Thomas A. Knapke, 76, died on October 4, 2018 at his home in St. Marys.
Tom was born on October 23, 1941, in Coldwater, Ohio, to the late Adolph
and Frances (Jutte) Knapke. On July 4, 1964, he married the love of his
life, Ann (Schenking) Knapke who preceded him in death June 16, 2013.
Tom enjoyed a busy career but he loved to be with his family. He is
survived by his beloved children, Gregg (Deborah) Knapke, St. Paris, OH
and Beth (Thomas J.) Westgerdes, Fort Recovery, OH; his grandchildren
Todd Baker, St. Paris, Amber (Matt) Beavers, Springboro, OH, Dylan and
Anabella Westgerdes, Fort Recovery and his great-grandchild Blakely
Beavers, Springboro. Tom is also survived by brothers, Mike (Teri)
Knapke, Englewood, OH, Larry (Carol) Knapke, Littleton CO, Gary (Jackie)
Knapke, Coldwater, OH, Leon Knapke, Aurora, CO. and sisters, Janice
Gruebmeyer, Gilbert, AZ, Joyce (Kraig) Klosterman, Coldwater, OH, Bev
(Lon) Frye, Georgetown, TX, and Nancy (Mark) Poeppelman, Dublin, Ohio.
He later met his loving companion, Kathy Miller, Celina, OH, who also
Tom received his BA from the University of Dayton. He taught and coached
at Marion Local Schools and earned his MBA at Ball State in 1968. Tom
was Athletic Director & Principal at Marion Local and became
Superintendent of Minster schools and then Parkway Schools. He earned
his Ph.D. in Education Administration from Bowling Green University in
Tom was a firm believer in higher education and lifelong learning. He
served in various functions at the Western Ohio Branch Campus of Wright
State University starting in 1977. He was Dean from 1979 to 1983. He
taught Business classes while also serving as Director of the Small
Business Enterprise Center (SBDC) from 1983 to 2001. In 1995, Tom became
MBA Advisor and Interim Assistant Dean as well as Assistant Dean for
Development until his retirement in 2006. He was a lifetime member of
the Western Ohio Educational Foundation and served on its Executive
Committee. Tom was chair of the Capital Campaign Committee that
spearheaded fundraising to renovate the Lake Campus in 2007 as well as
the driving force to create the first Lake Campus student residential
unit in 2010.
Tom was also tremendous force for leading positive change in our local
communities. He was especially committed to ensuring future generations
the opportunity to enjoy our natural resources. He was positive that
Grand Lake would become a beacon of hope to find real solutions to
improve all inland water quality. He helped establish the Grand Lake St.
Marys Restoration Commission in 2010 and served as the first
facilitator. He served as GLRC member and the GLRC State Directorís
Committee from 2010 to present. In 2016, he resumed the post of the GLRC
Tom served on many boards and committees at national, regional and local
levels. He loved to teach and felt it was his responsibility to lend his
expertise to students, to the school he loved, and to other causes
important to him. He was board member of WSU Presidentís Club, the
Stanley Allen Society, Dayton, OH, the Arts Place in Portland, IN, Lake
Development Corporation Executive Board, and on Economic Development
Loan Review Board in Mercer County. He chaired three fund drives to
establish and improve the Auglaize/Mercer YMCA.
Tom was a proud supporter of the University of Dayton Flyers and enjoyed
basketball tournament trips with the Flyer Fanatics. He loved traveling
with his group of lifelong friends and taking his grandchildren to
Cincinnati Reds ballgames.
Visitation will be Monday, October 8, from 2 to 8 p.m. and Tuesday from
9 to 10 a.m. at Cisco Funeral Home, Celina. Funeral services will be
held Tuesday, October 9, at 10:30 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Catholic
Church in Celina, with Fr. Ron Wilker presiding.
Memorials can be made to the Thomas A. and Ann K. Knapke Art Fund
through the Mercer County Civic Foundation or the Thomas A. and Ann K.
Knapke Scholarship through the Western Ohio Educational Foundation at
Wright State University Lake Campus.
Funeral services have been entrusted to Cisco Funeral Home, Celina & St.
condolences to the family at
To share memories
with the family, visit www.ciscofuneralhome.com.