Henry Knosalla

Henry Knosalla BORN: MAY 26 1914 - Staples, Minn.
DIED: SEP 20 1969 - Portland, Ore.
AGE AT DEATH: 55 years, 3 months, 24 days
MARRIED: Blanchie Helen Baxter, NOV 25 1937 - Staples, Minn.
CAUSE OF DEATH: Cardiac arrest
BURIAL: Portland, Ore.

Henry was 100% Polish. He grew up one of eight children in a large, close Catholic family. He was living on his parent's farm south of Staples, Minn., at the time he met Blanchie. They were engaged a year or two before breaking up, because she still liked going out on dates with other boys. However, he followed her to St. Paul, Minn., where she was working. Shortly after, he left for Wisconsin to become the manager of a magazine sales crew of about 10-15 men. His crew traveled to a different county in Wisconsin and Indiana every one or two weeks to sell farm almanacs and five other magazines (including Ladies Home Journal) to farmers. Henry kept writing to Blanchie, describing how much she would like it where he was. Henry married Blanchie a few months later, on Thanksgiving Day, 1937, when he was 23 years old.

Henry and Blanchie Knosalla
Henry and Blanchie Knosalla
5/1/1938, Martineville, Ind.

Their first child, Elaine Frances was born on 3/5/1939. Elaine was named by a vote of Henry's magazine crew. Her middle name came from St. Frances, whose day is celebrated by Catholics in March. Henry loved being around his new daughter, even to the extent that, when Blanchie nursed, he wanted them near so he could observe the process. A son, Robert Charles, was born 9/10/1940. He was named after both grandfathers.

When Elaine was about a year old, Henry quit the magazine business and opened his first meat market in Staples. He had grown up on the farm and his folks used to peddle meat in town, so he knew a great deal about meat. He was in business a year before it burned down, suspecting their sole competitors for having something to do with it. With the help of Blanchie's parents, he opened another meat market right next door to his competitors, but had bad luck with this one as well. A Jewish partner brought in the grocery part of the store. However, they were so rushed in getting it opened, they didn't have time to take inventory and found themselves short by $700, a large sum at that time.

Henry's young family went briefly to Mason City, Ia., where Blanchie's brother Leo had a music store. Henry drove delivery truck for RC Cola and worked in a meat market before World War II broke out and he and Leo came to Portland, Ore., to work in the shipyards. Later, Henry's parents and siblings followed him out to the West Coast. Henry was deferred from serving in the Armed Forces because he chose to work 30 months as an electrician in the shipyards. Henry learned his electrician's work while on the job. Henry had a variety of jobs during his life, and did well with most of them because he learned quickly and worked hard.

Henry Knosalla's meat market
Henry Knosalla's meat market
1940s, Portland, Ore.

Henry returned to working meat when he found work at the Jantzen Beach meat market. Late Christmas Eve in 1946, after work, the meat market employees met in a house behind the market for a Christmas party. A black man pointed a gun at one of the butchers when he was getting into his car. He was told drive out to Vanport, where he was killed, and the black man took the car to Seattle, where he was caught. On Christmas Day, the FBI showed up at Henry's apartment to question him about the events of that night.

Henry bought his first meat market in Portland at SE 82nd and Stark just after the war ended. Blanchie remembers how the Chinese, who ran the grocery section, helped slow business because many customers couldn't tell the difference between them and the Japanese, who were really the enemies during the war.

Henry and his family fell into a pattern they were to repeat many times. Henry was constantly trying to find a better home and a better job. During their first 18 years in the Portland area, they moved 12 times. Henry either worked for or operated several meat market operations, often borrowing money to finance his first inventory stock, and Blanchie often worked as his side wrapping meat. One time, even though they lived only two blocks from work, Henry still drove to work everyday.

Until 1951, Henry had a meat market. In '51, he went to work for Sedlock, selling promotional materials at stores like watches, pens and boxes of candy. He was very good with people, and was a very good salesman, often winning awards as top salesman. One reward included an expense-paid vacation for him and Blanchie at Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood (they had a very good time, and ran up the huge sum of $300).

During his career, Henry was involved with several minor illegal activities, including selling illegal fireworks, gambling (punchboard), and selling horse meat, in order to supplement his income.

Henry Knosalla and grandson Kevin
Henry Knosalla and grandson Kevin
c. 1965, Portland, Ore.

His passions included cooking meat and potato dishes, taking naps in his easy chair, and yardwork. Everyday after work he would spend time in his gardens tending his flowers.

Like Blanchie, Henry also had a drinking problem. However, he controlled his better. When Blanchie was in a coma and near death from her drinking, he swore to lay off from it, but never did. It became worse, and he was unable to accept help from Blanchie to quit.

He died on a Saturday after work from cardiac arrest. He was found slumped over sitting on a sofa at home by Blanchie. It was Sept. 20, 1969.


   Valentine (Klonsala) Knosalla      ----\
              Bernard (Robert) Knosalla --------\
                                          |     |
                                          |     |
                                          |     |
   Hedwig Bielucha      ------------------/     |
                             Henry Phillip Knosalla
        John Kloss -----------------------\     |
                                          |     |
                                          |     |
                                          |     |
             Veronica Gertrude Kloss -----------/
        Agnes Kozak ----------------------/


  Elaine Frances Knosalla                    Born:   MAR 5 1939
    | Terry John White                       Born:  JUL 28 1957
    | Charles Henry Powers                   Born:  AUG 29 1961
    |   | Benjamin Patrick Powers            Born:  MAR 26 1989
    |   | Suzanne Elaine Powers              Born:   MAY 3 1992
	|   |   | Johnathan Charles Powers       Born:  SEP 21 2010 Clackamas, Ore.
    | Kevin James Powers                     Born:  JAN 20 1963
    |   | Patrick Daniel Powers              Born:  NOV 21 1985
    |   | Jennifer Carmen Powers             Born:   JUN 3 1988
    |   | Melissa Stephanie Powers           Born:  JAN 26 1991
    |   | Natasha Powers                     Born:  SEP 30 1996
    | Dorine Jeanette Powers                 Born:   FEB 8 1965
    |   | Rachael Cherie Powers              Born:  NOV 24 1994
    | Benita Lynn Powers                     Born:  MAR 27 1966
    | Cynthia Rae Powers                     Born:   OCT 6 1968
    | Elena Rose Marie Powers                Born:   SEP 6 1970
    | Paul Benjamin Powers, Jr.              Born:  OCT 17 1972
  Robert Charles Knosalla                    Born:  SEP 10 1940
    | Lawrence Knosalla                      Born:  MAR 22 1967
    |   |   |

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