Ger­ald R. Knecht

De­cem­ber 6, 1931 – March 11, 2017

San Francisco Chronicle - - LIFE TRIBUTES -

Jerry Knecht was a happy man who led a beau­ti­ful life. He was pas­sion­ate about ev­ery­thing he did, from law to farm­ing, yet guided by a calm and for­mi­da­ble in­tel­li­gence that usu­ally brought him suc­cess as well as the love and re­spect of fam­ily, friends and col­leagues. A deeply lov­ing fam­ily man, Jerry leaves be­hind his de­voted wife Suzanne, his chil­dren, Nancy Mans­field, Alex Knecht and Lisa Zavieh, their spouses and chil­dren, as well as a brother, Glen Knecht, and sis­ter, Nancy Cim­bal, and their fam­i­lies. He was pre­de­ceased by his par­ents, Wilma and Robert Knecht, and his el­dest brother, Robert Knecht.

Jerry was raised in Syra­cuse, New York and came to the Bay Area to study. He grad­u­ated from UC Berke­ley in 1954 and Boalt Hall in 1957. Af­ter teach­ing a year at Stan­ford Law, he set­tled in San Fran­cisco and es­tab­lished the firm Knecht, Din­gus, Fink & Bor­ing. His spe­cialty was surety and con­struc­tion lit­i­ga­tion, which he prac­ticed first with his firm, then solo for 10 years, then again as se­nior part­ner to the firm, by then Knecht, Ha­ley, Lawrence & Smith. Health is­sues forced his re­tire­ment in 1991, af­ter a ca­reer in which he loved ev­ery minute - es­pe­cially those in the court room!

In re­tire­ment he and Suzy, aboard their 42’ sloop Night Watch, sailed to Mex­ico, Alaska and Hawaii, and to ful­fill their long cher­ished dream, around the world, for which Jerry was given a cir­cum­nav­i­ga­tion pen­nant from the Cruis­ing Club of Amer­ica and was voted Yachts­man of the Year by San Fran­cisco Yacht Club, where he had been a mem­ber for al­most 30 years.

In San Anselmo, Jerry and Suzy’s home for 27 years, Jerry joined the Board of Ross Val­ley Ec­u­meni­cal Hous­ing As­so­ci­a­tion and soon be­came its pres­i­dent, pour­ing his heart, time and en­ergy into the build­ing of a se­cond house to pro­vide room, board and com­mu­nity to 11 more low in­come se­niors. He was as proud as a new fa­ther of Tam House II, when it opened debt-free.

In 2010, Jerry and Suzy moved to Se­bastopol to be closer to their newly adopted pre-teen grand­chil­dren. Jerry’s last years were filled with ex­ten­sive in­volve­ment with all his fam­ily, its Ore­gon based busi­ness, his new com­mu­nity, his old bud­dies, the CCA and evenings with his Suzy, in the house they built, watch­ing the sun color the sky over the vine­yard. He was grate­ful for his many bless­ings, and for be­ing able to share with those less for­tu­nate and those ded­i­cated to mak­ing a bet­ter world.

Jerry, our fa­ther, grand­fa­ther, and beloved hus­band passed away peace­fully at Kaiser Hos­pi­tal in Santa Rosa, sur­rounded by his im­me­di­ate fam­ily. Jerry was al­ways very grate­ful, as is all his fam­ily, to the many Kaiser doc­tors and nurses, from San Fran­cisco to Santa Rosa, whose care over 60 years en­abled him to live long and well.

We all miss his con­ta­gious smile and twin­kling blue eyes, his gen­tle na­ture and kind­ness, his ded­i­ca­tion to do­ing what was right and his lov­ing sup­port for fam­ily and friends. And no gath­er­ing of those who love him will ever be the same with­out his recita­tion – more emo­tional with the pass­ing of time - of T. S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Al­fred Prufrock”. Our sweet, inim­itable Jerry will be for­ever loved, fondly re­mem­bered and sorely missed.

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