo of Cali, Colombia, Jimmy and Alejandra Holguin and his children Valeria and Antonio of Bogota, Colombia, Camila and Pete Zuccarini and their children Finn, Kai and Teo of Key Biscayne, as well as two daughters, Jennifer and Jonathan Graham of Temple, TX, and Christy and Hal Steinbeigle, and her three children, Theresa, Christopher and Seth of Chandler, AZ.
Fortunate to have travelled the world, Kip found solace in homes where he found great beauty, collected deep friendships, and left traditions and memories. His hometown of Des Moines gave him his midwestern values and sense of family history. ‘Tween Waters Inn on Captiva Island became a vacation spot for five generations and is where Kip spent months at the side of his famous grandfather soaking up his wisdom, humor, and love for the natural world. He raised his family in Lake Tahoe, what he called “God’s Country” where he never tired of the vigor of his friends and the view from his deck. He spent the last twenty years in Key Biscayne, where he served on the boards of both the Casa del Mar and the Ocean Club, enjoyed the village restaurants and precious time with his wife.
Kip handed down his legacy through lessons he taught with fabled stories and as a living example. His vocation was his passion and his family learned that loving their jobs was their primary career goal, and remuneration a secondary consideration. His pervasive sense of discipline and adherence to logical thought was exemplified by his careful diet and exercise regiment, his duty to chores, his unflinching demand for honesty, and his philosophy of fiscal responsibility. History doesn’t often offer up men like Kip Koss, but we have been the fortunate ones who learned from him, and we have the responsibility to carry on and fill the gaping void his absence leaves. A tall order, made by a great man.