Sheila May Arthur Koenig, 78, of Knoxville passed away peacefully on June 17, 2019, at Elizabeth House Hospice in Flat Rock, N.C., surrounded by family. A member of All Saints Catholic Church in Knoxville, Tenn., Sheila adopted her husband’s faith as her own, and in 2001 converted to Catholicism.
In addition to her parents, Sheila was preceded in death by Joseph August Samuel Koenig, Jr., her husband of 49 years, who passed away in December 2018; Karen Marie Koenig, her stepchild, who passed in December 1986; and Patrick Allan Kazee, her grandson, who passed in September 2011.
Sheila was born on July 10, 1940, to Ida May Day Arthur and Alvin Dell Arthur in Cincinnati, Ohio. After graduating high school, Sheila began working at a small family-owned pharmacy in Cincinnati operated by Joseph Koenig. After working together for 10 years, Sheila and Joseph married on Jan. 21, 1969. Joe and Sheila loved their life together in Cincinnati, and later moved to Tucson, Arizona, with their son, David, where they lived for over 20 years. Joe officially retired while in Arizona; in 1995, they moved to Knoxville, Tenn.
Joe and Sheila traveled extensively throughout their marriage together, including to Alaska, the Caribbean, Niagara Falls, Italy, England, and Scotland; they also traveled throughout the U.S. For years, Joe and Sheila would make an annual trip to Laughlin, NV., with one or more of their children to try their hands on the slot machines.
Sheila was the glue that held the family together. She devoted every waking moment (and many sleepless nights) to caring for her husband and his five children — in fact, she gained a ready-made family of five kids when they married. As the years went by and the children grew up and had families of their own, Sheila loved nothing more than to dote on her grandchildren and eventually her great-grandchildren — her face lit up as soon as she saw them. A holiday was not complete without Joe and Sheila at one of their daughters’ homes, or family at their home, whether it was Christmas, Thanksgiving, or the 4th of July. Even a brief stopover at their home always entailed a meal of some sort, because Sheila would not let you leave without putting some food in your stomach and even packing you a lunch to go. In fact, if you spent the night at their house, Sheila would be up and cooking breakfast before you even rolled out of bed. She could cook just about the best lasagna you’ve ever had, and then send you home with enough leftovers for two or three days.
What was truly amazing about Sheila was her devotion to her disabled stepson, David; she planned her life around him, ensuring David was well-cared for and enrolled in the best programs available, even to the extent of moving cross-country twice. For the last 23 years, Joe and Sheila were avid supporters and benefactors of Sunshine Industries and Special Olympics, and made a special effort to attend functions and competitions. Tireless advocates for issues affecting mentally disabled adults, both Joe and Sheila made sure David would be well taken care of even after they were gone.
Sheila cared for her husband Joseph in the last days of his life before he passed away in their Knoxville home at the age of 94 last December. Sheila is survived by her brother George Arthur and her sister Etta Griffin; her stepchildren and their spouses, David Alan Koenig, Barbara & Alex Ritchey, Nancy Ridder, and Mary Beth Kazee; grandchildren and their spouses, Mandy and Brian Stock, Becky and Ben Morrow, Joe and Angie Ridder, Lauren Ridder, Kevin Ridder, Karen Nicole Kazee, and Meghan Kazee; her nephew Mark Peterson; and her great-grandchildren, Lydia Stock, Molly Stock, Isabella Stock, Sophie Josephine Morrow, Benjamin Ridder, Jacob Ridder, Andrew Ridder, and Anthony Ridder.
Special thanks to the caring staff at Mission Hospital’s St. Joseph campus in Asheville, N.C., and Elizabeth House in Flat Rock, N.C.
A Memorial Mass will be said on July 10, 2019, at 10:30 a.m. at All Saints Catholic Church in Knoxville, and a Celebration of Her Life will be held on September 29, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Pretty Place in Cleveland, S.C. Her remains will be interred with her husband’s in the fall of 2019. The family requests donations to Sunshine ARC Industries of Knoxville, Tenn., in lieu of flowers; donate online at www.sunshinekcarc.com/donate or contact them at (865) 546-9431.
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