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Michael Joseph Knies

July 22, 1921 ~ July 11, 2019 (age 97)
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                                                         Michael Joseph Knies



Michael (Mike) Knies of Lansford, PA, passed away peacefully in his sleep 11 days before his 98th birthday on Thursday, July 11, 2019, following a brief illness.  He was born July 22, 1921, and grew up in Lansford, PA.  His parents were John and Helen (Demčák) Knies.  He was the second youngest of eight siblings, all of whom have predeceased him [Sister Constance, Mary, Helen, Margaret, John, Elizabeth, and Frank,].He graduated from St. Ann’s High School (Lansford, PA) in 1939. He served in the United States Navy at the end of World War II after working as a shipbuilder in Philadelphia. At the end of World War II, Mike worked as a blacksmith for the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company, followed by a brief stint with New Jersey Zinc in Palmerton, PA.  He spent the remainder of his career working at Parish Steel/Dana Corporation in Reading, PA, and worked as an independent blacksmith sharpening tools for tombstone companies. He began volunteering as a fire police officer in Lansford in 1971 but, after retiring from Dana in 1983, he became more active and served as captain of the Lansford Fire Police since 1985, a role he continued to carry out until February 2019. He also began volunteering for the newly established Panther Valley No. 9 Mine Museum.  He served as Vice President of the museum, and donated numerous artifacts to the collection.  He was also an active contributor to the Lansford Historical Society and a member of the Slovak Catholic Sokol.


He married Julia (Sims) in 1947. Together they had two children, Elizabeth Ann (Lesher) and Michael Knies and his wife Jennie. He has two grandsons, Jon Lesher and William Knies, and three great-grandsons: Adam, Charles, and Cormac Lesher. Julia Knies died in 2012. He was an avid gardener and produced delicious cucumbers, lettuce, and tomatoes every summer, and made his own raspberry wine, using the fruit from his backyard.  He was in excellent health in his final years and lived independently until June of this year. 


A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Tuesday, July 16, 2019 at 12:00 P.M. in St. Joseph Parish of the Panther Valley Church, 462 W. Ludlow St., Summit Hill, PA with Father Allen Hoffa officiating. Military interment will follow in St. Michael’s Cemetery, Summit Hill. Family will receive friends Tuesday 10:00 A.M.-12:00 P.M. in the Church. In lieu of flowers, donations will be accepted in his name to the American Fire Company #1 of Lansford, 26 E. Patterson St., Lansford PA 18232 or the Lansford Historical Society, P.O. Box 44, Lansford, PA 18232. . Online condolences at 

Donations may be made to:

American Fire Company #1 of Lansford
26 E. Patterson St., Lansford PA 18232

Lansford Historical Society
P.O. Box 44, Lansford PA 18232

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