Eileen Jeanette Knowles

Eileen Jeanette Knowles, 80, of Excelsior Springs, Mo., passed away July 2, 2020 at her home.  Born June 12, 1940 in Ottumwa, Iowa, to George and Evelyn (Wright) Bortz, Eileen attended and graduated from Ottumwa High School where she was a cellist all three years in the Iowa All State Orchestra.  She was also selected to play in the Southeast Iowa Symphony Orchestra at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, Iowa while in high school. She studied to be an x-ray technician at the Ottumwa Hospital.  Her love of music and learning continued throughout her life.

Eileen married Robert “Bob” Lee Knowles on January 17, 1959 in Ottumwa.  They moved all across the Midwest through the years with Bob’s job in the Air Force and then the Burlington Northern Railroad living in Missouri, Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma, Illinois, Minnesota, and returning back to Missouri to stay.

Over the years she worked as a Title 1 Teaching Aide at Pine Hill Elementary School in Cottage Grove, Minn., and as an Avon representative for 34 years.

She enjoyed supporting her children throughout the years as a room mother, Girl Scout and Cub Scout Leader.  She was a member of TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) throughout the years holding positions of Leader, Co-Leader, Weight Recorder, Treasurer, and Secretary thoroughly enjoying the comradery and life-long friendships.

But Eileen Knowles was much more than the things she did.

Her greatest joys were her family and her friends, and she lived that devotion every day. She cherished each relationship and brightened our lives with her beautiful spirit.  Her life was one of kindness, compassion, and love.  She loved us dearly as we loved her. How blessed we are to call her Sister, Mother, Grandma, and Friend.

She is survived by daughter, Debra (David) Goggin of Huntsville, Ala., and two sons Greg (Ann) of Independence and Brian of Kansas City, Kans.; five grandchildren, Michelle Stamness (Tony), Zachary, Julie, Jacob, and Nathan Knowles; two great-grandchildren, Ethan Alexander and Steven Pittman; brother, Robert Bortz (Susan) of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and many dearly loved in-laws and friends.

Eileen was preceded in death by her parents; brothers, Gary and Daryl Bortz; and her beloved husband, Bob, who passed away January 5, 1994.

Eileen will be in-state 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., on Saturday, July 11, 2020 at Bross & Spidle Funeral Home followed by a 2 p.m. graveside service at Hillcrest Cemetery, Excelsior Springs, Mo.

Our Sincere Condolences

Sorry to hear of Eileen passing. Hadn’t been in touch for some time, but we’re great friends when we both sold Avon. She had a winning personality and always a smile. May God bless her family at this time.
Love Larna

I will greatly miss this sweet and treasured lady. We shared the love of 4 of her grandchildren on Grandparents and Old Aunts days as well as many family holidays. She was always a smiling face and treasured wisdom wherever we were and I loved our conversations. Prayers for her children in this difficult time.
Barbara Kaiser

Eileen was such a kind person. I will miss her.
Deborah Halferty

Thank you for your kind words for mom. I cannot express My gratitude to her friends that she cherished so much. Her love will be missed in our lives, as she will be.
Greg Knowles

Eileen will be greatly missed. We have been friends since the 60’s when our kids were on Highschool. We would meet for lunch every other week to exchange Avon orders/payment. We enjoyed visiting. Eileen had just told me she didn’t want to ever retire from selling Avon because she had too many customers that she loved to visit with.. Eileen was a truly lovely friend who loved her family very much.
Eva (Baker) Roberts

We are so sorry for your loss! Our family really enjoyed conversations with Eileen. She was kind and thoughtful! She was a great example to her family and grandchildren.
Jennifer and Matthew Kaiser

I was heartbroken to hear about your mom. We became friends when we moved to Excelsior 6 years ago and I needed some avon.
A friend introduced us and it was like we had known each other our whole lives.  My mom also became fast friends with her.  She was always talking about her kids, and grandchildren, with so much love. She told us stories of when you lived in Minnesota and how much you traveled early on from your dad’s job. I knew she had taught, but I did not know she played the cello. Your mom will be truly missed.  We were truly blessed to have known her.
Our Deepest Sympathies,
Denise Murphy