Saturday, July 23, 2016
11:00 AM EDT
Covenant Presbyterian Church
1015 Esat 32nd Street
Holland, MI 49423
Life Story / Obituary
There is no greater man than one who lives by his convictions and cherishes those entrusted to his care, and Elmer Knoll was such a man. The foundation of his family, Elmer worked hard to provide for those he loved, and as their foundation, he lead by example with integrity and unconditional love. Elmer found in his family no greater joy, and with faith as his guide, he was in all ways a kind, generous, and tolerant gentleman who served as an example to all.
Elmer was born at a time of rapid growth in the U.S. The heyday of the Roaring Twenties, the nation’s can-do spirit was alive and well which was reflected in America’s love of baseball, jazz music, and Chaplin movies. Yet for the family of Elmer Knoll, nothing compared to the blessing of his birth on June 14, 1925 in the community of Holland, Michigan.
Raised alongside his brother, Ken, and his sisters, Pearl and Jeanette, Elmer enjoyed a childhood typical of his generation. A strong faith was an integral part of his upbringing, and as a family they attended church regularly where young Elmer grew in a faith of his own. During his youth he shared many boyhood adventures even as the onset of the Great Depression cast a shadow of economic hardship on all. Elmer attended the local schools, but like many of his generation, he left his schooling behind following the eighth grade when he took on work to help sustain their family.
During World War II, Elmer served in France, Germany, and England with the U.S. Army 9th Armored Division stringing communication lines. Although he never spoke much about his time in the service, at the war’s thankful end and his honorable discharge, Elmer was never so glad to step foot on American soil once again. In fact, Elmer considered the day he returned home from the service as one of the happiest of his life.
Elmer was more than ready to return to the civilian way of life. Before long he landed a job working at the Holland Racine Shoe Factory where he met a fellow co-worker and the young woman who would forever hold his heart, Julia Gruppen. Quite taken by the good looking brunette girl that she was, the feeling was mutual between them. They began dating, and together they shared the same backgrounds and faith. With a deep abiding love, Elmer married his sweetheart on September 19, 1946, at the home of Julia’s sister. They spent their wedding night in Saugatuck before venturing onto a memorable honeymoon traveling along the Lake Michigan shoreline.
To further support his new bride, Elmer began working for the H.J. Heinz Company in Holland where they made their home. Their lives were made complete when over time they lovingly adopted three wonderful children into their hearts and home with the addition of Ellen, Earl, and Eric. With much dedication, Elmer and Julia lovingly raised their children in faith. Through the years they made the best of memories together and cherished times camping in northern Michigan.
Elmer eventually took a job at Herman Miller where he remained until retiring. He had many great memories from both places all while sharing numerous friendships. Even in retirement, Elmer found a way to make a few dollars. With his beloved Julia by his side, they drove cars for a local dealership to their destinations while enjoying treasured times traveling and seeing the countryside. In addition to transporting cars, some of Elmer and Julia’s travels included trips to Maine, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania, just to name a few. Their favorite place, however, was visiting Branson, Missouri where they especially loved the quaint antique stores and the variety of entertainment shows offered there.
Faith continued to be a vital part of Elmer’s life and that of his family. He kept busy with churchas a long time, charter member of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Holland. Through his love of gardening and watching things grow, Elmer served as chairman of the Building and Grounds Committee for five years and in various other capacities. Close to Elmer and Julia’s heart was their immeasurable volunteer effort for Right To Life. Staunch supporters, as a couple they lovingly gave of their time and talents to this worthwhile cause.
Quite a steak and fish type of man, Elmer and Julia liked going out to eat and did so often at Old Country Buffet, Bob Evans, and Logan’s. Music and the hymns of his youth gave Elmer much peace and comfort, especially when he experienced the death of Julia in 2010. He loved the old songs of faith, including his favorites such as Holy, Holy, Holy and God Be With You Until We Meet Again. He favored the Light Bearers Quartet and quartets in general. When not listening to music, Elmer liked watching the old classic comedy shows on TV.
Elmer Knoll held fast to his faith. He was a kind, cordial gentleman who enjoyed the friendships of many, and the love of family. Along with the day he returned home from the war, the most memorable day of Elmer’s life was the day he married his forever gal, Julia. More than anything, he cherished the love of his wife, and the honor of being a father and grandfather to his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren with whom he counted as his greatest blessings. Although deeply missed, Elmer will be fondly remembered for these things and so much more.
Elmer Knoll, age 91, of Holland, passed away Monday, July 18, 2016. He was preceded in death by his wife, Julia in 2010. Elmer is survived by his children, Ellen Tornovish of Kewaunee, WI, Earl Knoll of Holland, and Eric Knoll of Pullman; grandchildren, Todd and Colleen Van Wieren, Erica Armstrong, and Stephanie and Bob Lynn; great-grandchildren, Chelsea, Cody, Connor, Logan, Dillon, Makenna, and Aiden; his brother, Ken and Jane Knoll of Zeeland; in-laws, Judy Gruppen of Holland and Jay Breuker of Zeeland; several nephews, nieces, and cousins.
Visitation will be 2-4 and 7-9 pm, Friday, July 22, 2016, at the Dykstra Funeral Home-Mulder Chapel, 188 West 32nd Street, Holland. Funeral services for Elmer will be at 11:00 am, Saturday, July 23, 2016, at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 1015 East 32nd Street, Holland with the Rev. Kenneth Klett officiating. Burial in Restlawn Memorial Gardens. Memorial contributions may be made to Right to Life of Holland Area.