John Bowles Knox
John Bowles Knox
  • January 12, 1932 - August 24, 2017
  • Raleigh, North Carolina

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John Bowles Knox died peacefully Thursday, August 24, 2017. Born January 12, 1932, in Birmingham, Alabama, he was the son of the late John Brewer Knox III and May Coggin Knox. He was also the adopted son of his stepfather, the late Carl Leon Smith, and was known as John Knox Smith from 1939 to 1985. In 1985 he resumed his birth name.

He attended Auburn University and transferred to Birmingham-Southern College, graduating in 1953 with a BA degree in philosophy and religion. He then attended Vanderbilt University Divinity School and served as a Methodist youth minister in the mid-1950's. After serving in the US Army, he attended North Carolina State University School of Design, graduating with a bachelor's degree in architecture 1962. He practiced architecture for over 50 years and was a founding partner of SmithSinnett Architecture in 1976. A longtime AIA member, he served as AIA North Carolina President in 1995. He was an artist, conservationist, and outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting, fishing, kayaking, sailing, tennis, running, bicycling and riding his motorcycle. He served as president of the Raleigh Racquet Club for several years in the late 1970's.

He is survived by his beloved companion, Melinda Courtney Coleman, and by his five children, David Bryant Knox and his wife Jenny, Edward Houston Knox and his wife Sheri, Elizabeth Knox Bottoms and her husband Tommy, Laura Knox Yarbrough and her husband Jody, and John Bowles Knox II and his wife Mary-Kate. He is also survived by his nine grandchildren, Nolan Knox and his wife Katherine, Dylan Knox, Lauren Knox Bowling and her husband Shannon, Logan Knox, Bryce Knox, Emma Reece Bottoms, Brewer Bottoms, Ashton Yarbrough, and Cash Yarbrough. He is also survived by his brother Russell Charles Smith and his wife Gail. He is also survived by four great grandchildren, Allison Knox, Shelby Knox, Maggie Bowling, and Knox Bowling.

He was predeceased by his sister, Sara Smith Kendrick; by his daughter-in-law, Wanda Finch Knox; and by his granddaughter, Shannon Louellen Knox.

In keeping with his wishes, there will not be a funeral nor a service. The family will gather in remembrance at Raulston Arboretum on Sunday, September 10, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., and they extend their warmest welcome to all who would like to join them. The family requests no flowers and requests that any memorial gifts be made to the Southern Environmental Law Center ( or the charity of one's choice.