At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Vicksburg Girls Softball
501 E. Main Street
Vicksburg, MI 49097
Please make checks payable to Vicksburg Softball.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Strong-willed yet easygoing, Susan F. Knapp of Vicksburg, Michigan, had seen remarkable changes in the world during her lifetime. Wars and technological advances taught her that circumstances were always going to change, but in the face of all that could sometimes feel uncertain, there was one thing that never changed; her love for her family. Her grandchildren were her pride and joy, and even when she experienced the ups and downs that life can bring, she held onto her hopes and dreams for them.
In 1938, the dark clouds of war loomed over Europe, but in the midst of the threat, Philip and Margaret (Loudenslager) Hamilton had something that gave them hope. They watched the news with concern, but as spring approached, their anticipation grew until finally they were rewarded with the arrival of their first child. On April 15 of that year, little Susan was born in Colon, Michigan, a community that would eventually become known as the Magic Capital of the World. A younger sister Janet and brother Jerry later rounded out the family.
Growing up in the rural Midwest, Susan understood community and working with others. She learned about service and cooperation as a young person involved in 4-H. She practiced teamwork and perseverance playing softball and basketball for the Centreville Bulldogs. Susan graduated from Centreville High with the class of 1955, just a matter of months before Rosa Parks famously added fuel to the fire of the Civil Rights Movement in Montgomery, Alabama. After graduation, she got a job with Patrick Abstract & Title Office.
While Susan was navigating young adulthood, a young man who lived in the area was also considering his life's path. Ed Knapp lived on M-86 between the villages of Nottawa and Centreville and could sometimes be seen practicing his golf swing outside. When Sue drove by, she often gave a playful honk. Ed had been playing softball in Sturgis and one day stopped at a store in Nottawa. Sue happened to be there and offered him a slice of pie that she claimed to have made herself. That was the beginning of a decades-long relationship. Ed and Sue were married on January 29, 1960. It was years later when Ed found out that Sue's mother had been the actual pie maker.
For their honeymoon, Ed and Sue traveled to Houghton Lake in the north central Lower Peninsula, but things didn't go quite as planned. Ed came down with the flu and Sue had her first opportunity to exercise her vow to love him in sickness. They spent the next fifty-six years building their lives together, partnering in the raising of their three boys, Ted, Tom, and Fred. In the midst of the nearly constant activities of boys, her job as an office manager for Kalamazoo Ophthalmology, and the many tasks around home like making up a batch of her family's favorite spaghetti or a tasty baked chicken, Sue kept her firm but easygoing personality intact.
Sue had several hobbies that kept her occupied. She was a skilled seamstress and for a short time, despite their protests, made the boys' school clothes. She collected Beanie Babies when they were popular and later took up an interest in specialty coins. She loved casinos and playing the slots, which was a nice way to pass the time, but there was nothing like visits with the grandkids. She enjoyed shopping with her granddaughters and never missed their sporting events. Christmas was her favorite time of year because the whole family could get together. She loved to see how everyone was growing and changing and looked forward to updates on the happenings in their lives.
After Ed retired from teaching, he and Sue did a lot of traveling, listening to Sue's favorite country and gospel music while hauling their fifth wheel. They visited Texas, Arizona, and Florida, but none of those places appealed to them enough to want to stay long term. They chose to winter in Gulfport, Mississippi, a stone's throw from the Gulf of Mexico. The trips and warmth were good, but it was also nice to get home. She liked being close to family and made sure that her grandkids knew how special they were to her. She leaves her loved ones with the assurance of her care and memories of her commitment to their happiness.
Susan died at Kairos Dwelling on Monday, June 27, 2016, at the age of seventy-eight. Sue is survived by her husband of fifty-six years, Ed; three children: Ted Knapp of Kansas, Tom (JuliAnne) Knapp of Vicksburg, and Fred Knapp of Colorado; seven grandchildren: Kacie, Jamie, Haleigh, Jessie, Shaidan, Tailynn, and Braidyn; one great granddaughter, Josie; a sister, Janet Dudley of Three Rivers; a brother, Jerry (Barb) Hamilton of Centreville; and several nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, July 9, 2016, at 11:00 a.m. at the Vicksburg United Methodist Church, 217 S. Main, Vicksburg. The family will receive friends at the church one hour prior to the service.
Please visit Sue’s webpage at www.lifestorynet.com where you may sign the online guestbook and share a favorite memory or photo. Those who wish may make contributions to Vicksburg Girls Softball, Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, or Kairos Dwelling.