A memorial service for Berta Knatcal, 96, will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1, at the Pentecostal Revival Center, 814 S. Hwy. 17, West Plains.
Miss Knatcal died 2:07 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, after a brief illness at West Vue Nursing Center, West Plains, Mo. She was born July 2, 1916, at Van Cleve, Maries County, Mo., to George and Ellen Clark Knatcal. Prior to 1919, the Knatcal family moved to Emmett, Idaho, where they lived briefly before moving by horse and wagon to Independence County, Ark., where her mother’s family resided. Miss Knatcal, known as “Bertie” to her family, attended school sporadically in and around the Batesville area, often missing classes because she was fragile as a child. Her younger sister, Fern, suspicious that Bertie was not as frail as she claimed, was known to comment, “She will probably outlive us all.” She nearly did. Only her youngest sibling survives her. When Miss Knatcal was a teenager, the Great Depression prompted her family to move to Colorado to seek work. They stayed briefly before moving to the West Plains area in the 1930s. She eventually moved to Seattle, Wash., where she worked for Boeing Aircraft during WWII as one of many “Rosie the Riveters.” After the war, she moved to Tucson, Ariz., where she lived and worked until 1997 when she moved to West Plains to be near her sister and niece. She did not drive. Some local residents may remember seeing her wear a heavy winter coat even in the summertime as she made her way around town by bus and by foot. She had always been cold-natured and disliked air-conditioning. Miss Knatcal never married and lived independently, on her own terms, until she was no longer able to take care of herself. In October 2010, she moved to West Vue Nursing Center where she continued to make her wishes known, requesting every detail be done according to her standards, until the days immediately before her death. She had many patient and understanding caregivers and friends who tended to her, doing their best to grant “Miss Berta’s” requests. Miss Knatcal was baptized at an early age. Her Christian faith was the most important thing in her life. She loved to sing hymns as a soloist, read her Bible and was unwavering in her regular attendance at church services. She enjoyed doing crafts. Cross-shaped bookmarks were her specialty. She was not a good cook and readily admitted it. She had a sly sense of humor, loved babies and children and was always willing to tell anyone her forthright opinion on any topic.
Miss Knatcal is survived by one sister, Golma Allen, Renton, Wash.; niece, Terry Hampton, husband, Allen, West Plains; seven other nieces; and two nephews as well as great and great-great-nieces and nephews from other areas of the country; and her church family.
Her parents; two sisters, including Fern Fuhrmann; two brothers; three brothers-in-law, including Allen Fuhrmann; and one niece and one nephew precede her in death.
Miss Knatcal will be interred at Oak Lawn Cemetery. The family suggests those wishing to honor her memory make contributions to a Christian charity of the giver’s choice.
Arrangements under the direction of Robertson-Drago Funeral Home.