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Remembering Harriet Knepp: Kewanee's Walmart walker

Harriet Knepp walked more than 15,000 miles on the "Fitness Trail" at the Kewanee Walmart Super Center. She passed away in 2014 at the age of 101.

KEWANEE, Ill. — It might be more difficult to imagine in 2023, but places like Walmart often served more than just a store, like as a hangout spot for teens. But for one older woman in Kewanee — that was where she stayed active in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Harriet Knepp, Kewanee's "Walmart walker", took to the store's Fitness Trail every morning at about 7 a.m. to go on a daily walk, saying hello to all the familiar faces that got to know her over the years,

She started on Oct. 24, 1995, and over the course of her time in Kewanee, walked over 15,000 miles at the store.

In 2001, when she was 88 years old, she crossed the 10,000-mile mark, joined and celebrated by cheering workers.

As a member of the Kewanee community, she was chairman of Trustees on the Administrative Board, a member and later president of the Kewanee Business and Professional Women's Club, a member of the YMCA board, a member of the Salvation Army's board of directors, a member of Friends of the Library and CLIO Club and a volunteer at the Kewanee Hospital.

She loved her family and friends, crafts, reading, traveling, and walking. 

Knepp would later move to Bloomington, Illinois, where she died on Nov. 25, 2014, at 101 years old, 17 years after her late husband Carlton passed. She was survived by her daughter, 5 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

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