Rev. John's Story
John Richard Knecht, 96, passed away peacefully on Aug. 9, 2017, at the Peabody Retirement Community in North Manchester, Indiana. The Rev. Knecht was the loving husband of Marjorie nee Hill of 74 years.
The Rev. Knecht was born and raised in Hartford City, Indiana, and graduated in 1942 from Indiana Central College (now University of Indianapolis). He attended United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, and was ordained in 1945. He received an MA from Yale University in 1946 in preparation for mission work in China (1946-47), where he taught history and sociology at Lingnan University.
Upon returning to the United States, John served as the pastor at EUB churches in Clay City, Indiana, and Terre Haute, Indiana. He then served 10 years at the Board of Evangelism for the EUB Church, participating in numerous youth mission trips. In 1965, he was named president of United Theological Seminary in Dayton and held that office until his retirement in 1985.
John had a lifelong love of baseball and was a devoted fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He established and coached the first baseball team at Lingnan in China and later invented a baseball board game for his children. Golf was his recreational passion and he played more than 545 different courses around the world including all those on which the British Open has been held. In retirement, he and Marjorie traveled extensively including six trips to China as group leaders for Seminars International. He served on the board and was an avid supporter of Habitat for Humanity in Wabash County.
Of all his many accomplishments in life, the Rev. Knecht was most proud of his family. In addition to Marjorie, his beloved wife, John is survived by four children, Catherine, Mark (Joan), Luke (Jeanne) and Matthew (Barbara); eight grandchildren, Alex, Sam, Margaret, Andrew, William, Richard, Carey and Jay; and two great-grandchildren, Alden and Muriel.
John touched so many in a positive way, was truly loved and respected and he will be missed by all who knew him.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on Aug. 19 at the United Methodist Church in North Manchester. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to the John and Marjorie Knecht International Scholarship Fund at United Theological Seminary, 4501 Denlinger Road, Dayton, OH 45426.
Arrangements by Grandstaff-Hentgen Bender Chapel, 207 W. Main St., North Manchester, Indiana.
The memorial guestbook for John can be signed online at:
Published on August 11, 2017