David Knapke started in the fire department as a cadet at age 16. He served as a volunteer firefighter for 40 years, including five years as assistant chief of the Williamsburg Fire Department and three years as chief of the Owensville Fire Department. He also served as treasurer for the Stonelick Fire House for two years and as head of the arson task force for eight years. At the time of his death, he was a lieutenant and head of cadet training with WTFR. He died on June 5, 2015, after collapsing on a fire scene several days earlier on May 31, 2015.
David ran his own business for 12 years. He served on the city council as vice mayor for five years.
Writing this is sweet and sorrowful. David and I lived our lives around fire tones. When a tone went off, he ran, no matter the call. He just went. Dedication! He loved the fire service. His dad was a fireman. His son, today, is a fireman.
David loved the fire service, and he loved me. Although I did not understand it at times, I respected his service and commitment. He often spoke of “the brotherhood.” He would travel to different firefighters’ funerals, with me in tow. I felt “the brotherhood” when he passed. WTFD took care of me in my crisis. God bless our firefighters. I’m still active on the women’s auxiliary. I want to be a part of “the brotherhood” because I now understand it. I know being in the fire service in any capacity will make him smile. I’m now a part of the service.
David was the beloved husband of Patty Rahe Knapke, devoted father of Daniel Knapke, stepfather of Maggie and Brady Giles, dear son of Emma Wuest Knapke and the late Robert J. Knapke, and caring brother of Jody Eaton, Mark Knapke, and the late Dr. Wayne Knapke.