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Let love lead the way

POSTED July 26, 2023

Let love lead the way

Delores Peters and Audrey Cook share the story of their aunt and uncle’s legacy of love.

By Jahneice Wright, donor care specialist, Canada

Erika and Fred Knipfel were born in the 1920s and grew up during the Great Depression. They both came from large farming families, Erika in rural Northwestern Ontario and Fred in Southwestern Ontario. There was an expectation for the children to pitch in, so they both understood the value of supporting their community and helping others early on in life.

Their love story began in 1949, when Erika moved over 1800 km from Waldhof to Kitchener, close to Fred’s hometown of Petersburg. Despite Erika’s vow to never marry a farmer, she quickly overcame this belief after meeting Fred at a dance – he did enjoy the polka, and they shared a love of country western music! The couple was married in 1951 and lived a beautiful, yet modest life together.

Erika and Fred made a great team: working on their dairy farm and running the Knipfel Picnic Grounds together. Fred was in charge of tending to the cattle, harvesting, and wood-cutting, while Erika took care of the gardening and all the house duties – which were plenty. She also enjoyed painting, reading, writing poetry and quilting with the ladies’ at church, while Fred was part of the Cemetery Board.

Erika often shared her poems with their family during special occasions. In honour of the couples’ 25th wedding anniversary in 1976, she wrote:

“Twenty-five years have passed, Oh! What bliss
To think it all started with a passionate kiss
The two of us then, faced the world as one
That is how this great tale was begun…”

Erika and Fred were known to be kind, generous, loving and able to find humor in any situation. Having no children of their own, they spent their free time dancing, swing or tetherball bowling and travelling the world to places like Brazil, Peru, China and South Africa. Inspired by their travels, as well as their commitment to their Lutheran faith, the couple felt it was important to help vulnerable children around the world and started supporting urgent-need projects through Children Believe in 2006.

Erika and Fred Knipfel smiling together

After Fred passed away in December 2009, Erika continued to provide small but meaningful donations for children, focusing on projects (like this one) through Children Believe. Erika was eventually reunited with Fred in January 2021, but their legacy-of-love lives on through the generous gift they left to Children Believe in their Wills.

Because of their way of life and their commitment to children around the world, their legacy gift to Children Believe was larger than they could have ever dreamed.

And it’s still going! The residual gift is now 800x greater than their lifetime giving to Children Believe! This generous donation is also helping reduce their estate taxes – something that made good financial sense to the couple when they created their Wills together.

Erika and Fred believed in the power of love and in their legacy. They understood they could make a positive impact on the lives of many children for generations to come by helping them access education, and that’s exactly what they’re doing!

Learn how you can leave your own legacy-of-love to children, through Children Believe.

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Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60+ years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.

About ChildFund Alliance:

A member of ChildFund Alliance, Children Believe is part of a global network of child-focused development organizations working to create opportunities for children and youth, their families and communities. ChildFund helps nearly 23-million children and their families in 70 countries overcome poverty and underlying conditions that prevent children from achieving their full potential. We work to end violence against children; provide expertise in emergencies and disasters to ease the harmful impact on children and their communities; and engage children and youth to create lasting change and elevate their voices in decisions that affect their lives.

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