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Photo of Frederick R. Knaack

Frederick R. Knaack


Obituary


American FlagFrederick R. Knaack, age 90, of Burr Ridge, formerly of Forest Park and Western Springs. Army Veteran  Beloved husband of the late Lorraine Knaack, nee Micheletti and Elaine Knaack, nee Petersohn; dear father of Susan Knaack and Karen Knaack; stepfather of William Kobernus, Peter (Sheri) Kobernus, Karen (Phil) Gibboney and Karl (Laura) Kobernus; step grandfather of Katrina (Adam) Nausid, Brett (Christy) Kobernus and Kent (Jenna) Kobernus; step great grandfather of Maverick Nausid, Avery Jo Kobernus and Kendall Kobernus; brother of the late Barbara (the late William) Cartright; ‚ÄúUncle Fred‚ÄĚ of many cousins; grandpa to fur baby, Tiger Knaack; second dad to many; friend and hero of many.

Memorial visitation, Wednesday, April 24, 2024 9:00 A.M. to Time of Service 11:00 A.M. at Hitzeman Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 9445 31st Street, Brookfield, IL 60513. A live stream of the Service will be available to viewed at https://www.memorialslive.com/knaack If you are unable to participate during the live stream a recording will be available to be viewed at anytime and downloaded at the same link by day’s end on Friday. Funeral Service 11:00 A.M

Fred was on the Forest Park Fire Department for 30 years, retiring as Captain


We were asked if we wanted to give thoughts of our Dad at his Memorial Service today.  I wasn't able to so; therefore, wanted to share these thoughts:

Our Dad was not only special because he was our Dad; he was special because he was everyone's Dad.

At age 5 he knew he wanted to be a fireman and carried out that dream for 30 years plus years as a volunteer.

He served in the Army and one assignment was to drive General Hobart Gay to the Nike missile sites in the Chicago area. This General worked closely with Patton.  Dad mentioned this to us about 6 years ago.  Karen called me and said Dad was talking about gym shoes and was quite worried.  Boy, we had a good laugh when he told the story!

Saying goodbye was the hardest thing I have ever done next to losing Mom.  It was amazing to talk with all those that were able to come pay their respects, to read the many cards we received, to talk on the phone and to text with many friends and to read the wonderful comments on the funeral home website.  

There was a common thread in the great stories they told. It was the love they had for Dad and how he had positively impacted their lives.

He sure would have loved to be here in person to reminisce with everyone; however, feel confident that he was warmly looking down from above. 

Many thanks to the American Legion who came and did a moving ceremony including playing taps.  He was very proud of his Army service. 

Reverend Michael Trench, who is a dear family friend, officiated the Memorial service. He and Dad shared a special bond and we were blessed as he shared many memories of their talks including their greeting for each other:  See you on the other side! 

Several of our cousins delivered the readings, Sarah sang and Kim played the keyboard.  So blessed they were able to do that for Dad.

Karen and I were blessed to have our Dad; he was our hero.  Mom, Karen and I would answer the fire ring down calls by racing to where he was working.  It was amazing to watch him and the other guys on his Black Sheep Shift work as a team to put out the fire. 

He had many jobs to support us including his own furniture repair business, taxi driver, truck driver, hairdresser janitor and was 11 hours away from completing his degree at Triton College in Inhalation therapy.

Mike talked about Dad's crooked finger point before speaking.  I call it fireman fingers; they were the tools of his trade.  Frozen, cut and burned over the years; they showed what he had given. 

He fought hard against the enemy of aging by exercising every day, participating in every program and eating a very healthy diet.  His 90th Birthday was celebrated with the residents and staff and also at a wonderful party with our cousins.

He loved kids!  They gravitated to him like firefly to the light.  Facebook pictures posted and texts kept him updated.  A visit from Parker on Valentine's Day made him beam. 

He and Elaine volunteered at the Beds program and he silently took care of people in need.  

He also had numerous friends that called him Dad.  He was so proud of that.  One nicknamed him Daddio.  Our cousins called him Uncle Fred.   

In pulling up many of the 10,000 pictures that live on my phone for the funeral home video tribute, I found a recurring theme.  I could pick any picture as he always had a beaming smile or was cracking up.  He loved family, friends, furry pets and food (he was an excellent cook and loved his many kitchen gadgets collected from watching the Saturday cooking shows).  I started taking these pictures over the years as I was blessed to spend lots of time with him.

We enjoyed car lunches after appointments; his favorite treat was liver sausage!  One time we were in the Aldi parking lot facing the pine trees; pretending we were in the north woods!
Retention ponds were mini lakes.  So loved hearing the stories of such things as growing up at the lake and spending a week at a farm of a relative. 

Fishing was a passionate hobby; he patiently baited our hooks and removed the fish we caught off the hook saying i caught enough fish in my lifetime.  I can still taste the fish frys he would prepare.  What we lacked in quantity, we made up with the right amount for a delicious meal along with lots of fun reminiscing and giggling together.   

He loved Lionel trains and became a collector, he built a beautiful train board to run them and it was a lot of fun.  He has a display of some of them at KB where he lived. He beamed at the comments he received of how beautiful they were and he loved visiting them. 

Candy was always available to give to the staff who he loved as family.  He loved ALL people and loved to learn how to say thank you in various languages to thank them in a special way.  So I'll close by letting Dad say thank you for being a part of his life as he did best:

Thank you
Salamat (Phillipines)
Gracias (Spanish)
Dzińôkujńô (Polish)
Danke (German)
AńćiŇę (Lithuanian-pronunciation sounds like a sneeze)

Inurnment Woodlawn Cemetery, Forest Park.

In lieu of flowers, memorials appreciated to: St Jude Children‚Äôs Research Hospital 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or King-Bruwaert House Benevolence Fund 6101 S. County Line Road, Burr Ridge, IL 60527 or IL Fire Safety Alliance ‚ÄúCamp I Am‚ÄĚ 426 W. Northwest Highway, Mount Prospect, IL 60056.

Information 708-485-2000 or www.HitzemanFuneral.com

For those of you who would like to express your condolences to the family, please click on the link below and you can leave a message. If you wish to send a Sympathy Card to the family, please feel free to send it to Hitzeman Funeral Home, 9445 31st Street, Brookfield, IL 60513, c/o the Frederick Knaack family. We will gladly forward it on to the family.