Eugene Arthur Knepper passed away peacefully January 27, 2023 at the age of 96 with his son and daughter at his side at the Rehabilitation Center of Lisbon where he had lived for the past year and a half.
Eugene was born on October 8, 1926 in Sioux Falls, SD, the son of May Crone Knepper and Arlie John Knepper. He is survived by two children, Kenton Todd Knepper of Phoenix, AZ and Kristin Rene Knepper (Wayne Swanson) of Cedar Rapids, IA. He was preceded in death by his parents, older sister, Naoma Price of Minneapolis, MN, younger brother, Robert Knepper of White Bear Lake, MN, and former wife, LaNel Strong (Knepper) Jacobs.
Eugene grew up in Estherville, IA where he helped out from a young age with the family business, Estherville Laundry, driving the truck routes into southern Minnesota every day after school. He also often shared good memories of fishing and swimming at nearby Lake Okoboji.
He developed a love of music while playing the coronet in the Estherville High School band. He graduated after only three and a half years when he was drafted into the Navy to serve his country in the last year of WWII. He went to sonar school in Key West, FL, but eventually ended up managing the Officers’ Quarters. In his first 30 days on the job he turned a losing venture into a profit. He spoke fondly of his days in Key West where he spent half the day working and half the day swimming at the beach.
At the end of the war he returned to Iowa where he used his G.I. Bill to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Drake University. Upon graduation, he and LaNel returned to Estherville where he had his first accounting job. But, he was drawn to bigger cities and he and LaNel moved to Cedar Rapids where he made his permanent home for the past 70 years.
His business acumen and ability to “think outside the box” allowed him to be a versatile part of many companies, including Collins Radio, Hawkeye Rubber Mfg, United Fire and Casualty Insurance, Equitable Life Insurance, and Gaddis Enterprises.
But, it was when he started working for his friend and neighbor, Tommy Tucker, in his realty office that he found his true passion for real estate. Eugene went on to open his own business, Real Estate Investment Planning, in 1974. Over the years he crafted many unique investment opportunities for his clients which lead to him being published in numerous real estate publications and inducted into “Marquis Who’s Who”. He was also frequently invited to share his wealth of knowledge at various public speaking events.
He loved Cedar Rapids and in his free time he was a big supporter of its symphony orchestra. He was a lifelong supporter of the Republican Party, having met Ronald Reagan and worked closely with several governors of the State of Iowa on property rights and housing legislation. He was a long-time member of the Iowa Association of Realtors and the Optimist Club.
He also enjoyed taking his family on road trips far and wide across the United States, including several special trips to Hawaii. Family was very important to him and he always went above and beyond to make sure his children knew they were loved and provided for.
In his later years he continued to be of service to his community through his volunteer work for Habitat for Humanity and Peace Church’s “Divorce Care” classes. Although Eugene encountered struggles throughout his lifetime, he was a gentle soul who always saw the best in what others had to offer. He will be deeply missed.
Special thanks to the care given to him at Evergreen Estates, the Rehabilitation Center of Lisbon, and St. Croix Hospice.
Funeral services will take place at Cedar Memorial Cemetery on Tuesday, January 31, 2023. Private burial at 2:30 followed by visitation from 3:30 to 4:30 in the State Room next to the Chapel. Celebration of Life at 3:30 in the same room.