Norman Wayne Kleinknecht
Norman Wayne Kleinknecht
Home city: Medicine Hat, Alberta
Date of crash: October 19, 1979
I never got to meet my uncle … I wasn’t even born yet. I’ve seen pictures of him and heard many stories about him and have seen the effects of his loss throughout the family. Uncle Norman was married with both a daughter and son. On October 19th, 1979 my uncle and his son were driving home to their acreage when coming straight towards them was a vehicle. My uncle told his son to duck as he swerved to miss the vehicle … they couldn’t swerve quickly enough. I was told my uncle was killed instantly. I’d like to believe that was true.
Residents of acreage nearby heard the collision. They rushed to the scene and were able to free my cousin from the vehicle before it exploded.
It’s hard to have closure when someone leaves this earth and you can’t physically see him or her to say good-bye.
My uncle’s death tore my grandparents apart. Their lives could not heal over this tragedy and they eventually divorced. My grandmother went to live in the house that my uncle Norman had built in order to try to hang on to his memory. My uncle’s family moved away.
The driver of the vehicle who had been drinking paid with his life – he and his passenger were killed. The tragedy is that this collision never had to be. Drinking and driving are only partners in crime.
I miss the uncle I never got to know and yet still live with the tragic results this crash has left our family.
Tracie Dirk, niece of Wayne Kleinknecht, wrote this tribute.
A man who had had too many drinks killed my young, kind, and loving father and almost took my then 6-year-old brother too. I was 7 years old and my mom at 23 years old was left to raise her two children by herself without the love of her life. For a long time it was hard to overcome the heartache of not having a daddy to be with, to be at our graduations, to walk down the aisle when I was to be married, and to bounce his grandchildren on his knee the way he did with his children, nieces and nephews. Twenty-one years later it still hurts that people, young and old, think only of themselves being invincible and will not think that they may destroy other people’s lives and dreams of growing old by drinking and driving a 2000-pound deadly weapon.
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