Carmen Frances Knebel

13 August, 192829 October, 2020
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Carmen Frances Russo Knebel, 92, died peacefully surrounded by family on Thursday, the 29th of October 2020. Carmen was born in Houston on the 13th of August 1928.

She was preceded in death by her parents, John and Mary Russo; grandson, Gregory Watler; and son-in-law, Richard Bachert. Survivors include brothers, Joseph Russo and his wife Sally, and Benjamin Russo and his wife Rose; daughter Yvonne Bachert, daughter Lana Ledet and her husband Richard son Eddie Knebel, Jr. and his wife Hilda; and daughter Diane Watler. Carmen’s grandchildren include Alison Martinez and her husband Jeremy, Rachel Bachert, Aaron Bachert and his wife Ashleigh, Brian Ledet, and Santiago Tagle and his wife Jenny; great-grandchildren Makayla Bachert, Julia Martinez, McKinley Martinez, Oberon Tagle; and many nieces and nephews.

As a native Houstonian, Carmen was so proud of her city, its sports, shopping, and theaters. She was an avid fan of the Astros, Rockets and Oilers/Texans, UT and LSU. She was proud of her Italian heritage, and looked forward to spending time with her Italian friends when they gathered as the Ladies of the Sacred Heart. She lived a blessed and full life complete with adventures, rich experiences, and a loving family.

Carmen grew up in the Great Depression and because of that knew the importance of saving but also enjoying what you have.

Graduating from Lamar High School in 1945 and married in 1946, Carmen enjoyed dancing, live music and theater, and the movies. If you knew Carmen, you knew that hearing music meant her toes were tapping and her hands were clapping. Knowing Carmen meant you knew she loved fiercely. She was loyal and true to those she held close. If you knew Carmen, you were lucky.

Carmen had a long career with Venetian Blind and Floors/Gulf Coast Window Coverings. She was fortunate to have such wonderful guidance and leadership early in her career that she built herself into a trusted shareholder.

Carmen loved to travel and was fortunate to travel the world. Whether it was a weekend getaway with girlfriends to the Texas Hill Country to celebrate the 4th of July Willie Nelson style, Mexico with business partners, a Paris runway show, a family girls trip to NYC, celebrating her 80th birthday with family on a cruise, off to a college town for a football game with grandsons, zip-lining across the Costa Rican rainforest, or singing in her community choir, Carmen wanted to experience life and many were lucky enough to go along with her.

Her strong Catholic faith and love of family guided her in all decisions. Carmen knew that God was first and all blessings came from Him. Because of her strong faith, she believed in sharing her gifts. You could see that in her generous spirit towards others and in the community.

Carmen cherished time with family, and the distance of miles between precious family just meant more trips and more shared experiences.

Carmen left her mark on this world. We won’t be able to hear Michael Buble’ or Elton John without thinking of her bright smile, contagious laugh, and a need to tap our toes to the music. Thank you, Carmen/Mom/Mimi/Mimi the Great, for the lessons, blessings, and experiences.

The family will gather for a private Catholic Mass of Christian Burial at St. Michael and Rite of Committal on Tuesday, the 3rd of November 2020. Please copy and paste this link for live stream of service:

In lieu of customary remembrances, the family requests that donations in her name be directed to the Italian Cultural and Community Center Scholarship Fund, 1100 Milford St., Houston, TX, 77006; St. Agnes Academy, 9000 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX, 77036; or to Texas Children’s Hospital, 6621 Fannin St, Houston, TX, 77030. Direct links to these organizations may be accessed below under “Donations.”

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Carmen Frances Knebel

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Liz Kierum

17 November 2020

Diane Watler is a dear friend and my heart goes out to her and the rest of Carmen’s family! Carmen was a wonderful full of life and love!
I know that she will be missed by all.

Joan Barry

8 November 2020

Carmen's daughter Diane is one of my best friends in the world and I also went to school with Lana and Yvonne. Gregory Watler was very special in my life also and we enjoyed many pleasurable times. His attitude in good times and hard ones could pick up anyone's spirit. I was privileged to have a small share in some of his special times. Recent months have been less enjoyable without news of Carmen and her life adventures. She shared her joy in living with all those around her.

Mary Hoang

8 November 2020

I've known Carmen for 30+ years and have gotten to know her and her family while taking care of her nails. We've had a lot of good memories and good times. I really miss her and pray for her and her family's peace. My deepest condolences, Mary at Nails by Mary

Becky DeGeorge

4 November 2020

Aunt Carmen was truly an energizer bunny and had a zest for life. Greg and I so enjoyed our time with her at Molina’s (Buffalo), followed by the many laughs on the phone. It was always a joy to take her to lunch but before we left her house I had to see all of the many neat family photos. She was very intelligent, snappy and fun! I learned so much. She is in her happy place now and the funeral and movie Tribute was a masterpiece! She would have been so proud of all. We miss you already Aunt Carmen.....😇

Becky Russo DeGeorge (Daughter of Aunt Sally and Uncle Joe)

Doug Davis

3 November 2020

When I started work at Venetian Blind & Floor, Carmen the "bright star" came into my life. She became an instant friend and advocate. I am so thankful I got to talk to her just after her last move at the Buckingham. She and my friend Tony became quite good buddies, and we went to organ concerts at the Co-Cathedral, she introduced us to the wonderful Italian community around Houston, and insisted we go to dinner often. I will miss you sweet Carmen. I truly hope we meet up for dinner someday. Rest in Grace, Peace and Love.

Karen Brode

3 November 2020

I was so sad to hear that Aunt Carmen had passed away a few days ago.
She was a very energetic and positive person, yet she was also a very down to earth and compassionate person.
I missed seeing her in later years, but she left an impression on us all, without a doubt.

Like Maw Maw, she was an incredible Italian cook. And she loved sports, much like Maw Maw.

Although she is gone, she led a very blessed life. We will all miss her humor and contagious spirit .

Vic Russo

3 November 2020

I was so sad to hear of my Aunt Carmen's recent passing. Even though I didn't get to see her much in later years since I moved to Austin, my dad (her brother) kept me up on how Aunt Carmen & family were doing. I remember at our family gatherings at Maw Maw & Paw Paw's house, Aunt Carmen would always seek me out and take time to see how I was doing. As a child and later a teen, I really appreciated her taking the time to just sit and talk. Compassion & respect, were two of my Aunt Carmen's greatest qualities. She will be greatly missed!

Aprille White

3 November 2020

Growing up the Bachert house was the place all the kids (we are all over 40 now) would hang out. Not sure how that happened ... maybe because they fed us. It wasn’t unusual to pop over to the house on a random Saturday. Mr. Bachert would be cooking something or tinkering around in the kitchen. Probably going to make something yummy. Mimi was a regular there too and I can’t ever remember calling her Carmen. I probably tried calling her Mrs. Carmen - it’s a Southern thing. But Mimi broke the mold on formality. She wasn’t my Mimi by blood but you know she never met a stranger. On one particular day I was there and we (all the girls) were going to watch the Rockets play.

She was explaining how important it was to enjoy life. Women should not put up with worldly shenanigans (although I’m sure she said bullshit). She was always direct and to the point. Then she said something that has stuck with me ..”If women were empowered more their life satisfaction would change.” Then she said something about striving for happiness but don’t forget your mammogram. Two pearls of wisdom I’ve carried with me the last 25ish years.
Like I said, Mimi broke the mold and I am changed for the better because I knew her.

Gwen Redman

3 November 2020

Carmen was such a light in our world. I had the good fortune to get to work with her and call her a friend. Her smile, laughter and straightforwardness will be missed. The light of the Lord, the joy of her spirit and the love in her heart was an inspiration to all who knew her.

Frank Rynd

3 November 2020

Your mother was really one in a million ! Almost 20 years ago I purchased a condo and ordered new carpet from Venetian Blind and luckily got to deal with your mother. I knew I was in great hands with her. She was fun and witty even over the phone.
I know you all will miss her terribly.


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