Margaret Elisabeth (Betty) Knopp

Published 4:34 pm Wednesday, March 22, 2023

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Margaret Elisabeth (Betty, Boop, Grandma, Great Grandma) Knopp, 98, went home to the Lord, reunited with the love of her life and two of her daughters on March 16, 2023.

Betty was born in Peoria, Illinois on December 11, 1924, to Paul and Dorothy (Doubleday) Smith.

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Betty attended Duke University, graduating in 1946 with a degree in Sociology and a minor in Psychology.  She worked at the Hartford Institute and Greystone Hospital.  Betty met the love of her life, Walter Knopp over an “Old Fashioned” on the Jersey side of the Holland Tunnel, and the two were married in Tryon on June 5, 1948, the start of an amazing life journey.

Betty and Walt lived for more than 30 years in Wyckoff, New Jersey, where they raised their four daughters, spending summers “on the mountain” in Tryon.  She was involved in American Field Service (AFS), hosting many international students from multiple countries, one of whom became “the fifth daughter,” Karin Høie.  She was also very active at Good Shepherd Church in Midland Park, New Jersey.

In 1984, Betty and Walter “retired” to “Synopsis”, their newly built home in Columbus.  She became actively involved in FENCE, Meals on Wheels, the Polk County Community Foundation, the Holy Cross Vestry, Choir, and In reach.

Betty adored her family and had a passion for loud classical music, exotic cooking, traveling, and marathon entertaining events with friends and family.

Family dinners were “cooking and bonding” events with “all hands on deck”, from shopping to chopping, dicing to slicing, and everything in between.  Her home was always beautifully festooned with wildflowers and greens she picked by the side of the road, earning her the title “Bag Lady of the Forest.”

Rainy days also earned her the title of “Game Warden,” when children and grandchildren collectively played Charades, Dominoes, Hearts, Spades, “Drawing Charades” and countless other games to offset the lack of pool time.

Betty was the Belle of the Ball.  She and Walt hosted every sort of social event, from pool parties and church picnics to concertos in the living room and charity black-tie casino nights to help ring in the New Year.  And at Steeple Chase time, the Knopp Contingent arrived with themed food, drink, and costumes.  Even Morris the Horse got a hat or a bow tie!!!  She always said, “I’d rather throw a party than go to one.”

Betty leaves to honor and cherish her memory, her children;  Jennifer Pettinicchi and her husband David of Trumbull, Connecticut, and Cynthia McKinstrie and her husband Frank of Columbus; seven grandchildren; Kelly Pettinicchi (Danny), Ana Pettinicchi (Chandler), Katie Knopp, Ryan Gardner (Jinny), Andrew Davidson (Kara), Paul Davidson (Brittania), Grant McKinstrie (Sarah), Adam McKinstrie (April) and Kiley Kula (Kevin), as well as ten great-grandchildren; Alyssa, Sydney, Olivia, Hudson, Aria, Michael, Akari, Alexander, William, and Atticus; a sister-in-law, Mary Smith, and numerous nieces and nephews.  She was predeceased by her husband of 59 years, Walter, daughters Anita Knopp and Heather Knopp, a sister Sylvia Moore, and a brother Arthur Smith.

A celebration of life memorial service will be held on Friday, April 28 at 3:00 p.m. at Holy Cross Episcopal Church, 150 Melrose Avenue, Tryon.  Donations can be made to Holy Cross Church, Meals on Wheels, or Second Chance.

An online guest register is available at

McFarland Funeral Chapel
Tryon, NC