Fort Madison man completes 18,000 piece puzzle

Fort Madison's Leroy Knoch demonstrates his puzzle sorting process.

Leroy Knoch and his wife Susie have been married for 49 years.

In 1991, Leroy had heart failure and as a part of his recovery, his son got him started putting together large puzzles.

His first major accomplishment was a three panel puzzle of the "Creation of Adam" by Michaelangelo that hangs in one of the spare bedrooms of their home.

"We joked about putting it on the ceiling, but we was afraid it might fall to pieces if we put it on the ceiling," Leroy's wife Susie said.

The 12,000 piece puzzle took Leroy four years to complete.

Then he took on the challenge of the 18,000 piece world maps puzzle.

"It is interesting to me and it consumes my time and I just enjoy it," Leroy said.

Leroy says the key is seperating out the pieces first and then laying them out in individual boxes.

Six and a half years later, the world maps puzzle was finally complete.

"I felt really good," Leroy said. "I really did. I just didn't think I would ever get it together hardly and get it on the wall but we finally made it."

For anybody who thinks they are ready to take on this kind of challenge , Leroy has some parting advice for you.

"Just got to have good concentration," Leroy explained. "And enjoy it. That's the big thing. If you don't enjoy a puzzle you ain't gonna put them together. I'll put it that way."

Susie says she loves the puzzles, but that she's only got one good wall left and that one is for family photos only.

By the way Leroy and Susie will celebrate 50 years together in December.