38456Re: [TexasCzechs] Obit - Henrietta Fisher Knape
- Jun 2, 2008Thank You, Matt. I was about to "pull my hair out". You would think with a
son that is a computer specialist I would be more savvy. paulasmaggie
----- Original Message -----
From: "Matt Cross" <lennonluv@...>
To: "Texas Czechs" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Monday, June 02, 2008 12:59 PM
Subject: [TexasCzechs] Obit - Henrietta Fisher Knape
San Antonio Express-News, 1 Jun 2008
Obituary: Knape, 90, was a descendant of Texas' Czech pioneers
By Sarah Sumadi
Henrietta Fisher Knape, a descendent of one of the first generations of
Czechs to settle Texas, died Thursday of a heart attack. She was 90 years
Knape's grandparents took a seven-week sea journey from what would become
Czechoslovakia in 1875 and eventually settled in Ammansville, a small town
nestled between LaGrange and Schulenburg. They were among the early Czech
settlers in Texas and worked as cotton farmers. They later donated a few
acres of land to build the St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, one of
Texas' more than 20 “painted” churches whose interiors are completely
covered in brightly colored murals.
Ammansville is a small town now, but back then, “they had the church, a
couple of stores, and a jail,” said Knape's son, David Knape, 62.
The social scene revolved around Saturday night polka dances.
The German immigrants lived across town on the other side of Texas 71.
Knape's future husband Victor was one of them.
“The groups didn't mix very much, but my dad decided to come over to the
Czech side to go to a dance,” David Knape said. “He was one of the first
ones to cross over, and that's how he met my mother.”
The couple married and moved to San Antonio in 1942, when Victor Knape got a
job as a sheet metal worker at Kelly Field.
Knape studied in Houston to become a legal secretary and worked for a lawyer
in San Antonio for 20 years. She spent an additional 10 years as a medical
secretary. Even without a college degree, she was known as one of the best
in the business.
Her razor-sharp organization wasn't limited to the office; she remembered
the birthdays of her entire extended family, including her husband's side.
She was also fluent in Czech and German.
“She could read German better than my dad, and he was German,” Knape's son
His mother's schedule was busy, even after she retired. She made quilts for
her 11 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, volunteered and played piano
at nursing homes, and sang alto in the St. Luke's church choir for 11 years.
She was an avid cook, and her specialty was kolaches, the sweet Czech
“The Czechs are a big part of Texan culture, and my mother was very proud of
her heritage,” David Knape said.
Fittingly, Knape will be buried alongside the church her grandparents helped
build nearly a century ago.
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