ANTHONY MATHEW (TONY) KNAPP, 82, passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home in Mankato, Minnesota on November 10, 2018. He was surrounded by his family after a courageous six-month battle with pancreatic cancer.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, November 15 at Hosanna Lutheran Church. He will be interred at Calvary Cemetery in Mankato.
A memorial visitation will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, November 14, at the Mankato Mortuary and also at the church for one hour prior to the service on Thursday.
Tony was born on September 27, 1936 in Ely, Minnesota to Anton and Mary Knapp. He graduated from Ely High School and went on to the Ely Junior College for two years.
Tony loved learning throughout his entire life, and he completed his teaching degree from St. Cloud Teachers College before earning his Master’s degree at Mankato State University.
He started teaching in Eyota-Dover at age 20—too young to sign a teacher’s contract in those days. In 1964, he moved to Mankato and taught ninth grade at Franklin Jr. High School. He always said that “someone has to love them.”
He went on to teach ninth grade social studies and 12th grade psychology at Mankato East High School, meanwhile coaching boys and girls gymnastics, and girls diving and track.
For his dedication to his students, he was honored with the District 77 Teacher of the Year Award in 1986. Tony taught for 35 years and retired in 1993. He loved his students and they always felt that they could confide and trust in him.
Tony loved his community and was a public servant for most of his life. He was on the Mankato Police Reserves and was a part-time police officer for 17 years. He was a member of the Mankato City Council for 12 years and served on the Blue Earth County Corrections board for 22 years.
Tony married the love of his life, Sharon Williams, on October 10, 1959. They were blessed with three daughters. Tony will be dearly missed by his family and by the many people who came to know him as a friend over the years. Kind and compassionate, he will be remembered as a great husband, father, grandfather, teacher, coach, friend and neighbor.
He is survived by his wife, Sharon; his daughters, Patricia (Joe) Cruse of Scottsdale, Arizona, Suzanne (Scott) Stenseth of St. Cloud, Minnesota, and Cheryl (Rob) Hernandez of Indio, California; grandchildren, Marie (Alex) Hess, April Stenseth, and Josh and Natalie Kanter; brothers, Ken (Kay) Knapp of Rochester, Minnesota, and Mike (Mary Jane) Knapp of Grand Rapids, Minnesota; along with 15 nieces and nephews.
He was proceeded in death by his parents; sister, Cathy; and niece, Laurel.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be directed to Hosanna Lutheran Church, Wolverton Scholarship, the American Cancer Society, and Mayo Clinic Health System—Hospice.