Knake said his wife passed away in March 2008 after a long illness. She was able to avoid going into a nursing facility because he set up a bed in the living room and purchased a lift and other equipment so she could say at home for the eight years of her illness.
Knake founded his commercial contracting company, J.H. Knake Co., in 1960 in the Dayton area and dissolved it in the late 1990s.
“I thought I was (retired) until people found out I can do all of this home repair work,” Knake said, “I stay busy all the time.”
When he heard Miller nominated him to be a Community Gem he said, “ I just kind of grinned a little bit. I said ’I don’t know what will become of it.’”
When Miller broke her ankle Knake said he helped out by picking up her newspaper and mail each day. He recently he repaired a ceiling fan for her.
The COVID-19 pandemic slowed down the amount of jobs he has coming in but he said he still gets calls from people who need woodwork or light metal work done.
“I’m 96 and I’ll be 97 in April. I just keep active all the time. I just keep a’movin’,” said Knake. “I don’t eat out much. I do all my own cooking and try to eat decent and I just keep plugging away.”
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