Herb graduated from Ottawa Hills High School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was an accomplished and well-respected mechanical engineer. His career included serving in the U.S. Army, working for Jarecki Engineering, and working at Knape and Vogt manufacturing. In 1965, Herb founded his own business, Knape Industries Inc. in Rockford, Michigan. Herb had a creative, active mind and built many things over the years both at the plant and for his family including his house, the “party boat,” a converted car called the “Ververtible” for his grandkids, and many other innovations.
Most important in Herb‘s life were his wife and family. He instilled the love for adventure in all seven children, teaching them to swim, ski, and sail. He loved his grandchildren and treasured spending time with them at regattas, sporting events, and frequent family gatherings. An avid sailor, Herb was a lifetime member of the Grand Rapids Yacht Club and the Spring Lake Yacht Club. He skippered scows nearly every weekend of the summer, with family members as crew, until he was well into his 80s. Herb also loved electronic and mechanical toys, and was happy to share them side-by-side with his grandkids.
He will be dearly missed by his wife, Glenna, his children, Judy and Bryan Lane, Mary Lou Knoch, John and Lucy Knape, Jim and Eva Knape, Bill and Cindy Knape, Betsy and Jerry Anderson, and Bob and Colleen Knape; 15 grandchildren and nine step-grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren, and many nieces, nephews and in-laws. He was preceded in death by his parents, his grandson Teddy Knape, daughter-in-law Barbara Plonski Knape, and son-in-law Bruce Knoch; sisters and spouses Gerry and David Getzoff, Charlotte and Matt Andrea, Winnifred Knape, Millie and Bill Smolenski, and Mary Ellen and Bob Thomas.
The family wishes to thank the many caregivers from Homewatch and Amy Johnson for all their kindness and compassionate care, allowing Herb to remain at home with Glenna in comfort and happiness.
A visitation will be held Tuesday, May 7, from 4-7 p.m. at O’Brien-Eggebeen-Gerst Funeral Home, with a rosary at 4:30 p.m.. A Mass of Christian Burial will be Wednesday, May 8, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Thomas Catholic Church, 1449 Wilcox Park Drive SE, Grand Rapids, with visitation one hour prior. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Stephen’s School, 740 Gladstone Ave SE, East Grand Rapids, MI 49506; or the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, 185 Oakes St. SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.