Elaine Knapp
Elaine Knapp
Elaine Knapp
Elaine Knapp

Obituary of Elaine Knapp

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It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Mary Elaine (Elaine) Knapp, known to many as "Old Gram",lifelong resident of the Peace River Area, on Saturday, February 5, 2022, at the age of 77 years.  With respect to Elaine's wishes, there will be no service held at this time.  For friends so wishing, donations may be made in memory of Elaine to the Salvation Army, 1436 104 Ave, Dawson Creek, BC, V1G 4H9.

Eulogy of:


Mary Elaine Knapp, known as Elaine or Old Gram, was the first of five children born to Ken & Betty Cornish on September 3rd, 1944, in Pouce Coupe, BC.

Elaine was born with a kind and giving spirit who welcomed and cherished her siblings Jack, Delbert, Carol and Lorraine. She took her role as big sister very seriously and quickly became caregiver, confident, protector and best friend to them all.

In the early years the family resided in the Laundry District and Elaine attended school at Bellevue until the family moved to Dawson Creek in 1952. Here she completed her schooling in Grade 8 at Central.

In 1961 Elaine met & married Alfred “Al” Heartt. They welcomed their first son Paul Daniel Heartt on Nov 8th, 1961; daughter Lorna Grace Heartt on Oct 16th, 1962, Daughter Sandra Mary Heartt on Sept 20th, 1963, and Mark Alfred Heartt on July 7th, 1967.

While raising her first three children Elaine also opened her heart, and her home to foster children Floyd, Oral, Twyla, Orlene, Christine, Goldy & Lillian Nielsen when their mother passed away, and later baby Michelle. 

Alfred & Elaine were divorced in 1967.

Elaine met her soul mate Derek Knapp in 1968 and moved to the Doe River District to join the family farming operation.  Derek & Elaine were married Aug 7, 1971, where they worked together on the farm. Elaine would pitch in wherever necessary, driving grain truck, shoveling grain, cooking meals and taking them to the field.

They set up their home on what was originally a clover field, moving in a single-wide trailer in 1972 where they resided until 1981 when they built their lifetime home. Together they turned that simple clover field into a picturesque yard that has been used for weddings, numerous family gatherings and a home where they still live today.

In 1981 Elaine wanted to try her hand at cattle ranching, Derek was a bit unsure but reluctantly agreed. A friend and neighbor purchased 5 black angus heifers for her which promptly ran straight through the fence the moment they were unloaded. Elaine knew Derek was not going to be happy, but together they found their heifers and brought them home.

Those first 5 heifers quickly grew into a 170 head cattle operation. It was at this point they switched from grain farming to cattle ranching. 

Elaine was an animal lover and raised, chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, pheasants and would have incubators running in the basement downstairs.  In 2008 they sold all but 10 of their cattle and some of their land so that they could semi-retire. At this point the farming focus turned to hay production.


Elaine was very active in the community and was an integral part of the Doe River Recreation. She was responsible for Organizing, Staffing and Operating the Food booths at Doe River’s Annual Rodeo for over 18 years, she always stressed that she was run off her feet and didn’t know how she would get it all done, but secretly, she loved every minute of it. Elaine was also responsible for organizing many catering functions at the Doe River Hall, Cooking and Baking for people was always one of her fondest past times.

When things slowed down on the farm, she became involved in the Dawson Creek Farmer’s market selling her baked goods.  Very quickly the one small table she used grew into a 3-table operation. Her baking became very popular, and a hobby turned into a full-time job. Her van (which had most of the seats removed so that she could fit more baking) would be loaded to the roof with containers of baking and often she would sell out by lunch time. 

In 2016, her grandson Corey opened “Old Gram’s Kitchen” in the café at Rolla, a dream of Elaine’s, where they worked together cooking and serving homestyle meals and baking.  It was at this point that she became “Old Gram” to many. Old gram, being the kind of loving soul that she was, made sure that everyone that came through those doors felt as comfortable and at home as they would be if they were sitting around the dinner table in her house.  She was so loved by many that strangers in town would go out of their way to pull her aside and ask her how she was doing. From this point forward, everyone knew her as Old Gram.

Over the years, Elaine opened her heart & home to numerous people, and they were very quickly adopted as family.  Her door was always open, coffee was always on and plenty of baking to eat for anyone that stopped by for a visit. She made sure that she was always available, day or night if you needed someone to talk to. 

One time, Derek & Elaine were shopping at the Co-op in town and ran into a couple from San Diego, California (Bob & Jackie) after a short chat in the cafeteria, Elaine invited them to come and stay at the farm for a few days. Bob & Jackie Mielke became lifelong friends and visited back and forth several times.

In December of 2021, Elaine’s health deteriorated quickly, and was hospitalized Jan 21, 2022. she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, Elaine passed away peacefully in her sleep Feb 5, 2022.

We would like to thank the nursing staff at the Dawson Creek Hospital for taking such good care of her in her final days.



Very Respectfully, Reynars Funeral Home & Crematorium

A Memorial Tree was planted for Elaine
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Reynars Funeral Home & Crematorium
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