January 11, 1936 ~ July 4, 2021

Mary Ann Knopps, a registered nurse and influential mentor to countless young people, passed away peacefully on July 4, 2021, at the Villa at Blue Ridge in Columbia, Missouri, where she resided.  

She was born on January 11, 1936 in Kansas City, Missouri to Elmer H. Gregory and Nona Gregory (DeLaney) during what was considered to be one of the most intense cold waves in the history of North America. Strong winds in some parts of the Midwest led to wind chills nearing 85 degrees below zero.

Through it all, her warmth was evident as she was loved and cherished by her parents. She was skilled in the arts, especially folk art with her weekly Thursday painting class, clarinet, and dance. Her teachers encouraged her to attend the School of American Ballet at Lincoln Center in New York City, long recognized as the pre-eminent ballet school in the country. Her father did not want her to be so far from home, so she stayed and eventually entered nursing school at the University of Saint Mary, where she found her calling. She retired at age 64 after 22 years at John Knox Village in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.

With her ability to connect and care for others, she not only assisted patients in their recovery, but she also served as a mentor to young men and women throughout her career. In each encounter, she encouraged them to chase their dreams and to do what “they wanted to do”, even if it was outside the medical field.

She found the love of her life, Jacob, whom she married at age 22 on August 2, 1958 and shared 55 years of marriage before his passing in 2013. With his help, she guided the lives of their four children, Anthony, Jim, Anne, and Amy. She served as a Cub Scout Den Leader for her sons and supported her daughters as they followed their own dreams growing up.

As “Mommer” she cherished her three grandchildren, Eliza Knopps-Zawada, Alexander Knopps and Abigail Knopps, watching each of them grow up and encouraging them to be the best versions of themselves.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Stroke Association.

As a devout Catholic, a funeral mass will be held on Saturday, August 7 at 11:00 AM at St. Margaret of Scotland Catholic Church in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.