William P. "Bill" Knapp, 74, of Williamsport, died Friday Sept. 13, 2013, at the Williamsport Regional Medical Center. Born in Stuart, Fla., on May 30, 1939, to the late Richie and Vivine (Minschke) Knapp, he graduated from Seacrest High School in Delray Beach, Florida in 1957 and attended the University of Pittsburgh. Bill and his wife, Marsha (Davis) Knapp, would have celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary on September 16.
Bill will be greatly missed by his wife and their five children, Gywn R. Phillips, of Williamsport; Raymond P. (Tina) Knapp, of Warrensville; Renay J. (Kevin) Wright, of Montoursville; Crystal A. (John) Hauke, of Cogan Station; Troy R. Knapp, of Williamsport; and his 12 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, all of whom he deeply loved, affectionately called him "Po." Bill is also survived by his three brothers, Richard (Leslie) Knapp, of Crab Orchard, Tenn.; Robert (Laurel) Knapp of Delray Beach, Fla.; James (Judith) Knapp of Delray Beach, Fla.; as well as many cousins and life-long friends. Bill was also preceded in death by an infant son, Tab.
Bill proudly served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years, achieving many certifications, skillsets and accolades until he honorably retired in 1977 as a Chief Machinist Mate. He served three tours of duty during the Vietnam War. He sailed aboard several ships including the aircraft carrier, U.S.S. Boxer, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the United States Occupation of the Dominican Republic and when it recovered an Apollo space capsule in 1966. He also served aboard the U.S. S. Nimitz during its construction which was, at the time, the largest aircraft carrier in the world. He worked as a nuclear technician in the main propulsion plant preparing for its commission. He participated in its 1975 commissioning ceremony with President Gerald Ford. As a Chief Petty Officer, he commanded thousands of sailors on various ships and naval air bases.
William P. ‘Bill’ Knapp
After his retirement, Bill settled in Williamsport where he worked as a shift supervisor at Tetley Tea for two years before embarking on his second career in the nuclear power industry. He started as a nuclear instrumentations engineer with the Bechtel Corporation at the Berwick Nuclear Power Plant from 1980 to 1983. He worked throughout North America for Stone & Webster, Babcock & Wilcox, before settling with the Crane Corporation Nuclear Power Division in 1989 where he was a refurbishment supervisor, MOV actuator technician and instructor until his retirement this past February. According to his supervisor and trusted friend Jeffrey Cox, he was regarded as "one of the best in the industry." "He is probably in heaven complaining about the weather with his buddies Bucko and Scotty. Bill was a loyal and dedicated employee and was always teaching the younger techs the tricks-of-the-trade. He will be missed by everyone at Crane."
In his younger days, Bill enjoyed shooting pool at the Kast Hotel and the VFW. An avid hunter and fisherman, he spent many hours proudly bating and untangling the fishing lines of his children. He followed his children's and grandchildren's athletic events and coached for two years at the West End Babe Ruth League. Since retirement, "Po" spent his time working in his yard and koi pond and recently discovered Facebook, where he could follow his grandchildren.
A private military tribute is being planned and to honor his wishes, he will be buried at sea. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made in his name to the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic, 3001 Old Gettysburg Road, Camp Hill, PA 17011.