Cover photo for Philip Frederick Knerl's Obituary
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1927 Philip 2024

Philip Frederick Knerl

August 15, 1927 — March 18, 2024

Ponca, Nebraska

Phil Knerl, age 96, passed away March 18 at Sioux City Mercy Hospital.  Services will be March 23 at 11 AM at St. Joseph’s Church in Ponca with the Rev. Owen Korte officiating.  Concelebrating the mass will be Fr. Jim Kramper, Fr. Andy Sohm, Deacon Dennis Knudsen, and Deacon Paul Treinen.  Burial will be at Calvary Cemetery, rural South Creek, Ponca, with military rites conducted by the American Legion Post 117 of Ponca.   Visitation will be from 5 PM to 7 PM, March 22 , at the church with the family present.  An evening service will be at 7 PM with a rosary to follow.  Arrangements are under the direction of Mohr Meyer Brothers Funeral Home.


Phil was born at St. Vincent’s Hospital, Sioux City, on the Feast of the Assumption, August 15, 1927.   The son of Orin N. Knerl and Bonnie (Davey) Knerl.  Phil attended grade school at Ponca Public School and graduated from Trinity High School, Sioux City, in 1945.  He immediately entered the U.S. Navy where he served as a yeoman aboard ship.  Phil remained aboard ship throughout World War II serving in both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets.  At the conclusion of WW II, Phil was transferred into the naval reserve where he completed his enlistment and received his honorable discharge.


In 1950, Phil and his brothers Jack and Bob purchased the Ford dealership in Ponca from their father O. N. Knerl and Phil remained with that dealership (Knerl Ford) until his retirement in 1994.  At that time, Phil’s son Kelly Knerl took over the ownership and management of the dealership.


Phil married Patricia McNaughton on December 30. 1950 at St. Boniface Catholic Church, Sioux City, Ia.   They made their home in Ponca where their three children were raised:  Dr. Jeffrey (Kathie) Knerl, Kelly (K.J.) Knerl, and Bonnie (Richard) McCormick.


Phil served as the Ponca City Clerk in the early 1950’s under then Mayor Buff Iverson.  He was elected to the Ponca School Board and served 13 years on the Northeast Nebraska Technical College , acting as their board chairman in 1975.  Phil was a charter member of the Ponca Medical Board, the Better Ponca Foundation, a permanent member of the Ponca American Legion Post 117, a member of the Knights of Columbus, Bluebirds Across Nebraska, and the Lewis and Clark Heritage Foundation.  Phil was a longtime volunteer scoutmaster of the Ponca Boy Scout Troop 200, and with the assistance of Fran Kingsbury, Lionel Froseth, and Robert Hurley, built and successfully guided, at that time, Nebraska’s largest boy scout troop resulting in 17 Eagle scouts. Phil was awarded the Silver Beaver Scouting Award by the Boy Scouts of America.


Phil is survived by his three children and seven grandchildren:   Col. Dan (Paige) Knerl, Eglin AFB, Florida; Dr. Andrew (Dana) Knerl, Avon, Colorado; Chris (Sarah) Knerl, Whitney Point, NY; Ryan (Veronica) Knerl, Sioux City; Greg (Brittany) Knerl, Sioux City; Maggie McCormick and fiancé Morgan Ashford, Omaha; and Kellie (Brenan)Corcoran, Omaha.  He is also survived by five great-grandchildren.  He is also survived by his sister JoEllen (Bill) Treinen of Sioux City.  Phil was preceded in death by his parents, Orin and Bonnie, brothers Jack (Betty), Jerry (Margaret)and Bob(Norma), sisters Bonnie Beth and Mary Ann (Tom) Wente, a great-granddaughter Erin Allyn Knerl and son-in-law, Rich McCormick.  He is also survived by two former Brazilian foreign exchange students, Anthony and Dr. Andre Gilbert.


In lieu of flowers, Phil has asked that donations be made to the South Creek Calvary Cemetery Association or the Ponca Educational Foundation.

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Prayer Service

Friday, March 22, 2024

7:00 - 7:30 pm (Central time)

St. Joseph Catholic Church

421 W 2nd St, Ponca, NE 68770

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Saturday, March 23, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

St. Joseph Catholic Church

421 W 2nd St, Ponca, NE 68770

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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