Cape Coral Elks Lodge mourns loss of long-time employee
Members of the Cape Coral Elks Lodge are counting their blessings these days as the reality of a major loss starts to sink in.
The Elks are dealing with the loss of a longtime friend and employee after the recent passing of assistant manager and head bartender June Knauer. She has been referred to as an “institution” for her 18 years of service and dedication to the lodge.
The lodge has scheduled a memorial gathering at the club from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. next Wednesday.
“I always called her the Energizer Bunny,” said Sally Geis. “She spent most of her time at the lodge. She did anything they asked her to whether it was picking up laundry or running errands. We went out to dinner together several times, but she wasn’t into a lot of social things because she was always at the club. Even if she did not remember your name she knew what you liked to drink and she would have it on the bar almost before you got there.”
Knauer was tending bar at Royal Tee Golf Club when the Elks treasurer at the time spotted her and told lodge mates how good she was and they should hire her. The rest is history.
“June will be extremely hard to replace,”said Elks officer Lou Leone. “There is no one at the club as dedicated as she was. We’re finding that out now. We’re seeing and feeling everything she did and a lot of it was on her own time. We took her for granted. She did anything we asked and then went above and beyond what was required.”
Geis calls Knauer a caring and loving person, someone you could call on when you needed help.
“She was one of my closest friends,” said Geis. “June was the kind of person who was liked by everyone and everyone liked her. I will miss her very much.”
“She was the most liked person at the club,” said Leone. “When she was diagnosed with cancer a couple of years ago she took it really well. She continued to work through her treatments, got to feeling better and it started to look like she might beat it. It became more difficult when she was in a lot of pain the last couple of weeks, but she still came in and did what she could.”
The Ladies of the Elks at the lodge have teamed up with the Lustgarten Foundation to raise money and spread awareness about pancreatic cancer. The foundation will have information available at the memorial to help bring attention to the disease. Currently there is no cure for pancreatic cancer and less than 6 percent of people survive five years after surgery.
The foundation’s fourth annual pancreatic cancer walk fundraiser is scheduled for Feb. 28 at Lakes Regional Park in Fort Myers with 100 percent of donations going directly to research programs trying to find a cure.