Joseph Bryant Knupple Jr. gained his wings on July 8th, 2019 and entered into the arms of Jesus after a long, well-lived life. We rejoice knowing he is finally rejoined with his sweetheart of 50 years, Mary Kathleen.
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Born on July 18, 1928 in Beaumont, Texas to Joseph Bryant Knupple Sr. and Cornelia Knupple, Joe was the first grandchild on both sides and thus became known as Joe Junior. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Joe wanted to drop out of school and join the military and be a tail gunner. His parents rejected this idea so in 1947, he enlisted in the Air Force, and retired 20 years later as a Master Sargent. He was extremely proud of earning his Lone Star Farmer Award from the Silsbee High School FFA, where he served as President his Senior Year in high school. To our knowledge, Joe is the last member of the Silsbee (TX) High School Class of 1947.
In addition to his wife and parents, Joe was predeceased by his great-granddaughter Elizabeth Paige Long, his brothers David and Robert Knupple, his sister-in-law’s Linda Knupple and Jill Newstead, his brother-in-law’s Charles Waddell and Stan Todd.
During the Korean War, he was assigned a post in England where he met and married Mary (Newstead). They moved to multiple areas of the world during their 50 years of marriage, settling in Abilene in 1967. He worked briefly at the Abilene State School and finished his working life at Thornton’s Department Store. Being of charitable heart, Joe found much pleasure in volunteering. He was very involved with the Big Brother program, helped establish three Boy Scout Troops #296, #235 and #228 for the Chisholm Trail Council (now known as the Texas Trails Council). He served as scoutmaster for two of the troops for years. He continued his involvement and earned his Order of the Arrow and in 1994 received the highest award given to volunteers, the Silver Beaver Award. He joined the Abilene Founders Lions Club where he served as President twice, and received District President of the Year in 1988. It was very common to see him and his wife hosting and chaperoning junior high and senior high youth groups at Grace Lutheran, including horseback riding, roller skating and lots of trips and cookouts to Abilene State Park. He served various positions at Grace Lutheran Church and could be found many Saturdays mowing the grass. His final service as a volunteer was for fifteen years at Hendrick’s Medical Center, where he was the first male to serve as President of Hendricks Auxiliary.
Joe loved God, singing when he was younger, animals, children, baseball- for years the Atlanta Braves but switched to the Texas Rangers, gardening, John Phillip Sousa music and the third verse of the Battle Hymn of the Republic.
Joe is survived by a devoted family who are grateful for the wisdom, experience, humor and strong values he modeled as leader and father. Survivors include his daughters and their husbands, Janey (Steve) Marcee of Center Point, Texas, Suzie (Clark) Urban of Ft Worth, Texas and Cathy (Dave) Karabag of Orlando, Florida. He also leaves to cherish his memory his grandchildren, Christy Long, Brandy (Tim) Ollhoff, Alex Urban, Lisa (Gus) Sanchez, and Shane Mills, six great grandchildren Marcus, Cheyenne, Aaron, Michelle, Brandon, Caitlin, and Breanna; Great-great grandchildren Rylie, Parker and Anthony. He will also be fondly remembered by his brother Bill Knupple, sister-in-law’s Kay (Dominic) Procopio, Elisabeth (David) Wright, Jennifer Waddell, Anne Todd, Bertha Gallagher and Margaret Knupple, numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
The family will welcome friends at his visitation at North Funeral Home on Thursday, July 11, 2019 from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M. A celebration of his life will be held on Friday, July 12, 2019 at 9:00 A.M. at Grace Lutheran Church, 1202 S. Pioneer, Abilene with a full military honor burial to follow at Elmwood Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, Joe requested memorials to be made to Grace Lutheran Church, American Cancer Society, or in his name, please adopt and give a dog a new home.