Bonnie Knaggs


A part of North Baltimore (history) died with the passing of Bonnie Knaggs. She faithfully served as Village Historian for nearly 40 years.

The only child of Duff M. and Ruth Knaggs, she was born September 1, 1930, in their country home, located along the “Old South Dixie Highway,” now I-75, in Bloom Township. Bonnie was delivered by the late E.A. Powell – for whom the E.A.Powell Elementary School is named.

Although she had no close relatives, only second and third cousins, Bonnie has survivors of all ages, including loyal friends Steve and Debbie Crouse and their children Cathy, Matt, and Danny – along with the entire Harold Crouse family, Linda (Crouse) Welch, Susie Crouse and Dave Crouse. Others include long time friend Ralph W. Wolfe, “sweet friend” Cynthia Harris Thompson, “go to friend” Joanne Gerdeman Cook, “swimming friend” Mary Jo Palmer, “the McDonald’s gang” Doug & Fran Troutner and Mary and Ken Bowker, “paper provider friend” Eric Mays, “hair cutter friend” Carol Crouse, recent and dear friends Allyson Murray and Brittany Stoner, “vegetable soup guy” Bill Cameron, “lottery guy” Dan Murphy, “bird seed providers” Daryl and Mary Jo Halstead, “pinecone hunter” Norma Johnson, “butterfly person” Deb Swartz, “Pepsi and Chip guy” Roger Weith, and many more “helpful hand friends” that are always there when needed: Roxie Emahiser, Sharon Phillips, Brenda Chaffin, Jill Guy, Tony and Laura Damon, Charlie and John Kelley, and the many Good Shepherd United Church friends, the folks at Briar Hill Health Campus and all of my “face book friends.”

Her career has led her from working in Burton’s Clover Farm Grocery Store, “sacking potatoes” at the age of 11, to clerk of selling license plates followed by working at the D.S. Brown Company, realtor with John Newlove Realty, and at different times: reporter, photographer and editor of the North Baltimore News. She also operated a part-time antique shop on Main Street called “Caveat Emptor. Along the way she was involved with several hobbies including photography, collecting Hummels, Mickey Mouse collectibles, Pepsi memorabilia, and North Baltimore historical items.

Bonnie also served on the North Baltimore Board of Education, Wood County Historical Boad, The Tree Commission. Wood County Board of Realtors and the National Board of Realtors. She was a life member of the North Baltimore Historical Society, Wood County Historical Society, and the Wood County Genealogical Society. She was also a member of the “First Families of Wood County.”

She was a member of the Church of the Good Shepherd United Methodist where she served as president of United Methodist Women, taught Sunday School classes, served as church historian, and served on many committees. Her first “historical project” was creating a plaque listing the history of the church.

Bonnie went on to spearhead many historical projects during her lifetime as well as provide leadership for other organizations in the community. She served as president and other various officers in the North Baltimore Chamber of Commerce, North Baltimore Garden Club, North Baltimore Business Women’s Association. She also headed the town’s year-long Centennial Celebration in 1976. This included publication of a history of the town for the first time since 1895 as well as a historical slide program that was later made into a video. She also headed the 125th Anniversary of North Baltimore’s incorporation in 2001. This event included the publication “The North Baltimore Story, Volume II” – a 132 page history of North Baltimore.

Bonnie was most proud of her efforts surrounding the North Baltimore Area Historical Society and the establishment of the North Baltimore Historical Center. When it came to any project that would help preserve the history of the town, Bonnie was right there to lend her leadership. A list of her projects includes the following: North Baltimore Historical Marker, historical village and school Afghans, wooden replicas of many of the town’s historical buildings, publication of various post cards, as well as spearheading and erecting the historic “Oil and Railroad Town” markers located at the corporation limits, and the “Crossroads of the Heartland” sign along I-75. One of her more recent projects was the Historical Marker for the North Baltimore School on Second Street that was demolished in 2012.

In addition to preserving the history of North Baltimore, Bonnie was involved in many other projects. While as a resident at Westhaven Senior Apartments she obtained grants and funding to purchase tables and chairs for the community room, new furniture for the lobby, and new appliances for the kitchen, as well as yard furniture.

During her time at Briar Hill Assisted Living she headed a drive, raising over $5,000.00 to purchase a custom made aquarium for the facility, as well as obtaining donations for s birdbath/fountain, and a flower garden. She was always thinking of something that would bring joy to others.

Although she didn’t have any children of her own, she was very much involved in activities for the youth of the community. In 1958, she founded “Tiger Teen Town” after convincing Hancock Wood Electric Cooperative to let their abandoned building on East State Street to be used as a teen center for free. She was helped by Don Miller, Mildred (June) Crouse, and Iona (Crouse) Cameron in operating the facility.

Bonnie also served as advisor for the Girl’s Athletic Association. She was also a member of the P.T.A. and held an office in the N.B.H.S. Athletic and the Music Boosters.

Bonnie was honored by the Wood County Commissioner with the Spirit of Wood County Award. F.O.E. 3263 presented the “Good Neighbor Award” to her, and the North Baltimore Schools gave her the “Good Apple Award.” While working at the John Newlove Real Estate , she was given the “Realtor of the Year Award” on more than one occasion.

A celebration of life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, February 17, 2024, at the Church of the Good Shepherd United Methodist, North Baltimore. Pastor Duane Weaver officiating.

A private burial will be in New Maplewood Cemetery, North Baltimore.

Arrangements are being handled by Smith-Crates Funeral Home, North Baltimore.

Memorial contributions may be made to Smith-Crates Funeral Home, 515 N. Main St., North Baltimore, OH 45872.

Online condolences may be expressed at

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