About My Dad’s Grandfather


Charles Knopf

Knopf Bakery - 1913

(Margarete, Charles Knopf & Julia Ballschuss... with kids Charles and Margaret)

Knopf Family in Early 1920s

Knopf Family Around 1930

Ridgewood Bakery

    “I was born on September 6, 1905 in an apartment on the east side in the upper 70’s of New York City. Shortly after that my parents moved to Ridgewood, Brooklyn, NY where on December 18, 1909 my sister Margaret was born. When I was 5 years old my father bought his first bakery. Four years later he sold it and bought a building in a location that was being newly developed and opened a then very modern bakery. There were open fields and woods in the neighborhood and I had plenty of play areas with my friends. I also had chores in the bake shop and very early every morning helped a man delivery with a push cart fresh rolls and buns to our customers. I also did errands for the next door drugist and eventually worked behind the counter and made up medications (not prescriptions).”

    “At nine years of age I began studying the violin and after a few years I began playing with my cousins Marie and Frank who played zithers and we did some performing at social functions. In those days there was no radio or television, so it was customary for friends and relatives to get together and sing and play games for amusement. My violin teacher then suggested that I study the viola and when I got into high school I joined the orchestra. The viola is not a popular instrument and players were in demand, so I played with the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra which gave concerts in the Brooklyn Academy of Music and on a large estate on Long Island. I also played with 2 string quartets. I spend so much time with music that my other studies were being neglected. In my fourth year of high school, my father sat me down and asked what I wanted to do. I did a lot of playing but realized that I was not a top notched musician and since I also fooled around with electric motors and lights, I decided to go into engineering. I was told that I must do one or the other ... not both.

    My parents were very good to us and I saw many musical shows with them. My father bought his first car in 1918 and took us on trips on Long Island. He was a fishing enthusiast and with some business friends would hire a fishing boat every Wednesday and during the school vacations took me along. I had gone to school in Ridgewood, then Newton High School and college at Pratt Institute where I graduated an electrical engineer.”

    “I went to work for the Otis Elevator Company as a student engineer in Yonkers, NY and then was transfered to New York doing electrical engineering for the construction department until 1932 when during the Great Depression I was laid off. A year or so later, my father became ill so I helped my mother manage the bakery. The bakers and store girls did the baking and selling, while I did the buyinh and scheduling and helping where needed. I was active with a social club consisting of sons of master bakers. We had many dances and parties and at one of them I met Katherine Goelz. We were married on September 18, 1937 and on August 19, 1939 our daughter Doris was born. In October 1936, I had gone back to work for Otis in Yonkers and I stayed there until I retired on April 1, 1971.

    In December 1941, Katherine and I were divorced and she married Herman Knupfer. While she was in Nevada getting the divorce, I attended an Otis company party and was introduced to Theresa Dvoretsky who was there with some girlfriends.

    It was during World War II and both Theresa and I were working for Otis. We were married on April 19, 1942 and lived in Yonkers until we moved to Connecticut. Theresa was born on October 10, 1916 to Adam and Anna Dworetsky and until we were married lived in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY attending and graduating from High School there. Our son Douglas was born on June 25, 1945 and our daughter Eva on January 21, 1948.”

My Dad’s Grandparents