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Donald Loyd Knapp

July 7, 1926 ~ May 2, 2017 (age 90)
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Donald Loyd Knapp, Age 90, Died Tuesday, May 2, 2017, at Evergreen Senior Care and Rehab Center. He was born July 7, 1926, in Vernon, Michigan, the son of Genevieve Mae (Rohrabacher) and Loyd Burdette Knapp. His stepfather was Leo A. Dunton. In 1944, Don was a State Class A track champion in the half mile. Immediately after graduating from Battle Creek Central High School, he joined the U.S. Navy. He was a sailor aboard the USS Zeilin during WWII. For three decades, he was a blacksmith at Grand Trunk Western Railroad. He also worked on houses constructed by his brother-in-law Bernard Maurer. Don married Cecelia Gertrude Maurer in 1948. They enjoyed car trips around the country and repeated visits to Florida and Las Vegas. He was her devoted caretaker in the months before her death in 1989.  He was showered with confetti at a huge 90th birthday party last summer. Don enjoyed good health until recent weeks. In January, he was still walking an hour a day through the Post Addition. He kept busy taking care of his cat “Tabby”, and enjoyed weekly trips to the casino with his family. On his last visit to Firekeepers, he picked up a lucky St. Patrick’s Day shirt. For decades, he grew tomatoes, trees, gladiolus and dahlias. Don was a dedicated collector of coins and stamps. He kept a model railroad layout in his basement. At Christmas time, he loved stringing lights around his house. For many years, he was a Friday night regular at Sharkey’s in the Grand Trunk bowling league. Don enjoyed cruises and especially long Amtrak trips. In the winter’s, he visited his daughter in The Villages, Florida. He was a frequent visitor to Binder Park Zoo, where he loved feeding the giraffes. Don was famous for his Sunday night hot dog dinners. His family knew him as “Grandpa Eminem” and “The Big Guy”. He was a fan of NASCAR and the Detroit Tigers. His sports heroes were Norm Cash and Tony Stewart. Over the years, Don gradually lost his hearing. He taught himself to read lips and was an early recipient of a cochlear implant. Besides his parents and stepdad, Don was preceded in death by his sister, Vivian Johnson, his brother Gerald “Pete” Knapp and his step-brother, Robert Dunton. He is survived by his daughter, Janet (Rick) Albaugh of Battle Creek; his sons, Stephen Knapp (Carol Ravichandran) of Northville, and Ronald Knapp of Union City; grandchildren, Timothy (Marisa) Martinovich, Kelly (Lewis) Cooper and Franklin Knapp (Melinda Hicks) all of Battle Creek, Kerry Albaugh of Portage, William Knapp (Catherine Holbrook) of Findlay, Ohio and Christopher Knapp of Adrian. His great grandchildren are Copelin, Maelin, Leelin and Pax Martinovich. Isiah Knapp and Skylar Kees all of Battle Creek, Pierson Albaugh of Portage, and Cecelia Knapp of Defiance, Ohio. Don’s special friend, Lorraine Miller of Byron Center, also survives. Visitation will be held Sunday from 4 to 6:00 p.m., at the Richard A. Henry Funeral Home. Graveside services with full military honors will be held 11:30 a.m., Monday May 8, 2017, at Fort Custer National Cemetery. Memorials may be made to ALS Association or the Humane Society of South Central MI.


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