October 13, 1932 – September 22, 2022
Ralph Herbert Knowles was born on the family farm southwest of Byemoor, on Thursday, October 13, 1932, the sixth child of Eva and W.L. Knowles.
Herbert attended Wolf Hill School then he went to Castor for grade 10. After school he returned to the farm where, except for a brief stint on the oil rigs, he lived and worked with his brother Leo for most of his life. His passion was maintaining and improving the Black Angus herd started by his father in 1944. Herb knew the name of each animal, and probably it’s pedigree, and loved them all. Because of his dedication, hard work and excellent husbandry, the name of Sunmound Ranch and it’s Angus cattle ultimately became internationally recognized. Not only did Herb make a large circle of friends in the Angus community but was also recognized by the Canadian Angus Association for 50 years of involvement.
Sunmound Ranch was sold in 1996 and Herb moved to Stettler, where he purchased a house large enough to host frequent family gatherings. This was only one of the many actions which personified his deep commitment to family; another was the scholarship Herbert established to help enable descendants of his parents obtain a postsecondary education. This extremely generous gesture has already been awarded to many and will continue to be available for Eva and WL’s descendants for years to come.
The scholarship was not the only evidence of Herb’s generosity as he gave freely of his time, money, and expertise to local museums, specifically to the Big Valley and Stettler Museums, and most recently to the restoration of the P&H Elevator in Stettler. There he spent many hours and it became his home away from home. He thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie of the other volunteers and offered tours to anyone who visited.
Herb was a very frugal person who frequented the second-hand stores, rummage and garage sales looking for treasures, especially books to add to his collection of local community and history books. He usually found an acquaintance in each community, could usually track their lineage, and expected his family to remember them. He could often be seen around town on his reclaimed bicycle picking up bottles for recycling and pieces of salvaged wood were lovingly crafted into lamps for family and friends.
Herb’s life ended on Thursday, September 22, 2022, following a serious fall. Herbert, to the end, was a strong minded, independent, caring man and he will be missed by a large extended family and his community of friends.
Herbert is survived by his loving family, siblings: George Knowles, Shirley Ries, Wilma Zurfluh, Nora Spencer, Karen (Joe) Hogg; cousins Joe (Beth) Knowles, Janice (Morley) Gabert; numerous nieces and nephews; extended family, friends and neighbours. Herbert was predeceased by his parents WL and Eva Knowles; siblings: Leo Knowles, Lillian Johnson, Betty Vorachek, Sandra Smyth; in laws: Nora Knowles, Mike Johnson, Carolyn Johnson, Don Brodie, Willie Ries, Alfred Zurfluh, Bill Smyth and niece Gail Zurfluh.
A celebration of Herbert’s life was held on Saturday, October 1, 2022, at the Stettler Funeral Home, Stettler, Alberta. Donations in memory are gratefully accepted to the Stettler P&H Elevator Preservation Society, P.O. Box 1437, Stettler, AB T0C 2L0 or a local charity of your choice. To view Herbert’s service or to send condolences to the family, please visit www.stettlerfuneralhome.com
Stettler Funeral Home & Crematorium were entrusted with the care and funeral arrangements. For further information please contact 403-742-3422.
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