On February 23, 1914, in a small drafty farm house, a little baby boy was born. His name was Alfred Knoll. His parents, Albert and Mina Knoll, now had a son to carry the Knoll name, and take over the ranch when he became a man, and he did just that.
Alfred worked hard almost everyday of his life. He was a rancher, truck driver, worked in a grocery store, was a butcher, a carpenter, (which is why he lost most of the tips of all his fingers with a skill saw), and a rock mason. He always did a good job in whatever he built or where ever he worked, so he could look back and be proud. He helped build the Trinity Lutheran Church, he built his own house and helped build his son’s house, and the last big job he did was building the fireplace at Gem of the Hills. I say he worked hard every day because as he grew older, it became work to do the smallest thing, like laundry and cleaning house. After the death of his wife, he did it all himself, right down to the week before he died. We tried to help from time to time, but we didn’t want to take his independence away, so we let him do what he could, and we did the rest.
He was a member of the Eagles Club, The Sons of Hermann, Twin Sisters School Alumni, served on the Blanco City Council, and always had an opinion about everything, even if you didn’t want to hear it.
He told me once that he had chances with other girls, but when he met Eliese Georg, it was love a first sight, and he knew that she would one day be his wife. They were married on October 22, 1936 in Twin Sisters, Texas. They went out in to the field together and picked yellow wild flowers to serve as her bouquet. On Aril 17, 1941, Eliese gave birth to a son, Clifton. In 1952, they had a little girl, Susan. But Susan had many problems, and passed away at the age of 3 days. Alfred had a stern voice and a rough manner, but underneath all that hardness, beat a heart that could be soft and loving. But only Eliese ever saw that side of him.
Because his health was getting worse every day, and he was falling more and more all the time, it became necessary to put him into the nursing home, knowing that he never wanted to go there. He told me that he would not stay long, and he didn’t. We put him in Live Oak Nursing Home on Thursday, February 28. On Friday, February 29, Clifton and I were there, and he told us that he had been there in the nursing home for days, even though it had only been 24 hours, and they wouldn’t let him see his wife. So she was hiding in the closet. He even had a nurse go open the door and say hello. Her name is Debbie, and she was his angel while he was there. His mind was in the past and the present just didn’t seem to matter. Somehow, I believe he was the smartest one of us all. He remembered all the good times form childhood to manhood. And he always remembered his beloved wife. He missed her very much, and on the night of February 29, she came out of that closet she was hiding in, took his hand, and they left together to be with our Lord in Heaven.
Our life will now have an empty spot in it, and his stories of when he was a boy are now only a memory. But we will also remember all the wonderful people that called and came by with food and hugs and friendship. Our neighbors and friends, the Trinity Lutheran Church Women for the great reception, EMS, Live Oak Nursing Home, and Butch Crofts, are just a few that we need to thank. Too many to name each individually, but the one person I will name, is Debbie from Live Oak Nursing Home. All the nurses and staff were wonderful and took very good care of him the short time he was there. But Debbie is the one that went to the closet and said hi. It made him happy and she made him feel better with the chats and the smile on her face. Thank you Debbie, you were his angel. I know because he told me so. Cliff and I also want to thank our children for all the work they have done. Taking over the errands, answering the phone, and just being there to talk and hold us when we fell apart, was very comforting and we love you all very much. It has been a long and sad week, but everyone around us has made it easier than we ever thought possible. You will all stay in our hearts and on our minds for a very long time.