Douglas Keith Knope, age 80, of Shawano, passed away on Wednesday, August 30, 2017 at his home after a 6 ½ year battle with cancer. Douglas was born in Shawano on September 20, 1936 to the late Melvin and Lillian (Winther) Knope. He graduated from Shawano High School and continued his education at Milwaukee School of Engineering. Upon returning from school, he went into the heating and roofing business with his father and brother. On August 20, 1960, he was united in marriage to Antoinette Brunner in Shawano. Doug was a private man who never wanted public recognition for his accomplishments. He worked with the Shawano Fire Department beginning in December of 1960 until retiring in April of 2016, serving as Fire Chief for many years. In 1967, Doug realized Shawano did not have an ambulance service and along with his brother, Pete, purchased a hearse from each local funeral home to start a Shawano Ambulance service. He was one of the first 100 EMT’s in the state and with the help of a few friends and neighbors, including Dan Van de Loo, Don Thaves, Maynard Rosenberg and others, created Shawano’s Ambulance service, which today is run by his son-in-law Pat Trinko. After taking a few ambulance calls and realizing that the ambulance couldn’t transport a patient who was killed in a car accident until the county coroner arrived to pronounce the death (often taking hours), Doug decided to run for Shawano County Coroner. He held the position of coroner for 20 years and later wondered why! His wife said he was too soft for the job. As his kids were growing up, his hope was for them to stay in Shawano, so he purchased Dearco Glass & Paint. As it turned out, his wishes were granted and all three kids stayed in the community. Kort with Knope Heating and Air Conditioning, Jeff in Dearco Distributing, and Liz and Pat with the the Shawano Ambulance Service.
Doug is survived by: his wife Toni, of 57 years; their three children and six grandchildren, Kort (Monique) Knope and their children, Blake and Kendall, Jeff (Dawn) Knope and their children, Andrew and Ashley and Lizabeth (Pat) Trinko and their children, McKenzie and Parker; his brother, Peter Knope; two sisters, Greta (Ron) Anderson and Kathy (Daryl) Schneider; as well as nieces, nephews and friends.
A memorial service for Doug will be held at 1:00 pm on Saturday, September 2, 2017 at St. James Lutheran Church in Shawano with Rev. Mark Baldwin officiating. Inurnment will be in Woodlawn Cemetery at a later date. Visitation will be held at the church on Saturday from 9:00 am until the time of the service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Diabetes Research Institute in honor of his granddaughter who is living with type 1 diabetes or to the Shawano Area Community Foundation.