John and Erna Knowles
(1916 - 2012)

John and Erna Knowles

Nebraska and Indiana, United States of America

Texas, United States of America

Rev. John C. Knowles and Erna Johanna Koberling Knowles were married on Christmas Day in 1938. After an amazing 73 years of marriage, they passed away within seven weeks of one another.

A joint memorial service for them both will be held January 14, 2012 at 11:30 am at

First Christian Church
1203 Fulton Street
Denton TX 76210
(940) 566-4990

Rev. John C. Knowles was born in North Platte, Nebraska on February 2, 1915 to Rev. Harry Goodwin Knowles and Lavinia Cox Knowles. He passed away peacefully at the age of 96 in Denton, Texas, November 11, 2011.

Mrs. Knowles was born in Gary Indiana on October 7, 1916 to Arthur Eugene Koberling and Johanna Klara Hosel Koberling. She passed away peacefully at the age of 95 in Denton TX, January 7, 2012.

Erna Knowles was a first-generation American, born of German immigrant parents. As a young woman, she met her future husband John Knowles at an ice-skating rink in Houston TX. They were married on Christmas Day, 1938, by John’s father the Rev. Harry G. Knowles. In addition to being the devoted mother of three sons and the wife of a minister, Erna held several administrative positions including one in data processing at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth TX. She loved to read, wouldn’t watch sad movies, and always rooted for the underdog.

Rev. Knowles graduated from Texas Christian University in 1936. In 1957, TCU awarded him an honorary Doctor of Divinity. (DDiv) He followed his father as minister of First Christian Church, Houston TX. Beginning in 1962, he served as Director of Church Relations at Texas Christian University, Fort Worth TX. Before retiring, he served as Hi-Plains Area Minister for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Amarillo TX. Throughout his life, John was a participant and a fan of athletics. He won state-wide awards in swimming and diving. He was Student Manager for the 1934 Texas Christian University varsity football team. John documented the lives of his extended family through his photographs, movies and writing. He loved music, sang in college choir, collected recordings, and attended concerts.

John and Erna are survived by sons John Knowles, Jr (spouse Becky) of Nashville TN, Jim Knowles (spouse Betty Lou) of Denton TX, David Knowles of Reno NV; grandchildren Terry Knowles of Irving TX, Jay Knowles (spouse Catherine) of Nashville TN, Tommy Knowles (spouse Mende) of Keller TX, Tim Knowles of Ft. Lauderdale FL, Lonnie Melott (partner Dennis Dean) of Dallas TX, Amy Knowles (spouse Adam Papendieck) of New Orleans LA, Lucas Melott (spouse Ashley) of Roanoke TX, Paul Knowles of Steamboat Springs CO; great grandchildren Caroline Knowles, Jack Knowles, Parker Knowles, Henry Knowles, Campbell Melott, Caiden Melott, Margot Papendieck; brother-in-law Red Rogers of Kingwood TX; nieces & nephews Jane Bonin of Washington DC, John Knowles Faust of Glen Rose TX, Joann Koberling Swatty of Cibolo TX, Jeannie Koberling Garbarino of Deer Park NY, Rebecka Rogers Keen of Kingwood TX, Katherine Rogers Gould of Johnson City TX, Judy Rogers Jonas of Austin TX, Harry G. Knowles III, Bill Knowles, Tommy Knowles; grand nieces & nephews Margaret Knowles Bonin Harper, William Oliver Bonin, Linda Blasingame, Sharon Skaar, Stefanie Marquez, Dana Danz, Allison Nash, Joann Garbarino, Gina D'Elia, Amy Rudzinski, Barbara Van Isem, Michael Garbarino. John was preceded in death by his siblings Edward Knowles, Margaret Knowles Faust, Harry G. Knowles Jr., Harriet Knowles Rogers. Erna was preceded in death by her brother Arthur Koberling.

En lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made to Texas Christian University Scholarship Fund, Box 297044, Fort Worth TX 76219.

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Guest Book (12 entries)
Two of the sweetest, most wonderful people in the world. I love you Aunt Erna and Uncle John.
Susan Conover (niece)
March 3rd, 2013
As both your ashes get spread together tomorrow at TCU, know that we all are thinking of you and will love you always.
Timothy knowles (grandson)
February 1st, 2013
I knew them from South Hills, along with my parents (who signed this earlier). I'll never forget the sound of their laughter! Such beautiful people they were/are.
Daniel Barber (friend)
January 22nd, 2012
Grateful for the years shared:worship @ South Hills Christian Church;love of music; weekly breakfasts (monthly as age crept up);family stories; much laughter......John, Jim, David, God's blessings on you and every family member
Stella Mae and Quentin Barber (Friends)
January 21st, 2012
Dear Uncle John. How fondly I remember our times with you, Erna, and cousins John, Jim and David. Mom and Dad thought the world of her "big brother", as did we all! Your home was the first in which I heard what a really good sound system can be like! The music in your home and in your heart stays with me.
Love, Judy
Judy Jonas (Niece)
January 8th, 2012
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"Rest in peace."
j g
January 5th, 2012


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