Robert Knapp, 77, Albert Lea

Published 6:27pm Saturday, October 5, 2013

Funeral services for Robert Knapp will be at 2 p.m. Monday at St. John’s Lutheran Home Chapel, in Albert Lea. The Rev. Jeff Laeger-Hagemeister will officiate. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service. Burial will be at noon Tuesday at Oak Knoll Cemetery in Princeton. Bonnerup Funeral Services, Albert Lea, is assisting the family with arrangements.

Robert Knapp
Robert Knapp

Robert J. “Bonneville Bob” Knapp died unexpectedly in his sleep on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, at St. John’s Lutheran Home in Albert Lea. Bob was born on March 29, 1936, in San Mateo, Calif., and grew up in Palo Alto, Calif. He had one sister, Dorothy Holman, of Coos Bay, Ore. His parents, now deceased, were Frank and Evelyn (Dyc) Knapp.

Bob married Helen (Schultz) Knapp on March 5, 1960, in California. They made their home in Los Altos, Calif., where they were blessed with two children, Jacqueline (Dr. Carsten) Schmidtke of Fayetteville, Ark., and Robert Jr. (Staci) Knapp of Denver, Colo. He was grandpa to Jacob Robert Knapp, also of Denver.

Bob was interested in cars from a very young age and worked hard as a boy in order to buy his first car. When he was 12 years old, he took his car apart and put it together again. At that age, he was allowed to drive up and down his short driveway only. Bob started his first auto repair shop in 1957, and then went on to purchase a larger, state-of-the-art repair shop in Palo Alto in 1961. As a young man, Bob could be found building race cars, participating in both drag races in California and Land Speed Record races at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. He helped build the famous 999 car; which set multiple long-held world records. Bob also earned his pilot’s license at the age of 29 and continued flying until 1991.

Bob and family moved to Elk River in 1971, and to Union County, N.C., in 1977. Bob and Helen have lived in Albert Lea since 1999. Bob was a member of The Old Car Co. Club and the “men’s table” at McDonald’s. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2007, and he had been a resident of St. John’s Lutheran Home for the past six months where he enjoyed joking with his amazing caregivers, who enjoyed his never-ending sense of humor and his stories about his many adventures.

The family would like to thank the wonderful nurses at St. John’s who treated their family with abundant love and care.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (