In memory of
Gary B Knivila
In memory of
Gary B Knivila
Gary B. Knivila of Santa Rosa CA, known lovingly as Popa, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family on Tuesday, August 25, 2020, at the age of 86. Gary was born to Wilma and Oscar Knivila on March 22, 1934 in Fort Bragg, CA. He was raised in Fort Bragg and graduated from Fort Bragg High School in 1952. Gary was a star athlete in basketball, football, and track. He married the love of his life Marlene Plotnik on January 22, 1955 and they recently celebrated 65 years of marriage. As patriarch of our family, Gary was a gentle giant with a kind loving heart. He was a charmer known for his sense of humor and sly smile. Gary spent his early years with Union Lumber Company and logging in Mendocino County. In 1964, with their two daughters Sherry and Brenda, they moved to their forever home in Santa Rosa. Upon the move Gary joined Operating Engineers Local 3 and worked as a heavy equipment operator until retirement in 1996. Gary and Marlene started the tradition of hosting Sunday Night Dinners and have kept it going for over 40 years. Gary's legacy lives on in Lake County with a summer home he built with his father in 1956, which we call "our happy place". Gary taught generations of children how to water ski on Clear Lake. Gary was an avid single skier until the age of 72. Gary taught his grandkids to "never say can't" which instilled hard work and determination. His grandson Gary recently said, "Popa, you have lots of stories to tell," to that Popa responded, "They're not stories, they're the truth!" His 5 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren were the lights of his life. He was a devoted cheerleader at all the kids' games. Gary was a prolific story teller. He captivated family and friends with his ability to recall and retell his life experiences. Gary enjoyed his '65 Ford Mustang, gardening, water color painting, collector of memorabilia from the 1915 and 1939 World's Fair, and wood working. He also loved collecting rocks. His great grandchildren would find rocks on their travels and always return with a rock for Popa. Gary is preceded in death by his mother Wilma, father Oscar, and step father Clarence Burbeck. Gary is survived by his devoted and loving wife Marlene, daughters Sherry (Loyde) Johnson, Brenda (Marty) Rossi of Santa Rosa, and "daughter" Denise Transtrum. Step brother Walter John Burbeck of Fort Bragg. Grandchildren: Dawn Marie (Dave) Ginn, Gary (Melissa) Johnson, Shanena Rossi, Christopher (Crissy) Rossi, and Amanda (Casey) Allen, all of Santa Rosa. Great Grandchildren: Grace and Jack Ginn, Kiera and Colin Rossi, Jordan Rossi, Kylie and Colton Allen, and Hailey and Ian Johnson. Sister in law Francis Plotnik, and Sister in law and Brother in law Janet and Terry Cummings. Gary was special to countless kids, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends who adored him. Gary worked hard and played harder. His larger than life personality and uncompromising devotion to his family will be forever missed. A celebration of his life will be planned at a future date. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Sutter Hospice 110 Stony Point Road #200C, Santa Rosa, CA 95401 or St. Vincent de Paul Holy Spirit Catholic Church 1244 St. Francis Road, Santa Rosa 95409.
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Services Provided By
Neptune Society of Northern California - Santa Rosa
1455 SANTA ROSA AVE STE B2
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
In memory of
Gary B Knivila
Gary B. Knivila of Santa Rosa CA, known lovingly as Popa, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family on Tuesday, August 25, 2020, at the age of 86. Gary was born to Wilma and Oscar Knivila on March 22, 1934 in Fort Bragg, CA. He was raised in Fort Bragg and graduated from Fort Bragg High School in 1952. Gary was a star athlete in basketball, football, and track. He married the love of his life Marlene Plotnik on January 22, 1955 and they recently celebrated 65 years of marriage. As patriarch of our family, Gary was a gentle giant with a kind loving heart. He was a charmer known for his sense of humor and sly smile. Gary spent his early years with Union Lumber Company and logging in Mendocino County. In 1964, with their two daughters Sherry and Brenda, they moved to their forever home in Santa Rosa. Upon the move Gary joined Operating Engineers Local 3 and worked as a heavy equipment operator until retirement in 1996. Gary and Marlene started the tradition of hosting Sunday Night Dinners and have kept it going for over 40 years. Gary's legacy lives on in Lake County with a summer home he built with his father in 1956, which we call "our happy place". Gary taught generations of children how to water ski on Clear Lake. Gary was an avid single skier until the age of 72. Gary taught his grandkids to "never say can't" which instilled hard work and determination. His grandson Gary recently said, "Popa, you have lots of stories to tell," to that Popa responded, "They're not stories, they're the truth!" His 5 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren were the lights of his life. He was a devoted cheerleader at all the kids' games. Gary was a prolific story teller. He captivated family and friends with his ability to recall and retell his life experiences. Gary enjoyed his '65 Ford Mustang, gardening, water color painting, collector of memorabilia from the 1915 and 1939 World's Fair, and wood working. He also loved collecting rocks. His great grandchildren would find rocks on their travels and always return with a rock for Popa. Gary is preceded in death by his mother Wilma, father Oscar, and step father Clarence Burbeck. Gary is survived by his devoted and loving wife Marlene, daughters Sherry (Loyde) Johnson, Brenda (Marty) Rossi of Santa Rosa, and "daughter" Denise Transtrum. Step brother Walter John Burbeck of Fort Bragg. Grandchildren: Dawn Marie (Dave) Ginn, Gary (Melissa) Johnson, Shanena Rossi, Christopher (Crissy) Rossi, and Amanda (Casey) Allen, all of Santa Rosa. Great Grandchildren: Grace and Jack Ginn, Kiera and Colin Rossi, Jordan Rossi, Kylie and Colton Allen, and Hailey and Ian Johnson. Sister in law Francis Plotnik, and Sister in law and Brother in law Janet and Terry Cummings. Gary was special to countless kids, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends who adored him. Gary worked hard and played harder. His larger than life personality and uncompromising devotion to his family will be forever missed. A celebration of his life will be planned at a future date. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Sutter Hospice 110 Stony Point Road #200C, Santa Rosa, CA 95401 or St. Vincent de Paul Holy Spirit Catholic Church 1244 St. Francis Road, Santa Rosa 95409.
View Full Obituary ›
Services Provided By
Neptune Society of Northern California - Santa Rosa
1455 SANTA ROSA AVE STE B2
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
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