Rebecca Jane Knopf
June 25, 1957 - October 31, 2016
Rebecca Jane Smith Knopf was born June 25, 1957 in Wurzburg, Germany. The daughter of Frank Smith Jr. and Patricia Waunell Tuck Smith Person, she was one of six siblings. She lived in multiple places in her younger years, being in a military family, but spent the majority of her life in Oregon including Brookings, Port Orford, and Salem.
Rebecca a.k.a. – Becky or Becca attended North Salem High School and was proud to go back to school at Chemeketa Community College at age 31 to improve her skills and obtain an office job. She was very resourceful and an extremely hard worker, doing whatever it took to make ends meet. Her varied and storied work life spanned tree planting, gourmet mushroom picking, serving in countless restaurants and bars, commercial fishing, cleaning homes and hotels, cashiering in retail, and selling wine. Her last job with Henny-Hinsdale wine, beer, and spirits distributor was one of her highlights professionally. She worked so hard to make the best life she could for herself and her son.
Her pride and joy in life, and reason for continuing on through the pain, was her only son, Aquila Neal Knopf. Aquila inherited his mom’s tenacity and ability to persevere despite challenges and without having a leg up. It made her infinitely proud to see all he’s accomplished so far in his life, most recently rising to the rank of Major in the U.S. Army and teaching at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Rebecca’s love of words and expression also carried down to Aquila who speaks several languages including Korean, Chinese, Spanish, and Portuguese and completed his higher education in international business and Spanish at Portland State University. His mom had so much love for him and relished any connection in their time together.
Rebecca was a self-proclaimed New Age flower child and embraced the values of peace and love to her core. She radiated light and positive energy with everyone she met and found her calling in being of service to others, even when she had little more than herself to give. Though she struggled with many inner demons, outwardly she worked hard to remain the eternal optimist even when life dealt her so many challenging hands. Her body could have given out long ago, but it’s a testament to her will and hope that she hung on for so long.
She had a strong connection with nature, especially water and the ocean, and loved to tend to her plants, flowers, herbs, and beautiful objects in her home to create her own personal sanctuary in the world. She loved antiques and always saw the original beauty and stories in old relics even if what, to most, looked like nothing but tarnish and disrepair. Animals could feel her loving presence as well and she shared her life with many cats, dogs, and even wild creatures that she would “adopt” and make sure they knew some kindness. She would do anything to help others, human and non-human alike.
Anyone that was lucky enough to know Rebecca has received a rare blessing that doesn’t come along very often in life. While her body has mercifully left the physical realm, her spirit remains in the hearts and memories of everyone who honors her here today and those who couldn’t be here in person but were touched in some way by her grace. Thank you for being part of her life and honoring her presence on this Earth by sharing your thoughts about this beautiful and loving soul.
Rebecca wouldn’t want us to dwell in our grief but to turn to inner reflection on how we can try to always see the good in others and remain hopeful in the face of adversity. She will be missed by all who knew her.
A Memorial Service will be at 3:30 pm Friday, November 4th at Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.