Tributes From Bev and Children
Tributes to John from Bev and her children
From: Bev Knopfmacher - 30th May 1999
John Knopmacher, my beloved husband and father of Arnold, Nadine, and Kevin passed awayon the 29th of May 1999. I will miss him so much...he was my life, my love, my soul, and "the wind beneath my wings".
From: Bev Knopfmacher - 1st June 1999
Thank you all for your kind support and your good wishes. These are things that keep me goingin this dreadful time of extreme darkness andpain. John was such a quiet, modest man. He had a wonderful sense of humour. He knew when to be close and when to leave me be. He lovedhis family more than anything else in the world, and he loved Mathematics as he loved his family.He died doing the things he loved most. He saw a gentle poetry in Mathematics,I could never imagine what it could be. If you observed him and he was not aware you were watching him, his eyes had a veiled quality as though this was his secret love.The tributes that have flooded in have confirmed what a great man and greatmathematician he was. However not everyone knew what a wonderful family man he was. He deeply loved his children, and stepchildren and he was undoubtedly my soulmate.When I think of John I think of everything that is good and pure. A man who would not be compromised, a man of integrity. He was able to let me soar without feeling threatened. He supported me when I felt I was falling. He was always there.
From Jodi Woolf , age 13
Dear Arnold This is the way I remember John.He was a loving caring man that was all ways there when you needed him.I loved him very much.He took care of us like he was our real father.He was my hero.He brought me up from when I was a baby.Two weeks ago I remember him saying I cant wait till I see the puppy and all the animals, now he will never see them.I hope he watches over us and is proud of us.
From: Raphael Woolf, age 14
Dear Arnold John was a great friend, father and an inspiration to every one who knew him.He did not always show how much he loved people, but we could see it and he tried to show it in as many ways as possible. He was sopeaceful, so quiet, so calm about everything no matter what I had done.I don t know maybe this is all an awful nightmare. I hope I wake up soon.
From: Avron Woolf, age 18
In 1990, I first met John, and as a 10 year old, trying to come to grips with my parents divorce, I guess I found it difficult to understand whyJohn was suddenly in our lives. Even for a couple years after, John and I went through some tough times ( I was very difficult and quite jealousof the whole situation), but throughout John was still very supportive and never said or did anything to hurt me. With maturity, during the lastfour or five years, our relationship really improved. So much so that my feelings for John had transformed from opponent to friend and evenfurther to the degree that I would say that he was my mentor. I strived to follow in his footsteps, even finding academically that I shared tosome degree a new found passion. John was honest to the core, a trait which earned him so much respect and trust by everyone he knew. He was an absolutely brilliant man, andhe expressed this in his mathematics, in the incredible paintings he painted, and his undying love to my mom, to his children and to us (hisstepchildren). He had a good sense of humour and the two of us laughed together numerously, even the night before he left home for Austria,we sat after dinner laughing about just small stupidly funny things, I find it difficult to comprehend that I won t have the opportunity to do thatagain, but I ll treasure those times we did. Not many people realise the quantity of things that John did without ever expecting anything in return, like schlepping my brother and sister toHebrew a few years back for lessons at 7am almost every morning, like feeding the animals and playing with them for hours and like trying hisabsolute best to prepare the best dinner he could when my mom was working late, we all did learn to love his famous burned eggs, but histurkey was really good. He was always there for me, at my Barmitzvah, at my school prize-givings, in fact there wasn t a time that I can rememberthat he wasn t there. That will be the hardest thing for me to cope with now, I know in some respect he will still be here with all of us, andbecause he is still watching, I know I will continue to make him proud. I m so glad that we had resolved so many problems and that we were onsuch good terms, I only wish that I could have said goodbye.
I ll treasure our times together and miss him always.
From: Verne Dove
I was 12 years old when I was given my new dad. It was hard at the time, but John and I hit a special note together from day one.We shared a unique bond together, I am not quite sure of its origin, but we laughed together, and found humour in the most bizarreof situations. That same year John, began his fatherly role with me. He would get up at the crack of dawn to get me and Avron to school, take me tobatmitvah classes, shlepp me to and from friends, even pick me up late at night after parties. I saved up all my Batmitzvah money, pocket money, and my news paper round money to go overseas with John and my mom for the first timewhen I was 13 years old. Needless to say it was the most amazing time of my life and John gave me a new love, travelling. We had such goodtimes on our trip round Europe. One event in particular sticks out, we went to a dinner hosted by one of the universities, possibly the one inGeneva. The university had tried to make a whole day of it, by arranging a tour to a museum for what felt like a life time, even to John. Afterabout 5 hours at this place the bus was ready to depart to take us to "dinner", you can just imagine the appetite we had built up. We arrivedand were taken to a huge hall, where we were seated at one of many tables of about 20. The waiters brought salad bowls, half carrot, halftomato to the table and placed them in front of us... needless to say we automatically assumed it to be dinner. Ignoring the horrified looks ofour fellow visitors at the table we "Tucked in", not too long afterwards did we find out during an announcement that there seemed to be aproblem with one table that was short on salad, and that dinner would be served. We turned beetroot red and were pleased that carrot andtomato was not the only thing on the menu, but the rest of the table did not share in our laughter at the misunderstanding. But we sure found itfunny.I could tell you a hundred stories, the list is endless, in fact I kept a diary of all our travels with a section called "funny moments", which Itreasure now. In 1994 John took us all overseas for a year while on sabbatical, I cant believe how he put up with all of us. The sibling rivalry was enough tomake anyone turn the opposite way and run, yet John was able to accept and love us none the less. It was a hard year and we often had to liveon top of each other, but we learned so much about one another. It pulled us together in a way not many families experience, and for that Ireally thank him. John and I could talk sometimes for hours. He was so proud of how I had I had turned my life around, and he encouraged me in all my studiesand all that I did. In 1997 I got married and asked John to do me the honour of walking me down the isle, and giving me away, I think that is amoment I will cherish forever and I cant even begin to describe how happy John felt. He was a very special, extremely kind hearted person andis loved very much by all of us. He kept my family together, he kept us on track he was the backbone of all of us, he was our strength. Withouthim we all appear to be lost souls, the house has less laughter, less comfort, less happiness, the essence of happiness no longer lingers withouthis presence. We have lost a major part of our lives. I dont think we ever told John just how much we loved him, I dont know if he knew?? Thank you John for everything you did for me, my mother, Jodi and the two boys, we all love you very much, you were our father, we were a"happy" family, now we are just a family.We miss you very much and your absence feels like a huge black hole. We pray that one day you willshine your light here again. You are in our thoughts our prayers and our words all the time.
From: Bev Knopfmacher
When I married John, he made a speech saying he was the perfect husband, his reason being that he had married the perfect wife.I was not the perfect wife, but he was the perfect husband. A gentle kind man that could never harm anyone. The John that I had the privilege of loving was not the John that others knew. He was so funny, his sense of humour was wonderful. Heindulged me and spoilt me. I knew that I was truly loved. He made me coffee in bed every night. There were nights I never drank the coffee, as Iwas already asleep, yet he never stopped making it. I received a card and a gift every 24th day of the month, to mark the day we met. We justhad our 110th "anniversary" this month and I never got a card but rather an e-mail from Graz reminding me. He was so proud of everything Idid. Not only did I love John but I remained in love with him. My only competition was Mathematics. I did not mind at all. John had anotherlove besides myself, a border collie named Clover and besides for work, she went wherever he went. There was never any doubt when weimmigrated that the 12 year old Clover would accompany us. She was quarantined in South Africa, and then in Sydney and we travelled every 6weeks to Sydney to see her. Once when I was unable to accompany him to Sydney, he took the bus to the airport at 5am in the morning caughtthe 8am flight to Sydney. He then hired a car and drove to the quarantine station. He visited Clover for 2 hours and drove back to the airport,flew back to Melbourne, and took the airport bus back to Mt. Eliza returning home at 7pm. He was devoted to that dog. Clover had to beeuthenaised 7 weeks ago. She was 15 years old and suffered from heart failure. John was devastated. We both cried for hours. We buried her atthe bottom of the garden. John you are now with your beloved Clover. John was a wonderful father to his 4 inherited children. He was never to tired of assisting with lifts or just a gentle word. It is a tribute to himthat all of the 7 children are such wonderful individuals. He never tired of telling me of his love for his children. John without you, the light has gone out of my life. You were my soulmate and I can only pray I made you as happy as you made me. You weremy support and my guide. You never criticised anything I did. You were my husband, my lover and my best, best friend in all the world. I amfinding it so hard to carry on. The world is a much poorer place now that you have left us. I miss you so much as do all your children. I will tryto carry on as I know you would have wanted me to, but I really wish I did not have to because I really want to be with you. You were my life,my love, my soul and " the wind beneath my wings". I will love you always until we meet again my chocolate bear.
Your love Bev