Edna “Irene” Kovanda-Knoll, a long-time resident of Odenton/Gambrills, passed away on Saturday, March 2nd, 2019, at the age of 83 from cerebrovascular disease.
The family will receive friends at the Donaldson Funeral Home & Crematory, P.A., 1411 Annapolis Road, Odenton, MD 21113 on Wednesday, March 6, 2019, from 2-4 pm & 6-8 pm. The funeral service will take place at 10 am on Thursday, March 7, 2019, at Nichols Bethel United Methodist Church, 1239 Murray Road, Odenton, MD 21113. The burial will follow, at approximately 12:30 pm, at the Gardens of Faith Cemetery, Lillian Hold Drive, Baltimore, MD. After the burial, at approximately 2 pm, the family will receive friends and relatives in the Manning Hall at Nichols Bethel UMC, Odenton, MD, for a late lunch and fellowship.
Irene was born in Baltimore City on April 4, 1936, to the late Leland and Edna (Redding) Newnam. Irene was one of the six Newnam children, as well as an identical twin, that grew up in the Hampden area of Baltimore City. In 1955, she graduated from Eastern High School and went to work as a typist. Over the next 60 years, she continued a close friendship with several of her high school girlfriends, self-named “The Girls Club”, getting together several times a year.
In the late 1950’s, Irene fell in love and married Frank J. Kovanda, Sr., another Baltimore City native. Irene and Frank were married for 24 wonderful years and had four children: Frank, Barbie, Tom and Beth. After Frank Sr.’s jobs moved them around a bit, they settled into the Four Seasons community of Gambrills, MD, around 1975. However, in 1982, Frank Sr. died suddenly of a heart attack. Fortunately, Irene had just started employment at the National Security Agency (NSA), where she continued to work until her retirement in 1997. When not working, Irene enjoyed sewing, going out with friends and watching romance movies.
After being a widow for over 20 years, Irene was blessed to fall in love one more time. In December 2005, Irene married her longtime friend, Jerry L. Knoll, of Odenton, MD. From the mid 1970’s, Irene & Frank Sr. and Jerry & Rachel (Jerry’s first wife) were all members and frequent volunteers supporting the Nichols-Bethel United Methodist Church in Odenton. In fact, Rachel Knoll was the soloist at Frank Sr.’s funeral ceremony. After a long battle with breast cancer, Jerry lost his loving first wife. Having been church friends for so many decades, with so many shared experiences, it was very natural and easy for Irene and Jerry to enjoy each other’s company. Finding love a second time was unexpected for both, but not a blessing that either wanted to walk away from.
Irene is survived by Jerry Knoll, her loving husband of 13 years. As a result of Irene’s two marriages, she is survived by her six children: Frank & Heather Kovanda Jr. of Mountain Home, Idaho; Tom & Kori Kovanda of Odenton, MD; Beth (Kovanda) & Dennis Ward of Odenton MD; Travis & Sarah Knoll of Joppa, Greg & Vanessa Knoll of Clarksville and Colby & Jessica Knoll of Clarksville, MD. Unfortunately, Irene’s oldest daughter, Barbara Kovanda-Cashman, passed away in September 1992.
Irene was the beloved grandmother to Kris Kovanda of Destin, FL.; Kelly (Kovanda) & Justin Copeland of Crestview, FL; Greg & Krystal Ward of Santa Rosa, CA., Samantha Krolikowski of Odenton, MD, Colleen Ward of Williamsburg, VA; Dean Knoll of Joppa, Caleb Knoll of Joppa, Sydney Knoll of Clarksville, Brady Ward of Odenton, Samantha Knoll of Clarksville, Lewis Knoll of Joppa, Patrick Knoll of Clarksville and Ryan Kovanda of Mountain Home, ID. As well as, the cherished great-grandmother to both Riley and Brooke Copeland of Crestview, FL.
Irene is also survived by her twin sister, Inez (Newnam) Brengle of Rehoboth, DE., and older brother, Robert “Bob” Newnam of Timonium, MD.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in honor of the life of Edna Irene Kovanda-Knoll may be made to the Nichols-Bethel United Methodist Church, 1239 Murray Road, Odenton, MD 21113