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Gertrude's Story

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Gertrude Dorene Capps Knowles, 98, died Oct. 3, 2015, at the Northfield Care Center. She was the youngest of three children born to James Roy Capps and Gertrude Reed Capps on Aug. 29, 1917, in Des Moines. She attended Hanawalt Elementary School and graduated from Roosevelt High School and Drake University, all in Des Moines. She spent summers at the family cottage on Lake Vermilion in Minnesota. Dorene married Arlo Henry Knowles on March 1, 1941, and soon became an Army wife as World War II raged. They had five children and lived mainly in Des Moines until 1960. They then lived in Pella, Boone, and finally Northfield, Minn. She is survived by children: Karen (Herb) Roorda of New Prague, Minn.; Wendy Knowles of Des Moines, Arthur Knowles of Minneapolis, Minn.; Ted Knowles of Denver, Colo.; and James (Martina) Knowles of Beavercreek, Ohio; grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins and many friends. Dorene was preceded in death by her husband, Arlo, her parents and her two siblings, Reed (Virginia) Capps and Greta (Iles) Peterson. Dorene was a teacher, musician, stay-at-home mom, PTA President (Hubbell Elementary and Callanan Jr. High), Choir Director (First Baptist Church in Pella) and a member of PEO and Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. She had been a member of Plymouth Church (UCC) in Des Moines, First Baptist Church in Pella, First United Church of Christ in Northfield and finally, Northfield United Methodist Church. Dorene has willed her body to the Mayo Clinic and a brief memorial service is planned at the Northfield Care Center at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015. She will eventually be buried at Ft. Snelling, Minn., with her husband, Arlo. Any memorials may be given to the Northfield Senior Center, of which she was an early supporter, or the mourner's charity of choice.
Published on  October 15, 2015
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