James Louis Knecht passed away Sunday, September 12 at the age of 77, after a brief illness.
He was born in Oshkosh in 1944 and graduated from Oshkosh High School in 1962. He married Mary Ellen (Hoeft) Knecht on May 1, 1965 at the Waukau Methodist Church. Jim and Mary Ellen moved to Menasha in 1968 and joined St. Mary’s Parish in 1975.
He received a two-year Accounting degree from UW Oshkosh and a Fire Science degree from the Fox Valley Technical College. He worked at Oshkosh Tent and Awning prior to starting at the Menasha Fire Department in 1968 where he worked until retiring with the rank of Captain in 1998. Jim also worked part-time for AAA Pets and tending the lawn for St. Mary’s Cemetery and the greens at Sherwood Forest Golf Course
Jim was recognized as an honorary alumni in 1990 from St. Mary’s Central High School and received the “MAC” (Menasha Athletic Association) award in 1999 in recognition of his lifetime interest in the promotion of sports in the community as a player, coach, administrator and fan. He was a selfless volunteer for decades supporting the church picnic, bingo, the physical education program and coaching. He began coaching Thousand Yarders football in 1971 and also coached Freshman boy’s basketball; he even coached after retirement for several years for the Sacred Heart girl’s middle school basketball team. Jim was also a member of the Sherwood Lions Club. A special thank you to the Lions Club for recently installing a ramp to support Jim.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents Lilly (Gustauvus) and Adolf Knecht, step mother Dolores, his father and mother-in-law Hubert and Edna (Lloyd) Hoeft, and brother-in-laws Tommy Hoeft and Joe Metzen.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Ellen, brother Richard (Irene Benz) Knecht, his three children Daniel (Jodie Resch), John (Diane Kitzerow) and Amy Furreness, 7 grandchildren (Rachel (Casey) Lenz, Maggie Knecht, Louis Knecht, Dustin (Mitchell) Kreitzman, Elaina (Jonah Mutranowski) Knecht, Julia Knecht and Mary Furreness) and 2 great grandchildren, Evelyn Lenz and Otto Kreitzman, and multiple brothers and sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews and cousins.
Visitation will be at the Kessler Funeral Home 304 S. Commercial St., Neenah on Thursday, September 16 from 9:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., followed by a Celebration of Life at 11:30 and “Last Call” bell ringing ceremony.
Many thanks for the care received from Heartland Hospice, especially Nurse Kimberly, and Dr. Richter. In lieu of flowers, the family would like donations directed to Sherwood Lions Club.
To send flowers to James' family, please visit our floral store.