Robert E. KnoxOctober 24, 1926 ~ November 17, 2017 (age 91)
Robert E. (Bob) Knox passed away with characteristic grace and dignity at home on November 17, 2017, surrounded by his large and loving family. He lived a full and active life for 91 years. A lifelong Erie resident, Bob was born on September 24th, 1926 to Earl E. and Sarah Greer Knox. He attended Cathedral Prep and was captain of the 1944 football team. In October, the middle of that season, he was called to serve in World War II, a year after his brother, Jack, was reported missing in action. Color blind, but determined, he faked his way through the Navy eye exam to become a signalman. He returned from Japan to join the company founded by his father in 1934, and became President of the Earl E. Knox Company and Knox Western, rebuilders and manufacturers of air and gas compressors, for 50 years. He was married to the love of his life, Mary Margaret (Marge) Phister Knox, for 65 years, and was a devoted father to his six daughters. Alas, no boy!
Big Bob (or, as he called himself in his later years, Big Bad Bob) was a force of nature. He worked hard, played just as hard, and was a consummate family man. He was always happiest on the water. An avid boater since childhood, he and his friends built their first boat – which sank immediately. There were always boats: “Chug-a-Lug”, and, after the sixth girl, “Boy”, and then “Big Boy”. And the boats were always teeming with family and friends, and traveled far and wide across the Great Lakes, and up and down to Florida to escape the Erie winter. Bob loved fishing, golf – and golf carting – and tennis, where he felt his skills were enhanced by his willingness to taunt his opponents. He wasn’t called “Hot Air” for nothing. His expressions were endless: “Hubba hubba ho”, “Here’s five you’ll never spend” (along with a handshake), “You’re a hambone”, “The greatest thing in life: don’t weaken!”, “Say something worthwhile!”, and our favorite “Love you dearly!”.
Bob was a dedicated parishioner and generous contributor to St. Jude the Apostle Church. He held memberships at the Erie Club, Kahkwa Club, Aviation Club, Erie Yacht Club, the Maennerchor, the Compressed Air and Gas Institute, and he served as the Honorable Grand Gopher.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, his beloved wife Marge, brother John (Jack the Hammer) Knox, sister Patricia Knox Mehl, son-in-law John Openlander, grandson Michael McCain and granddaughter Claire Moody.
He is survived by his sister Sally Knox Dugan, and his six daughters: Kate Knox Openlander of Erie, Chris Knox Sechrist and husband Dave of Erie, Patty Knox Moody and husband Ben of Miami Beach FL, Carrie Knox of Erie, Julie Knox McCain and husband Scott of Erie, Amy Knox Arrowsmith and husband Scott of Erie; by his twelve grandchildren and four great-grandchildren: Emily Openlander Kern and husband Adam and sons Jackson and Drew of Portsmouth NH, Bob Openlander and wife Lauren and son John of Charleston SC, Patrick Sechrist of Erie, Bryan and Sean Sechrist of Chicago IL, Sarah Moody and daughter Stella of Erie, Kelly McCain of Chicago IL, Shannon McCain of New York NY, John McCain of Boston MA, and Andrew Arrowsmith of Bethlehem PA, Alex and Ellie Arrowsmith of Erie; and by his niece, Marilyn Phister of Philadelphia PA.
Friends are invited to call at the John J. Quinn Funeral Home, West 9th and Liberty St. on Tuesday November 21st from 4-7 p.m. and are invited to attend Prayer Services there on Wednesday November 22nd at 11:30 a.m. followed by a Funeral Mass at 12:00 noon at St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Church. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery.
Bob’s family would like to thank his personal caregivers, and in particular Charles Boutros. Memorials may be made to the Erie Community Foundation, 459 W. 6th Street, Erie, PA 16507 at www.eriecommunityfoundation.org.