William H. KnappFebruary 25, 1931 ~ January 10, 2018 (age 86)
Knapp, William H. (Bill) of West Warwick passed away peacefully at the age of 86 on Wednesday January 10th. He was surrounded by his family at Kent Country Hospital after suddenly falling ill. Bill was born on February 25th 1931 in Tomah, WI to Henry and Irma Knapp. For 68 beautiful years, he was the devoted husband of Lois, who preceded him in death by just three weeks. Bill was a loving Father, Grandfather, Great-Grandfather, Uncle and Brother.
Originally from Wisconsin, Bill spend much of his youth living with his family in Oregon. He had an eventful childhood and due to his unending curiosity and mischievousness, Bill often found himself in trouble that resulted in some physical harm. He survived many various escapades as a child: playing with a gasoline-soaked sock and setting fire to the attic, chopping off half his finger throwing around an axe, severely scrapping up his knees after trying to jump on the back of a speeding truck. And all this before he was 10. Over the years, his recounting of those adventures to his grandchildren gave them all great amusement.
Returning to the Midwest in the late 40’s, he met Lois, and they married in 1949. Bill was called into military service in 1952, and proudly served in the Army during the Korean Conflict, until his Honorable Discharge in 1954. After the war the couple settled in Moline IL and Bill began a career at Jaydon Industries, eventually rising to the position of maintenance supervisor. He retired in 1983, at which time Lois and Bill moved to Rhode Island to be closer to their daughter and her growing family. While in RI, Bill worked for a number of years at Temple Beth-El in Providence, where he made many lifelong friends. Bill and Lois enjoyed traveling and camping throughout their lives, and they owned Mink Brook Campground in Lisbon NH from 1985-1995.
In spite of his lack of a formal education, Bill was a voracious reader and a student of history, particularly military aviation. There wasn’t a combat pilot or war plane that he couldn’t identify or describe at length, most often in discussions with his daughter, son-in-law or grandchildren. He loved people, and relished every opportunity to learn more about someone’s personal history, even if that someone was simply filling his gas tank or delivering milk. He didn’t care who they were, they were people and they were interesting to him.
Bill loved polka music and was quite a dancer in his day. He taught himself how to play the accordion and continuously impressed people with his musical skills. Bill was also very fond of animals, and he and Lois enjoyed many beloved pets during their life.
Above all, it was family that gave him his greatest pleasures. Bill never missed any of his grandchildren’s band concerts, plays or sporting events. He celebrated graduations, weddings and births. He talked, he laughed, he ate a lot of cheese and pie. Bill led a happy and a joyful life.
Bill leaves behind his only child Jan Richman and her husband Barry of East Greenwich. He is also survived by his grandson Dr. Ryan Richman and his wife Dr. Kathryn Parker of Delmar, NY, his granddaughter Erin Girouard and her husband Clayton Girouard of Royalston, MA and his granddaughter Kate Richman of Medford, MA. He will also be dearly missed by his four great-grandchildren James, Lucy and Thomas Richman and Clara Girouard. Surviving sisters-in-law Evelyn Miller of Janesville, WI, Darlene Byers of Beloit, WI and Carolyn Leatherberry of Knobilesville, IN. He was preceded in death by brother Cecil Knapp and Cecil’s wife Vonnie of New Martinsville, WV and sister June Dobson and husband Orville of Kendall, WI. Bill was also a loving uncle to many nieces and nephews across the country.
Bill will be laid to rest near his childhood home in Viola, WI. A memorial service is being planned in the spring.
Local calling hours will be held from 1-2 PM and 5-7 PM on Friday January 12th at the Prata-Gallogly Funeral Home at 78 Providence Street in West Warwick. In lieu of flowers, donations in Bill’s name can be made to the ASPCA (aspca.org) or the Korean War Veterans Association (kwva.us).