William Arnold Knapp
William Arnold Knapp
  • October 4, 1925 - April 25, 2017
  • Raleigh, North Carolina

Share This Obituary

Dr. William Arnold Knapp Jr. (Bill) passed away peacefully April 25, 2017 after a long illness. He was born October 4, 1925 in Atlanta, Georgia, to the late William A. Knapp Sr. and Nellie Bricken Knapp and was preceded in death by his only sibling, Donald J. Knapp. Bill served in World War II, South Pacific Theater, in Army Intelligence with anti-aircraft units and the 5th Air Force from 1943-1946. After being honorably discharged, he enrolled at the University of Georgia where he earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree (1951). In 1950 he married the love of his life, Mary Agnes Reed.

Shortly after marrying, they moved to Decatur, Alabama where Dr. Knapp assumed a private veterinary practice. In 1954 the couple returned to Athens, Georgia whereby Bill joined the faculty at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine to teach physiology, pharmacology, and toxicology while also pursuing a Master of Science in Animal Nutrition (1964). In 1962 he entered private industry to pursue his interests in medical research. He was active in research involving pharmacology, toxicology, veterinary drug evaluations, drug development, surgery, biomedical research, and government affairs. He patented a drug for demodectic mange in dogs. He was also active in and held multiple leadership positions with the American Association of Industrial Veterinarians, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and other professional and civic organizations. He was named Industrial Veterinarian of the Year in 1977.

Dr. Knapp's involvement in veterinary research spanned many decades and several relocations. The family spent several years in the mid-west before moving to the Washington DC area, where they remained for over 20 years. Bill was instrumental in the development and FDA approval of important animal vaccines and nutritional animal feed. Moving to Raleigh in 1979, he joined the NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine as an adjunct professor of pharmacology. He served as President of the N.C. Veterinary Medical Foundation from 1984-85. In his later years Dr. Knapp was an FDA liaison for drug companies in Europe, where he formed a lifelong friendship with a fellow veterinarian, Richard Towlerton, and his family in England. Bill published extensively and is listed in American Men of Science, Who's Who in the South and Southwest, Leading Men in the United States of America, and National Register of Scientific and Technical Personnel.

In addition to his professional career, Bill was highly active in his community, serving in multiple volunteer and leadership positions in several churches and in Rotary Clubs in Georgia, Kansas, Virginia, and North Carolina, where he received recognition for 45 years of service when he retired. Known as "Mr. Rotary", Bill served his last 28 years with the Crabtree Rotary Club. Both Bill and Mary are Paul Harris Fellows. His most enjoyable projects were working with the Boy Scouts on Adopt-a-Stream and heading up a Million Meals Service Project that sent meals overseas to those in need.

Bill was a devoted husband and wonderful father who loved to laugh and always had a joke to share. He was the epitome of a southern gentleman and lived his life with integrity and distinction. A devout, life-long Christian, Bill always gave generously of his time, talents, and treasures to help others. His family and all who knew him will forever cherish his legacy of love, caring, and service.

Dr. Knapp is survived by his wife of 66 years, Mary, and his daughters Ellen Wood (Rob), Sharon Lamberth (John), and Carol Coley (Felton). He is also survived by eight grandchildren: Greg Wood, Brian Wood (Whitney), Michael Wood (Molly), Mary Bennett (Hunter), Brett Lamberth, Christian Coley, Catherine Coley, and William Coley. Also surviving are six great-grandchildren: Matthew, Bennett, and Samantha Wood, and Cheyanne, Jameson, and Cordelia Wood.

A private graveside service will be held for the family. A celebration of life memorial service May 6, 2017 at 11 am at Hayes Barton United Methodist Church. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Hayes Barton United Methodist Church, 2209 Fairview Rd, Raleigh, NC 27608 or a charity of choice.

Arrangements under the direction of Mitchell Funeral Home at Raleigh Memorial Park, Raleigh, NC.