Francisca H. Kneefel
Oct. 9, 1937 – Feb. 25, 2023
After a long and fulfilling life that spanned three continents and eight decades, Francisca Kneefel passed away peacefully in her sleep February 25th, surrounded by loved ones.
Born in the Dutch East Indies, Francisca de Koning – or “Cisca” as family and friends called her – lived her earliest years on Java as the colonial way of life was coming to a close in the throes of WWII. As a young adult, she and her
family relocated to the Netherlands to rebuild their lives and make the most of peacetime prosperity. There, Cisca’s path would cross that of former classmate Roy Kneefel, to whom she would eventually become engaged. Together, they would fulfill their dream of immigrating to the United States. Once married, they left behind family, friends and familiar surroundings to strike out on their own across the Atlantic.
In their adopted home in the Pacific Northwest, Cisca and Roy found all that they desired to begin a new life. They soon became attached to the scenic Cascade Range and Oregon’s lush forests, vaguely reminiscent of the mountain rain forests of Java. The city of Portland offered the employment opportunities and quality of life they were looking for to start a family. Not long after becoming homeowners, Cisca gave birth to son Scott, whom she would continue to look after while working part-time assembling test and measurement electronics. With the arrival of daughter Lisa, Cisca stopped working altogether to focus on raising her young family. From that point forward, Cisca put family before her own career and did whatever it took to ensure her children's needs were always met.
Once her eldest was in high school and her youngest independent enough to manage an elementary school schedule, Cisca made the decision to return to work. Close friends referred her to the restaurant where they were employed and she began working as a server. What started as a second income quickly became a calling, and Cisca would go on to work for three different restaurants and two high-end hotels. Her attention to detail was appreciated by both management and customers, and she was regularly placed in charge of VIP guests.
Throughout these busy periods, Cisca and her husband also made time to socialize. From parish and school events to gatherings among the Portland area’s community of immigrants from the Dutch East Indies, they both took enjoyment in celebrating holidays, special occasions and their children’s milestones. Even from across the Atlantic Ocean, Cisca remained a supportive family member to their extended family in the Netherlands. From long-distance calls and correspondence to hosting family in the home, no effort was ever too great to please relatives.
It was during these family visits and holidays that Cisca derived much satisfaction from making others feel at home. She enjoyed cooking her guests’ favorite dishes and demonstrated her gracious hospitality on many occasions. Her passion for cooking honored her own traditions while also celebrating those of her adopted country. Indeed, Cisca’s bicultural background informed her sensitivity to other cultures as well as her enthusiasm for discovering
other customs. An avid reader, she took great interest in current affairs and geopolitical events. In her golden years, her unbound curiosity even brought her to discover the digital age through electronic devices and media. She traveled widely, taking many trips abroad with her husband Roy, who shared her passion for travel.
Cisca will be remembered foremost as a devoted wife and loving mother. She was also a doting grandmother who found immense joy and happiness when her own children became parents. She will be missed dearly by her friends and family.