Knecht, Wayne Warren - Age 95, of Grand Blanc, died January 22, 2023 at his residence. A memorial will be held in the Spring. Those desiring may make contributions to the Flint Institute of Arts to support Educational Programs. Arrangements are being handled by Sharp Funeral Home and Cremation Center, 6063 Fenton Road, Grand Blanc.
Wayne. Dad and Opa were some of the names by which he was fondly known. Wayne was born May 19, 1927, the only child of Franklin and Irene Knecht, two farmers who came to Flint, Michigan from Lincoln, Illinois in search of work at General Motors. He attended Central High School, served a brief stint in the Army as WW II came to a close, attended Flint Junior College and graduated from CMU. After securing a job with Piper Realty Co. he and Nancy, who died just before their 61st anniversary, were married on Valentine’s Day in 1953. Tim (Linda), David (Pam), Phillip who died at birth, and Suzanne (Larry) are products of their long union. Five grandchildren and five great grandchildren have ensued so far.
Wayne loved Flint, his community, his home, his family along with his many friends and acquaintances. He was a social guy and also an accomplished man, becoming president of Piper Realty in 1963, being part of the United Way and the Flint school board in the 60’s and 70’s. In 1971, he left Piper Realty to join First Federal Savings and Loan as the successor to its then President. He stayed with First Federal through its merger with Detroit and Northern in the late 80’s, then retired from banking and went back to commercial appraising until he turned 80. All the while, teaching his family to give back as a normal part of life.
As all this was going on, we had a great family life, our parents’ wonderfulness interrupted perhaps by the part where we were teenagers. Wayne and Nancy took their first trip to Europe in 1962, 5 weeks! Nancy gave Wayne flight lessons for his 40th birthday. We got to fly all sorts of places for the next 20 plus years, Nancy sometimes with her head under a blanket as she wasn’t so fond of the friendly skies in a small airplane. Wayne and Nancy learned to ski at 40 as well, opening the door to a sport which has embraced the Knecht family ever since.
In the early 70’s Axel Bublitz, an exchange student joined our family from Hamburg, Germany. Axel, Kirsten, their family and ours, have remained joined since then. David spent a year with Axel’s family in Germany. Nicole, a grandchild, spent a year with them in Germany. Two of their children spent a year in the US. We still vacation together. What a joy.
Opa may be best remembered by his grandchildren and great grandchildren for trips to get ice cream, often just before dinner. First it was Ziggy’s then Uncle Ray’s. In Opa’s world, a day without ice cream was a rare thing.
After Nancy left this world, Helen Philpott came into our lives. Helen’s family embraced Wayne, bringing him into their lives. Wayne and Helen shared a joyful relationship filled with love and laughter. She undoubtedly gave Wayne the will to live for as long as he did.
Wayne, Dad, Opa, you are a friend, a father, grandfather, and companion deserving of your moniker, “Wonderful Wayne.” We will miss you but your spirit will live on within us.
Tributes may be shared at www.sharpfuneralhomes.com.