Walter C. Knowles Jr., 79, of Petoskey, beloved husband of Judy (Davis) Knowles, passed peacefully away at home on Sept. 25, 2011, after a long challenge with colon cancer.
Walter was born in Boston, Mass., son of the late Walter and Frieda Knowles and spent his early years in Needham, Mass. After graduating from Needham High School, he then graduated from Norwich Military University in Northfield, Vt., with a degree in civil engineering. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology followed with a master's degree in civil engineering. It was there he met the love of his life, Judy. Following graduation, Walt and Judy married in Somers, Conn., and within three months the couple left for Fort George G. Meade, Md., and military service where Walter served as lieutenant first class and commander of Company B, 19th Combat Engineer Battalion for two years.
Living in Michigan often brought Walt and his family to Northern Michigan where he owned a chalet in Harbor Springs. Numerous weekends were spent with their family "Up North" skiing and enjoying the beautiful area. This led to renovating a home on West Lake Street where the trips continued. Retirement was decision time and he and Judy decided that Petoskey was where they wanted to be and built their "dream house" on the bay.
Following retirement in 2000, Walter immersed himself into a variety of volunteer opportunities here in Northern Michigan. His spreading of goodwill and kindness is well known in the community. He was proud to make himself (and his wife, Judy) Paul Harris Fellows as he participated in the Petoskey Rotary Club supporting the local community as well as efforts internationally. Many hours were spent as a past president serving Tip of the Mitt, SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) and its clients. He was the initial representative in Northern Michigan of RETAP (Retired Engineer Technical Assistance Program).
As a member of the First Congregational Church of Charlevoix, he served as a trustee and on the pastoral relations committee. Hobbies included his avid interest in skiing, both locally and out West, enjoying sailing trips, sightseeing trips around the world with Judy, and much reading, all of which led to a happy and fulfilled life.
Walter is survived by his wife, Judy, his two sons, Robert of Denver, Colo., and David and his wife, Katy, of Cincinnati, Ohio; along with his five grandchildren, Jessica and Anna Knowles of Denver, Colo., Lt. David Knowles Jr., of Fort Knox, Ky., Eric and Samuel Knowles, of Cincinnati, Ohio.
A very special thanks is given to the attending physicians and oncology nurses at Northern Michigan Regional Hospital and to Hospice of Little Traverse Bay. A celebration of Walter's life will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, at the First Congregational Church, 101 State St., in Charlevoix.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Little Traverse Bay Hospice and the First Congregational Church of Charlevoix.