By Linda Moody
July 31, 2014
GREENVILLE — Norma Fae Knick is already being missed by those who knew and loved her.
Darke County’s first female auditor died July 14 at Wayne HealthCare in Greenville at the age of 90.
She was a member of the St. Paul Lutheran Church in Greenville, the first lady on the Wayne Hospital Board of Directors, a member of the advisory board for AAA, as well as being involved in numerous organizations as a member and board member, and was a recipient of numerous awards and citations. And she was a proud member of the Greenville High School class of 1942.
Never married, she left behind three nephews and their spouses, and numerous great- and great-great-nieces and nephews.
She also left to mourn her loss quite a number of friends she made over the years.
“Norma was always a lady I admired and wanted to be like,” Susan Fowble said. “She was always professional, a neat lady and very appreciative of what everybody did for her.”
“She was a very, very good friend,” Jean Merkl said. “Of course, I worked for her. She hired me at the auditor’s office in 1972, and I worked for her until she retired. It was supposed to be a temporary job for six weeks. At the time, I was working for Wayne Seed Co. and at noon would go out to eat and that’s when I became acquainted with her and Mary Catherine [Wilson]. Then, I got laid off and had to apply at three places like they did back then. The courthouse had nothing on computers yet, it was done by hand, and Norma said she needed me for six weeks. Norma retired, then I stayed on until Sept. 1, 2000, working for Janice Anderson.”
Merkl said Knick was a “good boss.”
“I always liked her. We were good friends,” she said. “When she moved to assisted living at Oakley House, she had macular degeneration and couldn’t see to write. She always wanted to send cards, so I’d address them for her once a month. She didn’t want anybody to think she had forgotten them. She always remembered everybody. She was really a good person and did a lot of things for people that no one knew about.”
Merkl concluded, “I enjoyed working for her very much. We were friends until the day she died. Her favorite snack food was devil’s food doughnuts. I would take her some. She was a very, very good person. She was happy she got to celebrate her 90th birthday on May 1. I wasn’t able to go because I was in Ireland, but I sent her flowers.”
“She was the county auditor, and I worked for the health department, and we would be working back and forth,” said Miriam Knick, whose husband was second cousin to Norma Fae. “She was wonderful, very thoughtful and grateful for what you did for her. She was a wonderful, wonderful friend. We had a lot of good times, not only at work but we played cards together. We became good friends.”
“She was one of my closest friends,” Marjorie Good said. “We had known each other for years. We worked together at the light company in 1945. She was a lovely person and a very intelligent woman. She was a very capable person and did a wonderful job at the courthouse as auditor. I really miss her. She was a good person.”
“I had known her a lot time because we both had gone to the Lutheran Church,” Elsie Stentzel commented. “I knew her through the courthouse, too. She came after I was there and she was working for the Marchals, the attorneys, at the time. I was working in the recorder’s office and went to the clerk of courts office. We’d take time to go together and visit people through the church. She was a special person. When she moved to Oakley House, she told me to call her every evening. I tried to do that.”
“My very first encounter with Aunt Norma was when Daryl invited me to his house for a date night I thought, but when I arrived to my surprise there set three women in the kitchen with Daryl,” said Carolyn Fields, now Daryl’s wife. “Mary Catherine Wilson (her very dear friend for more than 40-plus years), Jean Merkl, whom she worked with, and of course, my aunt-to-be Norma Knick playing cards which she dearly loved to do with a lot with her friends.”
Carolyn went on, “Aunt Norma was raised in Greenville Township in a log cabin as a child with no running water or inside toilet, which the two of us spoke many times over the next 12 years. She always loved to talk about her family with others. Norma lived with her sister, Eileen (my husband’s mother), brother Pete and her parents. She later moved to Greenville 1959. Aunt Norma was never married, but you could say she loved her nephews like they were one of her own.”
Carolyn said she and Daryl visited Norma often and, when they did, she would talk about how she worked for Wright-Patterson putting rivets on the fighter planes. Then, in 1945, she worked for Greenville Power an Light, then for a short time she worked for Marchal and Marchal Attorneys. From there, she became a county employee in the auditor’s office in 1949. She was elected county auditor 1962 until she retired in 1994.
“Many of our visits led to other conversations such as one when I took our friends to visit, one of her favorite TV shows was to our surprise ‘Two and a Half Men,’” Carolyn recalled. “If you ever watched the show, you would know why we were so surprised. On another visit, she told us about how she loved to go to Minster and eat chicken and have a beer, so of course, one day while we were visiting and eating chicken my husband gave her a beer. The face she made and her comment was ‘They must have changed the taste of beer.’” (No, Aunt Norma didn’t drink the beer.)
Her friends and family was always very important to her, according to Carolyn. Her aunt spent once a month playing cards with friends.
“She loved all the kind and loving people that came to visit her at the Oakley Place … Ruth, who brought her chocolate marshmallows; Jean for helping her with birthday cards; and Velma and Luke for the snacks,” Carolyn said. “She also appreciated the phone calls made to her each night by Elise Stentzel just to make sure she was OK. Her family was her sunshine. She would talk to me about how she loved her great-great-nieces and nephews’ visits and dance the chicken dance. She loved seeing the babies and hearing how they were growing. She loved to play checkers as well as cards. She would never let the boys win just because they were 8 and 9.”
Knick’s church family was also important to her.
“She loved coming to church and listen to God’s word,” Carolyn said. ” Even after she wasn’t able to come to church any longer, she loved listening to the recordings of the church service and to read her daily devotions, which she never missed a day. Dennis, Daryl and Dale, you were loved by her just as she was by the three of you. Many times she told me how much and that she couldn’t have done things without your help. Aunt Norma was a blessing to all our lives and will leave an empty spot in our hearts. Aunt Norma was a very wonderful lady and she will be missed by her family and friends.”
Knick was laid to rest in the Greenville Cemetery.