Diploma dream comes true for 83-year-old Wisconsin man - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Diploma dream comes true for 83-year-old Wisconsin man

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MARIBEL, Wis (WBAY) - A touching moment for a Maribel man, receiving his high school diploma 66 years after the rest of his classmates.

Norman Knuth, 83, will be the first to tell you he's very blessed, with a life centered around his faith, family and farming.

But until Sunday there was that one thing missing.

Knuth grew up on the land he still lives on today, a fourth generation family farm near Maribel.

His earliest childhood memories are chores around the farm

"Those days we didn't have silo and loaders and barn cleaners, so a lot of hand work, and my dad needed some help, so I'd stay home and help him, and finally I didn't go back to school, I just quit," says Knuth.

Halfway through his junior year, Knuth's school days were over.

After continuing to help his parents, he served six years in the Army Reserves and then came home, eventually taking over the farm.

But as the years passed, regret over not finishing high school grew inside Knuth.

"It was always something in the back of my mind. I wished I hadn't quit, and they have high school class reunions and things like that, and those I couldn't attend, but then they started an over-50 group where anybody that went to Denmark could go, so I could go to those reunions but I just always felt I didn't belong," recalls Knuth.

"It would be sad. It would be talked about. I knew that it bothered him," adds Audrey Knuth, Norman's wife of 57 years.

Which is why Knuth insisted his three children, and any young person who worked for him, appreciated school.

"You should get all the education you can. It's so important in your life because you have your plans, what your life is, what you're going to do, but the Lord's got different plans for you sometimes," says Knuth.

Without Knuth knowing, his daughter Sheri recently approached the Denmark school board and shared her father's story.

This past Sunday, in cap and gown, Norman received his diploma.

The class of '52 has a new member.

"I was very happy for him because I knew it meant a lot," says Audrey Knuth.

"The Denmark School District, school board, Mr. Nehls, Mr. Klaubauf, they were part of it, so I'm so glad they did it for me," says Knuth with a proud smile.

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