Curt Knierim Memorial COLOR RUN JUNE 24TH,2017 

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On this page I would also like to post stories about my father that other people know, like or feel should be shared with others.  So if you have any such stories you would like to share on this page, please e-mail them to me at Thank you very much and enjoy.

​A little bit about my father if you care to read on (I could write a lot more as he has accomplished and overcome a lot in his lifetime!).

My father was a great man! But, life wasn't a cake walk for him early on.  Many of you may not have known my father battled alcoholism for many years. Moving to the U.P. wasn't the answer at first as he struggled raising a six year old boy while living in a trailer the size of a conversion van.  Despite the trials and tribulations that he faced with this disease, he fought his way through it not only for himself but for the lives of his children.  A couple of years after defeating a disease that once consumed his life, Curt Knierim started to reap the rewards of sobriety.  He met the love of his life, Rita Leihpart in 1988 and would marry her two years later.  I personally owe a lot to Rita, who not only helped my father succeed, but also aided me in my journey.  My father became more involved in his children's lives going to sporting events, coaching, and taking us on vacations.  You could find Curt at the ice rink in the middle of the night for weeks on end through December trying to get the ice ready as early as possible so my friends and I could play hockey.  I believe it was calming for him, a sanctuary if you will.  Life had become what I think he wanted it to be and more...  

​Some of my fondest memories of my father were growing up in San Diego playing football on the beach every Saturday morning, fishing and camping along the Two Hearted River in the Upper Peninsula in search of Steelhead, and of course hockey tournaments all over the state of Michigan and Canada. A moment that will forever be etched in my memory is seeing my father in the stands at Ball State University during the ACHA National Championships. It was the last hockey game I ever played. He had a sign that read, "Refill (my nickname), thanks for all the memories, I love you!"  My dad motivated me to be the best person I could be whether in sports, school, or in the community.  He always stressed that my education came first and would push me to be the best student I could possibly be. He was there for me whether it was at a rink, gymnasium, football field, baseball field, along the track or a cross country course.  Rarely did he miss a meet or a game.  I can still hear his voice carry, cheering proudly for his son in triumph, and even more in defeat.  My father taught me to be humble in victory and to have the ability to accept defeat.

It was those moments which made me realize that he was more than just my father; he was going to be the person next to me at my wedding, giving the "Best Man" speech. I don't know if I truly understood how much it meant to him to be my Best Man, but it was one of my proudest moments having my father know how much he meant to me. I'm truly blessed to have shared that experience with him, especially not knowing four months later he would no longer be with us.

The love, support, and service he showed the community was returned to him at his viewing and funeral service as over 600 people paid their last respects to a man whose legacy will live on forever in the town of Newberry and beyond its city limits. I will honor my father and try to live the life that he led. They will be tough shoes to fill as he set the bar high. In closing, if a man’s wealth were to be gained by how much he is loved, my father would have been among the richest men in the world.  Thank you for all your support.-Kevin Knierim
My dad loved his community, especially the youth.  He enjoyed the friendly atmosphere: everybody gave a friendly wave and looked out for each other.   Curt coached hockey, baseball, football, all voluntarily, never accepting a pay check for his time. He took out a $5000 dollar loan to start a Junior Knights football program for kids in middle school. He was on the city council, water and light board, athletic boosters, served on the board for the Tahquemenon Area Youth Hockey Association, and was the President of the Little League Baseball program. He did all of these things and never asked for anything in return. He did it because he loved kids and wanted what was best for the community.
"Once a Marine, always a Marine".  I knew my dad fought in Vietnam, although he didn't talk about it at all with me, but I did not know he fought in the jungles of Cambodia, some of the fiercest fighting of the Vietnam campaign (research it sometime, it is pretty crazy)' He wasn't one to brag or boast. He always wanted to serve.  Not only was our father honored in fine fashion by the Marine Corps at his viewing and funeral, he was led into the church by a former resident of Newberry, one of my great friends and former roommate, Major Lucas Wood of the U.S. Marine Corps. What an honor for my, family and I'm sure my dad would have been humbled.

  • My Hero 4:19
  • Live Like You Were Dying4:58
  • From Where You Are3:01

Curt Knierim Memorial