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William Charles “Bill” Knechtel, 82, of Baker City, died June 14, 2008, at St. Elizabeth Care Center.
His graveside memorial service will be at 10 a.m. June 28 in the veterans section of Mount Hope Cemetery. Pastor Lennie Spooner of the First Church of the Nazarene will officiate. Friends are invited to join the family afterward for a reception at the Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, 1919 Second St.
His cremated remains will be inurned later at Burlington Green Hills Cemetery in Burlington, Wash.
Bill was born May 8, 1926, at Pittsburgh to William Charles Sr. and Wilma Ann Bode Knechtel. He graduated from Dormont High School at Dormont, Pa., in 1944 and joined the U.S. Army Air Force. After his service to his country, Bill continued his education. He earned a bachelor’s degree in forestry from Penn State at University Park, Pa., and continued his post-graduate work at the University of Montana in Missoula.
He married Dorothy Barbara Lorez on Sept. 1, 1946, at the Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Castle Shannon, Pa. The couple had three children: Jon, Janis and Craig.
Bill worked as a forester for the U.S. Forest Service throughout the Northwest. The family moved to Baker City in 1974 where Bill was the forester for the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.
He retired from the Forest Service in 1981 after 33 years of service. Bill received many awards and commendations during his career with the U.S. Map Service in Washington, D.C., and throughout his career with the U.S Forest Service.
He enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping, hiking and most of all, guns. He had been gunsmithing from about age 12. After his retirement, he had a gunsmithing business repairing rifles and shotguns and building complete rifles.
He was a member of the Society of American Foresters, the National Rifle Association, Oregon Hunters Association, Penn State Alumni and Powder River Sportsmen.
He was preceded in death by his daughter, Janis Beth Fleck; parents, William C. Knechtel Sr. and Wilma Ann Knechtel; and sisters, Shirley Ann and Beverly Carroll.
Survivors include his loving wife, Dorothy Knechtel of Baker City; sons, Jon Knechtel and his wife, Barbara, of Burlington, Wash., and Craig Knechtel of Eugene; brother, Harold Knechtel, and his wife, Janet, of Spring City, Tenn.; grandchildren, Jola Barnett and her husband, Mark, of Arlington, Wash., Melissa Knechtel of Niceville, Fla., Janis Allen and her husband, Kevin, of Lawrenceville, N.J.; Monica Davis and her husband, Scott, of Jacksonville, Fla., Rod Fleck and his wife, Cheri, of Forks, Wash., Jennifer Fleck of San Jose, Calif., Conlan Knechtel of Eugene, and Tyson Knechtel of Phoenix, Ariz.; great-grandchildren, Jonathan Barnett, Adam Barnett, Megan Barnett, Samantha Otis-Allen, Abigail Allen, Christopher Allen, Allison Byerly, Alexandra Koulisis, Nicholas Koulisis, Nicholas Davis, Brayden Davis, Anastasia Fleck, Emma-Grayce Fleck, William Fleck, Sierra Fleck, Joey Fleck and Serenity Fleck.
Memorial contributions may be made to Pathway Hospice, Pacific Northwest Trail Association, or the charity of one’s choice through Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, June 19, 2008
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor