Knowles, Nancy Welch
Nancy Welch Knowles passed away on August 26, 2017 at the age of 86. She was born on November 23, 1930 in Fort Dodge, Iowa. She was an accomplished businesswoman and internationally recognized philanthropist who was distinguished by her excellent business practices and commitment to health care and the arts.
She was a member of the Lyric Opera Board of Directors and a member of the Executive Committee. She was retired as Chairman of the Board of Knowles Electronics, Inc., which is a world leader in the sub- miniature electronic hearing instrument technology and is the largest manufacturer of microphones in the world.
Nancy served on the Loyola University Medical Center Board of Directors and was bestowed with the 2008 Sword of Loyola. Ms. Knowles was a Trustee of the International Shakespeare Globe in London, England, which houses the Nancy Knowles Theater, also known as "The Little Nancy Theater." Nancy had been a member of the American Heart Association of Metropolitan Chicago Women’s Council, The Chicago Zoological Society Women’s Board, and served on the Board of the Boy Scouts of America.
She was honored by the National Hearing Aid Foundation with the Appreciation for Work Done Award. Ms. Knowles was the President of The Knowles Foundation, which supports arts and cultural programs, higher education, healthcare, and speech and hearing centers. She attended St. Mary’s College of Notre Dame and later received her B. A. degree in languages from the University of Iowa. She worked as a translator for many years after graduation. She enjoyed traveling, being with friends, wintering at her home in Jupiter Island, Florida, and enjoyed summers at her home in Hinsdale, Illinois.
She was predeceased by her parents, Catherine and Fred Knowles; her sister, Joan ( Alan) Joseph; and her husband, Hugh S. Knowles. She is remembered with love by Hugh’s children, Margaret and Katherine; her niece, Nancy ( David) Hill, and their children, Nikki and Nathan Hill; eight step- grandchildren, 11 great- grandchildren, and three great- great- grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to any of Nancy’s favorite charities: Lyric Opera of Chicago, Loyola Medical Center, Elmhurst Memorial Hospital or Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. A Funeral will be held on Thursday, August 31, 2017 at Notre Dame Catholic Church, 64 Norfolk Avenue, Clarendon Hills, IL. The Lyric Opera will perform at 10: 15 a. m. followed by a 10: 30 a. m. Funeral Mass. Interment to follow at Mount Emblem Cemetery, 520 E. Grand Avenue, Elmhurst, IL.
"Nancy was one of Lyric Opera’s most enthusiastic and devoted supporters. Her smile, friendliness and her optimism will never be forgotten." -- Allan B. Muchin, Chairman Emeritus, Lyric Opera of Chicago Board of Directors.