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We lost our mother, Emogene Reta Grams Knuth on March 17, 2017

This is the official obituary as published in the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram

 March 19, 2017

See the bottom of the page for more obituary additions from the family

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Emogene Grams KnuthEmogene Knuth, 91, formerly of Augusta, passed away after a year of loving care by her children in her home, in the presence of family and St. Joseph’s Hospice on Friday, March 17, 2017.

Emogene Reta Knuth, daughter of Emil Robert and Reta Augusta (Zank) Grams was born July 28, 1925, in Ludington Township, Eau Claire County. As a child she attended Pine View Country School and graduated from Augusta High School in 1944. Following graduation Emogene moved to Des Plaines, Illinois, where she was employed by Douglas Aircraft as a “Rosie the Riveter” during World War II. She returned to the Augusta area where she was united in marriage to John Arnold Knuth on June 6, 1947, and to this union their 2 children were born. She spent all of her married life operating the Knuth family farm. After the couple divorced she first moved to Eau Claire, where she was employed at the Holiday Inn. Still wanting to farm she moved to Minneapolis, where she worked milking and grooming the cattle on the farm owned and operated by the University of Minnesota. In 1984, she moved back to Eau Claire and worked as a security guard at the Whitehall Meat Packing Company. For a time she had also worked at the University of Whitewater in the maintenance department and at the Key Apartments in Eau Claire. At the age of 90 she was still working as caretaker at the apartment complex where she lived on MacArthur Avenue in Eau Claire. MacArthur Avenue was her home for over 40 years. Fred, the apartment owner was Emogene's dear friend. He had to order her to stop working despite her continued vigor and enthusiasm.

The love of Emogene’s life was farming and she enjoyed fishing, anything outdoors and woodworking. She was proud of the beautiful coffee table and other crafted items that she made herself from a variety of woods. It was Emogene's pride and joy to gift the items to family and friends that she hand crafted

She will be dearly missed by her daughter Sherri and Gary of Durand, son Dennis and Helton Depaulo recently of Eau Claire; 2 grandsons, Nathan and Kelly Moore of Durand, Justin and Julia Moore of Charlottesville, Virginia; step grandchildren, Kelli Saxe of Prairie du Chien, Kaydi and Ed Fattmann of Platte City, MO; 7 great grandchildren, Kelsey Bundy, Jared Moore, Colin, Gavin and Adeline Moore, Carson and Reed Fattmann; brother Orville Grams of El Centro, CA; sister, Elvera (Don) Biesecker of Eau Claire; brother-in-law, Robert Wheeler of Eau Claire; several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her father Emil; mother Reta Grams Kunert; siblings, Doris Madden, Norma Wheeler, Jeanette Ayers, Delores Yannone, Donadean Zutter, Gordon and Don Grams, and sister-in-law Rose Grams.

A visitation will be held Thursday, March 23, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Anderson Funeral Home in Augusta, where services will be at 11 a.m. at the funeral home. Burial will follow in the East Lawn Cemetery in Augusta.

To enjoy photos of Emogene’s life with family and friends you can Google “Emogene Knuth coisacoisa.info”

Our additions to the Obituary of Emogene Reta Grams Knuth to honor our Mom

We, Daughter Sherri and Son Dennis, shared the last 15 months of mom Emogene Knuth's life, living with her and providing "memory care" at her home on MacArthur Avenue in Eau Claire Wisconsin

Emogene Knuth died, at home, in the loving care of Sherri, Dennis, the wonderful guidance of St. Joseph's Hospice and long time family Helton Depaulo on St Patrick's Day.  Our stay with Emogene has been a gift in our lives and we hope one in hers

There are almost 10,000 pages of our lives on this site, many of them including our Mom, Emogene Knuth and our Aunt's and Uncles of the Augusta Wisconsin Grams family.  Emogene Knuth's official obituary can be seen on the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram web site but we hope you can share additional memories here.  Google "Emogene CoisaCoisa.info" or "Emogene Sherri coisacoisa.info" and so on, including her sibling Grams family first names, to find photos of Emogene Reta Grams Knuth from the age of one extending to the end of her life.  Click on the decades and years to the left to see our family from the 1920's to 2017

We missed a few things in our obituary for Mom Emogene Knuth: here are a couple of more things we fondly remember

Emogene Knuth had a charismatic sense of humor even into her last days.  Emogene's final weeks included three weeks at Dove Healthcare West, from February 7th through February 28, for physical therapy.  Her tenacious independence and resistance was a challenge for the therapists and we often had to be there to get her to cooperate.  Often she protested that she was 91, or 101, years old and she would cooperate if she wanted but didn't have to either.  Her response was always funny and charmingly stated

When Emogene did cooperate, she was funny.  One day Emogene successfully climbed up three steps of stairs to a small platform on top.  She got to the top and then proclaimed, for everyone in the room to hear, that she would be preaching to the congregation assembled below.  You can see our mom "Emm" at Dove by clicking the photo below.  One month later we would lose our mom.

Grandsons Justin and Nathan, and including son Dennis and daughter Sherri Donadean, would marvel how Grandma Emogene Knuth could light up a room of unknown or unfamiliar people; friends and neighbors with good humor and friendliness.  This was particularly true if the room was full of young people. This was an Emogene that we close family members only had a glimpse of, an Emogene and mom we did not get to frequently  share.  Many others, her friends, and our friends, knew Emogene Knuth only in this way

Other fondly remembered moments include:  Justin honoring Emogene on his wedding day, from the wedding court table and Emogene taking a comedic bow to the full reception as she acknowledge this honor; and Emogene getting the total attention of a bar room of young adults, when she was 85, with her humor.

We were amazed by our mom, Emogene Knuth; Emogene's last days came after a quick decline.

Mom suffered from progressive dementia over a period of years but remained functional until the age of 90.  Mom was hospitalized in January 2016 with a urinary infection that intensified her dementia.  Sherri began living with Emogene after that hospital stay of two weeks.  Dennis, retired, came to live with Emogene early in February 2016. 

Emogene's intense dementia and confusion diminished as she recovered.  Mom became again functional over a period of two or three months .  She busied herself with household activities, continually organizing stuff and helping maintain her apartment (and still helping to maintain the apartment building interior by picking up floor trash and so on).  Mom's fierce independence made it difficult for visiting nurses and other non-family members to help her; she often threw them out.  She insisted on being useful and that only family assist in her life.  We did and it is a reward we cannot describe.

 Emogene Knuth's decline into the ever after

We were confident that mom was ok as she recovered throughout 2016.  We were able to run errands, be away for a few hours or even go to a movie. 

Emogene began to struggle with breathing in late January 2017.  She refused to eat.  We admitted mom, Emm as she always liked to be known, to Sacred Heart on January 30, 2017.  Mom refused to eat for over 5 days but she did suddenly recover, with an appetite, on February 3rd. We contacted palliative care and an other gracious nurse talked to us about end of life.  Mom was discharged to Dove on February 7 for physical therapy 

Mom suffered chest pains and left arm and shoulder numbness on February 12.  Dove Healthcare sent her to Sacred Heart.  Emogene was ok so she returned to Dove the following day. Mom was discharged from Dove on March 2 to our care in her home.  Emogene had reached a plateau in her physical recovery.  She could walk but became too tired to improve on other physical exertions

Mom's oxygen levels and heart beat were very low by March 6.  We took her to Sacred Heart urgent care and she was again admitted.  Sacred Heart wanted to discharge Emogene after an overnight stay.  We insisted that she could not be without having oxygen at home and that we would not accept the discharge.  Sacred Heart was reticent about making that happen because paperwork required by Medicare.

We called Sacred Heart Hospice on March 8, within 3 hours we took Emogene home to a tank of oxygen Hospice had provided

The End of Emogene Knuth's life

The nurses of Sacred Heart / St. Joseph's Hospice began by visiting every other day.  Every day they were in attendance they recommended another assets to comfort Emogene whether it be medical equipment or prescription when it was necessary.  Their comfort made Sherri, Dennis and Helton know that our loving was helping Emogene meet her natural end

Thank you!

This end of life, minute by minute seemed to be an eternity as we were going through it.  But just two days after our mother, Emogene Knuth's death, it seems to be a short time, a time of grace.  Just a few days that flashed by in a life of 91 years and 8 months.  Thank you everyone for your support. 

Special thanks to Emogene's neighbor Homer Nelson for looking in her when we were gone. Thanks to Fred for watching over Emm during her last years.  Special thanks to Tom and Peggy Randall and Debbie for their family support and comfort during Emogene last year and especially immediately after mom's death.  Thank you Pastor Pfaffe of Durand for his spiritual support

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