Francis Gilbert “Frank” Knerr, 86, of Topeka, Kansas, passed away Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020 at his home. 

He was born Jan. 31, 1934 in a boxcar at Douglass, Kansas, the son of Clarence and Sarah Lucille (Althouse) White.  Later he and his two brothers were put in the Newton Children’s Home.  His brothers were adopted into the C.C. Rice family and Frank was adopted into the Clare and Anna Knerr family at Talmage, Kansas, along with his sister Ilene (Knerr) Holt.

 Following his graduation from Chapman High School, Frank served his country in the United States Navy on a destroyer touring around the world for nine years as a boiler man.   

He later worked for KP&L (Riverside by Brown’s Park) in Abilene and for Westar Energy in Tecumseh, Kansas.  Following his retirement, Frank worked for Wal-Mart in Topeka as a maintenance person. 

 On Dec. 29, 1955 Frank was united in marriage to JoDel (Houtz) at the Talmage United Methodist Church.  They missed celebrating 65 years of marriage by two days.

Frank was a Boy Scout volunteer and coached boys baseball. 

He is survived by his loving wife JoDel of the home, sons Kenneth (Karen Alvarado) of Salina, Henry (Sharon) of Germantown, Tennessee, Delbert (Marilee) of Columbia, Missouri, ten grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.  

He was preceded in death by his brothers Kenneth Eugene and Paul Edward Rice, sister Ilene Holt and his parents.

Funeral services for Frank will be 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021 at the Danner Funeral Home with Pastor Lindsey Brummer officiating. 

His final resting place will be in the Abilene cemetery with Military Honors provided by the United States Navy Honor Guard. 

There will be no visitation.  Memorial contributions may be made to the Organization of the Donor’s Choice and may be sent in care of the Danner Funeral Home, 501 N. Buckeye, Abilene, Kansas 67410.  Condolences may be sent to the family at



Contact Tim Horan at

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