Cover photo for Shelly Davis Knuppel's Obituary
Shelly Davis Knuppel Profile Photo

Shelly Davis Knuppel

d. January 11, 2024

Shelly Davis Knuppel, age 63, of Petersburg, passed away peacefully at home on Thursday, January 11, 2024 after a brief but courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.

Shelly was born on November 11, 1960 to Leslie Owen Davis and Darlene Rose Tobias. She married John Arthur Clark Knuppel May 25, 1984 aboard the paddle-wheeler Julia Bella Swain in Peoria.  They were married nearly 40 years and had two children, and a granddaughter who she loved more than anything.

Shelly earned both her Juris Doctorate and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  She was a lifelong Illini fan.

She spent the majority of her career at the Department of Children and Family Services where she supervised legal services personnel in 52 counties and served as chief of policy.  Her career was spent helping Illinois’ most vulnerable children.  She began her career with the agency as the first Springfield Regional Counsel in 1989.  Prior to serving DCFS, she served 3 years as an Assistant State’s Attorney in Fulton County.  She retired in 2017 as Deputy General Counsel of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.  After retirement she traveled extensively with her husband, Jack, and served on a wide array of community organizations.

Shelly served as the President of the Illinois Audubon Society, she was a board member of the Menard County Housing Authority, PORTA Foundation, Edgar Lee Masters Museum, Petersburg United Methodist Church Board of Trustees.  While her children were growing up she served as both a Boy Scout and Girl Scout Leader, and would be found at every one of their softball, baseball, scholastic bowl and basketball games.  She never missed an activity and loved to be involved in their lives and the community.

Shelly was preceded in death by her parents and her sister, Janice Davis Pasqual.  She is survived by her husband, Jack, son Ken (wife Savanna) Knuppel, daughter Ashley (husband Jason) Fleck and one granddaughter who was the light of her life-Riley Rose Fleck.

Cremation rites will be accorded.

A visitation for Shelly will be held at the United Methodist Church in Petersburg on Saturday, February 3, 2024 from 9:00 AM until 12:00 PM.

A celebration of life will be held at Broadgauge in Petersburg on Sunday, February 4, 2024 from 1:00 PM until 4:00 PM.

Private family graveside services will be held at Oakland Cemetery in Petersburg.

In lieu of food, flowers or gifts, Shelly would like donations to be made to the Studio on the Square for their scholarship program.  The Studio combines her passion of enriching the lives of children and the community, which her family hopes will be the legacy Shelly leaves behind.

Mott & Henning Funeral Home is assisting the family. On-line condolences can be shared at



  1. I was privileged to work with Shelly at DNR for several years before I retired in 2012. I have such fond memories of Shelly. She was a dedicated, hard-working and pleasant coworker. She always had a smile on her face and was one of the nicest people I have ever met. When I have run into her the last few years, the first thing she would update me on was her beloved granddaughter, Riley, then I would hear what the rest of the family was up to. I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  2. The depth of how much I am going to miss my friend is immeasurable. However, I think the best part of this is that she has left me with so many memories both hilarious and warm that the darkness of this moment will never overtake her shine in my heart.

    To me Shelly was steady, consistent, and never hesitated to be a good person and doing the right thing when others took an easy path. Those of us who love her are all so different, but she transcended those differences and found a way to be the best person for all of us. She kept our secrets, shared advice and knew exactly when to be present in your life.

    On top of being so loving to all of us she still had room to excel as an amazing mom, wife and grandmother.

    Thank you, Shelly, for being in my life, sharing your family and despite your refusing to sit through the Lord of the Rings series, completely ignoring, but listening to my well-crafted argument of its cinematic greatness, I appreciate and will forever love you.

  3. Our condolences, Jack and family. We are so saddened to hear of Shelly’s passing. She was a wonderful person, co-worker, friend, and advocate. We will miss her. Prayers of peace and comfort for you and your loved ones. Nick and Dana

  4. We are so very sorry.

  5. I am so very sorry for your loss. Many prayers for peace and comfort for you and your family.

  6. Jack, Ashley, and Ken I am so sorry to hear of Shelly’s passing. May God grant you peace and comfort.

  7. Jack,

    We are so sorry to see this. We always enjoyed our time together when we were in Petersburg. Such a terrible disease! We won’t be able to make the Celebration of Life but will be thinking of you all.

    Tim & Lisa

  8. Jack, Ashley, and Kenny, I am so so sorry to hear about Shelly. I have many fond memories of her at PORTA sporting events and working with her at many of the PORTA Sports Booster events. She was ALWAYS Happy and smiling and such a joy to be around… I loved running into her, she always brought joy to my heart. I just loved her. She was such amazing person and led a remarkable life. I feel so blessed to have known her. She will be dearly missed by SO many people, and especially you, her family. Hugs to all of you.

  9. Jack and Family:

    Although we lost touch over past years, Shelly will always be a huge part of my Illini memories. We were friends and roommates. I still have so many memories of Shelly. Our hairbrush microphone concerts with Carrie and Mary as we got ready to “go out”, dinners at our cafeteria, bar nights, late night Papa Del pizza study nights, and just hanging out. Jack my memories of you are just as strong. I am so sorry for your loss, the two of you were an amazing couple and I remember every minute of that wonderful wedding. Shelly was a force for good in this world and will be missed. Hugs to you and your kids.


  10. I had the privilege to work with Shelly at IDCFS. She became a quick and lifelong friend. Shelly was my mentor, moral compass, and standard for a family life one could only hope to achieve. She also happened to be one of the funniest people I’ve ever known and could make me laugh for hours about the smallest thing. To say she is missed isn’t enough to capture it. I’m just lucky to have gotten to know her.

    My heart goes out to Jack, Ashley, Kenny and to the whole Knuppel family.

  11. To Jack and Family. First of all, Deb and I are still in disbelief as to Shelly’s passing. As with many others. what a schock!! Jack, our heartfelt condolences to you and your family. Shelly was quite a lady. I always lover her warm simlle and pleasant, hello. Times like this, one immediately goes into the memory bank to refresh old time memories. How may softball and basketball games did we sit through?? It was great. Jack, you and Shelly were Icons around the burg as, I would see her sitting in the passenger side of the red beast while you were driving around. You know Jack, the next time I see you driving, I will see her also. You know Jack, you and your family have suffered a great loss. However, it is my belief that when a person such as Shelly passes, Society loose also. Again, our sincere condolences and if you would like to get together for a cup of Java or hot tea and converse, just let me know.

  12. I went to school with Ken and Ashley. Though I wasn’t close to the family, I vividly remember Shelly was always so warm and kind. I’m happy to read her accomplishments and thankful to her sacrifices to our world. She was a gift.

  13. Jack & family, We were so saddened to hear the news of Shelly’s passing.
    We pass along this healing Psalm:
    Psalm 34:18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those who are crushed in spirit.
    May the good Lord bring you peace and comfort this weekend and during the sorrowful days ahead. May you be blessed each day with healing memories. Our hearts are heavy today. We will keep Shelly, the family and friends in our daily prayers.

  14. My sympathy for your Loss

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