Blanche Marie Knapp, 86, of Chillicothe, passed peacefully from this life surrounded by her family, friends and faithful dog, Chuck, on Sunday, May 21, 2017, at Logan Elm Health Care Center where she was a long-term resident.
Blanche was born on Nov. 1, 1930, in Ross County, the only child of the late Howard “Kell” E. and the late Hazel Marie (Neighborgal) Nihiser.
Through the years, she would recount fond memories of a summer spent living in a tent on the banks of the Scioto River while “Daddy” built their house along state Route 159. This was her home, filled with fond memories until she married her 1948 Centralia High School classmate and sweetheart, Charles E. “Jack” Knapp Jr., after he returned from service as a Marine in the Korean War in 1952.
She and Jack were married for 53 years, when he preceded her in death in November 2005.
In reality, they’d been trading kisses since seventh grade on the school bus and actually bought the bus seat they used to ride to school together at an auction.
The Knapps quickly started a family in 1953, and their four children, Kimberly Morton, Toni (Tom) Willis, Kristen Knapp and Nathan (Melanie) Knapp survive them today. They are also survived by grandchildren, Brandon (Alexandra) Willis, Natalie (Ronnie) Willis, Matthew (Jessica) Morton, Kell (Shelley) Morton, Kimber, Sophie and Ethan Knapp; and great-grandchildren, Layla and Veronica Nutter. Two more baby Mortons will join Blanche’s family at the end of this summer, and she left this life for the next excited by this news.
Out of high school, Blanche worked as the secretary at Chillicothe Financial Company. She was the first employee hired by DuPont when they opened in Circleville in 1952.
As the family started and continued to grow, she flourished as a tireless homemaker who rose before dawn to prepare her family each day. You could always count on – and sometimes take for granted – that the meals would be delicious and plentiful, the clothes clean, ironed and waiting in your dresser or closet, and the home spotless. You might get off the school bus and find her and a friend or two canning or freezing Dad’s bountiful garden or “putting up” dozens of ears of sweet corn for winter.
There was always time for friends to drop by for unannounced visits, a phone conversation or to haul kids to wherever they needed to be each day – arriving mostly on time, but usually while driving like a bat out of hell with kids posted as lookouts to avert any speeding ticket.
As grandchildren arrived, they, too, knew this comfort. She knew how to prepare a whole fryer chicken or wild game, rip someone she found deserving “a new one” or act as a gentle and comforting friend and confidant.
Blanche was a tireless force, a guiding hand, full of vim and vigor, while simultaneously gentle in spirit. She was a good wife, a very good mom and a great teacher of what and what not to do.
As the kids got older, Blanche tried her hand at real estate sales, a passion for her, and she spent about 20 years at this successful endeavor, loving every minute of it.
In her final years, she enjoyed the simpler things in life and, despite her age, stayed hip with the current events and culture. She always appreciated a trip to Panera for an orange scone, shopping on QVC, a good visit with family, friends, even strangers – who wouldn’t be one for long, and sharing her favorite cookbooks, recipes and foods with others.
No matter how she may feel, she always had a smile for everyone and was interested in what was going on in their lives. She remained the “Blanchie” we all know and loved to the end!
We wish to thank the many people who helped Blanche in her final years. Special thanks to the staff and residents of Logan Elm Health Care Center, Heartland Hospice, Dr. Frank Cosentino and the staff of Chillicothe Regional Dialysis, Dr. John Boyle, the staff at Adena Regional Medical Center 2A nursing unit, the Kingston Volunteer Fire Department, and Clergy and Visitation Team of Calvary Lutheran Church. We would also be remiss not to mention the countless friends who visited Blanche and sent cards and goodies that enriched her life.
Please join the Knapp Family at Hill Funeral Home, Kingston, to celebrate Blanche’s life. Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, May 25, 2017. Burial will follow at Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Calling hours are 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 24, 2017.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Kingston Volunteer Fire Department or Heartland Hospice.
Condolences can be made on Blanche’s online guest registry at www.hillfhkingston.com.
Charitable donations may be made in Blanche’s memory to Green Township Fire Department, P.O. Box 700, Kingston, OH 45644; or Heartland Hospice, 116 Morris Rd., Circleville, OH, 43113 or online at www.heartlandhospice.com.
This article originally appeared on The Pickaway News Journal