Helen LoRee Knoll of Frontenac, Kansas, died in the early morning of November 19, 2022, at the age of 98.
Helen was born on April 10, 1924, to James T. and Ada Davenport Fowler in Arcadia, Kansas, one of seven brothers and seven sisters in the Fowler clan.
Helen attended Arcadia schools graduating in the class of 1942 from Arcadia High. She often spoke of the fun she had with her friends in junior high and high school and of growing up with 13 brothers and sisters.
She was a superb cook, able to bring out the best in everything she fried, broiled, baked, sauteed, steamed, barbecued, or stir-fried. This was especially true on Thanksgiving and Christmas when family and friends gathered in her kitchen for a culinary paradise of holiday fare, especially her baked delights potica and blarney stones.
Helen collected antiques and was adept at arranging them in her home with her large collection of photographs, art and more contemporary furniture. A staunch Democrat, she served as a poll worker in her Frontenac precinct for many years. She was an active member of the Sacred Heart Altar Society and had a special love for Mary, mother of Jesus. She was an avid reader and followed both local and national news in the Morning Sun and on TV. To say she was outspoken would do her little justice as she put forth her opinion on everything from politics to religion to fashion, often employing colorful language for emphasis. She was beloved for her spontaneous and fun-loving presence and sought after by nieces and nephews at parties and Fowler family gatherings.
A stylish dresser, she traveled to Joplin and Kansas City through the years to find the right dress, hat, or coat, becoming known for the saying, “The best … is better.”
Helen loved to travel, making many trips to Hawaii, an excursion to England, and almost yearly visits to her dearest friend, Winifred MacDonald, in Chicago.
She married John Knoll, whom she met at a dance at the Trianon Ballroom, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Frontenac, on June 20, 1942. After a short period in Neosho, Mo. where their son John, Jr. was born, they moved to Frontenac, where they resided the rest of their lives, raising six more children.
Helen was preceded in death by a stillborn son (whom she named Gerard, after the patron saint of expectant mothers) and her husband, John, who died on April 7, 2007. She was also preceded in death by her parents, and by twelve siblings: C. Glenn Fowler, R.W. “Bill” Fowler, John “J.T.” Fowler, James V. Fowler, Paul L. Fowler, George D. Fowler, Thelma Renfro, Eller Jeter, Ione Guthrie, Doris Stelle, Frances “Peachy” Bedene and Jo Ferraro. She is survived by her youngest brother, David Fowler of Wichita.
Helen is also survived by her children, John Knoll, Jr. (Maria) of Santa Fe, New Mexico; Steve Knoll (Arnold) of Tyler, Texas; J.T. Knoll (Linda) of Pittsburg, Kansas; Penny Massa of Lenexa, Kansas; Patty Poticha of Lenexa, Kansas; LoRee Knoll (Denise) of Kansas City, Missouri; and Bill Knoll of Prairie Village, Kansas. Helen is also survived by 10 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren and countless nieces and nephews.
The family is thankful for her long life and is grateful to the staff of Medicalodges Pittsburg for her compassionate care these past few years.
A parish rosary will be prayed at 6 p.m. on Thursday, December 15, at Bedene Funeral Home in Arma, Kansas, after which the family will receive friends. A Memorial Mass will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, December 16, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church with Fr. Josh Evans as celebrant. Burial of the cremains will follow at Garden of Memories Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to Class LTD. These may be left at the rosary or funeral service — or mailed to Bedene Funeral Home, 517 E. Washington Street, P.O. Box 621, Arma, KS 66712.