The next time William Knueve and his wife travel from their home in Fairborn to Europe to trace their ancestry, he’ll probably be wearing his new “Donor for Life – 100 LTD” jacket. Like a Masters champion accepting Augusta’s coveted green jacket, William proudly pulled on his black DFL jacket after making his milestone 100th lifetime donation Wednesday, Feb. 20 at the downtown Dayton Community Blood Center (CBC).
“I started years ago when I lived up in Cleveland and they held drives at work, that’s how I started,” William said. After active duty in the Air Force he spent 40 years working in the computer industry, and recently retired from the federal court system. He keeps busy with “a little agriculture” work around the family farm, and his lifetime commitment to blood donations.
“Once I retired I could come in more often, that helps a lot,” William said as he relaxed with a cookie in the Donor Cafe. “I do apheresis now. I come every week as long as I can (especially in winter) until spring comes and I get busy in the fields.”
He also makes time for travel and researching his family history. He explains that the name Knueve (pronounced “Ka-nee-vee”) may sound Northern European, but is actually German. The family name was originally Knueven, but the last letter was dropped sometime in the early years of immigration to the U.S. It’s interesting that he traces his family tree to Hanover in northern Germany, and on a visit there found an ancestor’s place in local history.
During the 16th century, northern German regions became the center of the Protestant Reformation, while the southern and western regions remained dominated by Roman Catholics, setting the stage for the “Thirty Years War.” He said during a time of Dutch occupation of Hanover in the 1600’s, ruling Protestants would not allow Catholics to attend Mass in a local church. “So my ancestors held church services in their barn yard,” he said. “It had to be held outdoors to accommodate all the people. I found a plaque about it at the church and another at the farm.”
Records of achievement in the Kuneve blood line have stood the test of time. Congratulations to William for this modern milestone, his 100th lifetime donation, and the significance it carries because of the many lives he has helped save.