Joseph W. Knoblauch, 86, of Excelsior, died on Oct. 14.
He grew up in St. Anthony Park, first on Scudder Street and later in a large brick house on Doswell Avenue across from College Park. He graduated from Murray High School, where he excelled in basketball and football.
His family was instrumental in building the first Corpus Christi Catholic Church at Cleveland and Buford avenues (now owned by the Emily Program). Photos in the Corpus Christi history book show Joe as one of the first altar boys.
Joe graduated from the University of Minnesota and was a proud member of the University of Minnesota basketball team. He enlisted in the Navy and was trained to be a signalman.
Joe married Margie Jacobson on Dec. 20, 1948. She had grown up across from Monkey Island in St. Anthony Park. Together they raised six children. Joe taught math and social studies at South Junior High School in Hopkins. He also was a coach, counselor, assistant principal and principal at the school. He finished his 32 years in education as principal of Hopkins’ Eisenhower High School.
Joe enjoyed coaching basketball and football and was delighted to connect with former students everywhere he went. Joe was an entrepreneur and had many business ventures, from owning tree farms to investing in the Hopkins House and Breezy Point Resort near Pequot Lakes, Minn. Joe instilled in his children a deep appreciation of family and their heritage and a love of nature and the outdoors. “Uncle Joe was ‘green’ long before it was popular to be ‘green,’ “ according to his niece Mary Schreifels. He enjoyed fishing trips to Canada, duck and deer hunting near Ortonville, Minn., and winters spent with Margie on Sanibel Island. Joe was an amazing storyteller, always engaging with whoever he met and then making lifelong friends. He was preceded in death by his son, Daniel, and his wife of 64 years, Margie. Joe is survived by his children, Kathy (Terry Ische), Bill (Patty), LuAnne (Dan Danko), Mary (Martin Carlson) and John (Sharon); nine grandchildren; four great-grandsons; and sister, Kathryn Felion. Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Oct. 19 at St. Hubert’s Catholic Church in Chanhassen. Memorials are preferred to Ducks Unlimited or the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.