Erwin Knocke

Erwin Edward “Erv” Knocke, 89, of Arkansas City, died Monday, May 27, 2019, at South Central Kansas Medical Center of Arkansas City.

A memorial service is at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, June 1, at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Arkansas City, with the Rev. David Herald officiating.

The family will greet friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, May 31 at Rindt-Erdman Funeral Home and Crematory, 100 E. Kansas Ave., Arkansas City.

Memorials are to Redeemer Lutheran Church, Presbyterian Manor and the South Central Kansas Medical Center Auxiliary. Contributions can be made through the funeral home. Online condolences can be made at

Erv was born, Aug. 24, 1929, near Pawnee Rock, the son of Edward and Hilda (Kruckenberg) Knocke. He graduated from Great Bend High School in 1947 and attended Wichita State University on a basketball scholarship. He married Fern Schmidt on Aug. 28, 1954 in St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in West Point, Neb.

He began his professional career in personnel at Boeing and in 1954, he and Fern moved to Arkansas City, where he was as an adjuster for the Western Adjustment Co. He became a partner in the Anderson, Guyot, & Dumenil Insurance Agency in 1955, which later became Allied Agency, Inc. The agency was sold in 1986 to United Agency, and he continued there until retirement.

Erv was a dedicated husband, father and grandfather and was committed to serving his church and community. He was a longtime member of Redeemer Lutheran Church, serving many years as a church council member, Bible class teacher, and leader in youth activities and the men’s club. He was also a weekly volunteer and discussion leader for the Inner-Change Prison Ministry at the Winfield Correctional Facility.

He served as Ark City mayor and city commissioner (1969-1973) and was a Jaycee founding officer of the Cherokee Strip Living Museum. He was a leader on the Ark City Chamber of Commerce, Planning Commission and Beautification Foundation steering committee. His community service was recognized by his receipt of the Outstanding Young Man of the Year Distinguished Service Award (1964), Ark City Chamber of Commerce Presidential Award (1986) and Corner Bank’s Community Cornerstone Award (2001).

In the 1960s, Erv successfully organized, researched and chaired a state Jaycee project to eliminate a household goods tax, which resulted in a constitutional amendment passed by Kansas voters in 1965. The tax had allowed tax accessors to go into people’s homes and evaluate everything in them to determine taxes owed. For this work, Erv won the Kansas Jaycees Governmental Affairs Award and the National Jaycees Governmental Affairs Project award.

Erv recognized the value of good roadways to the economy of Kansas and Arkansas City, and served on a number of highway- and transportation-related committees and commissions, including the U.S. 77 Kansas Highway Association, Northwest Passage Association and Action Committee for S.E. Kansas Turnpike bill. He served two terms between 1989 and 1997 as chairman of the Governors Transportation Task Force. He also served on the St. John’s College Board of Regents, Presbyterian Manor Advisory Board and Martin Luther Homes Board of Directors.

He was preceded in death by his parents; an infant daughter, Jean Ann (Jan’s twin); two sisters, Leola Miller and Marilyn Ludwig Reinke; and two brothers, Norm and Walt.

Survivors include his wife; Fern; two daughters, Jodi (Ed) Carlson, of Olathe, and Jan (Mike) Van Hoomissen, of Lake Oswego, Ore.; one son, Michael (Cheryl), of Wichita; eight grandchildren, Curtis and Collin Carlson, Katie and Grant Van Hoomissen, and Erin, Emily, Ellen, and Ethan Knocke; brothers, Maurice, of Champaign, Ill., and Ronald, of Hot Springs Village, Ark.; and many nieces and nephews.