John F. Knapp

Dec. 7, 1917 April 2, 2004

John F. Knapp of Columbia died Friday at his home. He was 86.

He was born in San Jose and lived there for many years before moving to Columbia 18 years ago.

Mr. Knapp attended San Jose State University, where he was a star football player and boxer, his family said. He had lead rolls in numerous plays at the university.

He worked as a rancher and fruit farmer from 1951-86. He worked for the San Jose Police Department for one year and for the San Jose Fire Department from 1941-71, the last 10 as assistant fire chief. He founded and was active in the firemen's union and organized the Toys for Tots drive and firemens rodeo, all in San Jose.

He became a real estate broker after his retirement. He sold real estate in San Jose for 15 years before moving to Tuolumne County and sold real estate to friends for a short time while living in Columbia.

His family said he was an avid toy and antique collector. He participated in five toy shows per year in San Mateo and Hayward until six years ago, and an antique show once a year in Columbia.

He also was an avid reader, his family said.

He served in the U.S. Navy for four years during World War II. He also served on a fire boat stationed in Port Chicago in San Francisco Bay during World War II. The boat later exploded.

Mr. Knapp is survived by his wife of 35 years, Katherine Knapp of Columbia; daughters and sons-in-law, Carol and Richard Allio of Clayton, Contra Costa County, Patricia and Bob Steele of Columbia, Sandra Lisius of Hollister and Christine Montgomery of Sonora; grandchildren, Elizabeth Short, Melissa, Trisha, James and John Popovich, Tommy Townsend, Tiffany Gorham and Emily Montgomery; great-grandchildren, Robert and Michael Heinevetter; a brother and sister-in-law, David W. and Lucille Knapp of San Jose; and four nephews.

A memorial service is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at Columbia Presbyterian Church of the 49ers.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Visiting Nurse Association, Hospice of the Sierra, P.O. Box 4805, Sonora, CA 95370.

Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.


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