William Knox
  • 83 years old
  • Date of birth: Nov 30, 1930
  • Place of birth:
    New York, New York, United States
  • Date of passing: Dec 2, 2013
  • Place of passing:
    Greensboro, North Carolina, United States
Bill Knox affected everyone with his huge spirit and generosity

Memorial service for Bill Knox
Sat Dec 14,  11am-1pm
Alumni House at UNC-G
404 College Avenue
Greensboro, NC



The family gratefully requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Rebecca Adams on 26th December 2013

"I have been a bit flummoxed about what to write here. My family unfortunately missed the memorial because we were out of town together, so haven't had a chance to remember with others.  

I guess the most important thing I have to say about Bill is that he was one of those people who could always make me feel good no matter how bad my day had been, and he made me feel like what I was doing was worthwhile no matter what others thought. (I won't repeat the precise advice he generally gave me, but those of you who knew him well know precisely what it was because he probably gave it to you too).  He applied the liberal arts in their classic sense--he was liberated and he encouraged others to be liberated as well.  I loved his refusal to abide by social norms that made no sense to him, his bluntness, the way he supported underdogs, his many good works, his confident irreverence, his creativity, his loyalty to his family and friends, and his raucous, infectious laugh.  I can still hear him yelling down the hall in Graham "is anyone awake down there? It is like a morgue around here."  (I do hope his memorial was lively!)

As a head he had a way of making all of us in the Sociology Department feel valued and supported. I remember when laser pointers first came out and were very expensive. I was teaching a huge class and said in passing that it was too bad the department couldn't afford one because it would have been useful. The next day the top-of-the-line model was on my desk--I am quite sure it was a present from Bill not a gift of the State of NC.  

My daughter Hadley grew up around the Sociology Department. Bill loved that, for some unknown reason, she named her Keds "Bill Knox" and "Bill Knox."  They used to talk to each other like puppets as she sat in her car seat in the back seat.  The real Bill Knox would always ask after them when he saw Hadley, and they would have a silly conversation about how the two other Bill Knoxes were behaving (always badly). Just as Bill could easily see the world from my perspective and provide me what I needed without being asked, he was also perfectly able to see the world from a toddler's perspective. This broad and deep empathetic insight made him an incredible sociologist, an amazing teacher, and a wonderful human being. I will think of him every time I need a boost and will feel better after laughing out loud."

This tribute was added by Alan Salmon on 16th December 2013

"A beautiful Memorial Service was held for my second father and friend Bill knox on Saturday in Greensboro, NC. Visiting old memories can be happy but also painful. I'm glad to be back home carrying the positive gifts he instilled in me."

This tribute was added by Adam Wallace on 14th December 2013

"I can remember being touched by the kindness of Dr. Knox and the Knox family as a small child.  Even then it was apparent to me that he was a very special person, and all were so deeply loved by my family.  My thoughts and prayers go out to the friends who also experienced this same benignity, and to the family."

This tribute was added by jan uvelius on 10th December 2013

"Oh Bill I miss you so much and Di I feel so much for you and your tremendous loss.
Bill dead,
Mandela dead,
both had the same spirit,
both had the same big heart.
When I try to write this I´m still trying to understand that I will never more hear your voice again Bill. I had the privlege of knowing you in 35 years.You and Di let me in to your family as an exchange student from Sweden 1978 and it has continued since then.

love Jan"

This tribute was added by Susan Poisson-Dollar on 9th December 2013

"Diana, Lee, Missy, Ginger, Steve, David, Sarah and grandchildren---We had so many wonderful times with dear Pa Bill at Mesacosa, in Albany and in Westchester/NYC.  He will be dearly missed by all the P-D's for his generosity, wit, and always entertaining and enlightening conversation around the dinner table.  He made the world a better place and lived a life worth living.  We send our deepest condolences to you all.   Susan, Jerry, Tom, Emily, Clara and Hana"

This tribute was added by Herb and Ruth Syrop on 8th December 2013

"Bill leaves us with a bleak, blank empty hole every time we think of
Efner Lake or Mesacosa Road. Diana and Bill were fun to be with.
No conversation with them ever lagged.

They snap together like two pieces of a puzzle. The Efner community
is rendered incomplete. Oh Diana, so very sorry."

This tribute was added by Wayne Plummer on 7th December 2013

"Bill was passionate about so many different things, including all kinds of sports...  

When I was around the Knox house during college basketball season, he would on occasion change the TV channel from the broadcast of his beloved New York Rangers to watch a few minutes of college hoops.

If he were still with us, and I might have been lucky enough to hang out with him in the downstairs den tonight, we could have flipped channels back and forth between the Rangers-Devils hockey game and the basketball game between the UNCG Spartans and my own beloved UNC Tar Heels.

As it is, I'll watch the basketball on the TV at home tonight - and cheer for the UNCG Spartans...  I'll also flip channels a bit, so I can cheer for the Rangers.  I just wish Bill was around to explain to me for the seventeenth time how I the penalty for icing works.

Bill's spirit is a tender one, he will always be present in my heart."

This tribute was added by Keith Cushman on 6th December 2013

"I don't remember how or when I first met Bill.  Everyone in the UNCG
"Old Guard" knew him.  I appreciated his friendliness, his garrulousness, and his immense cultivation.  In recent years I most often encountered him after a symphony concert or a Met Live in HD transmission at the Regal Grande.  His memorial service on the 14th ends just as the Met production of Verdi's "Falstaff" will be beginning at the Regal Grande.  It's odd and very, very sad that he won't be there.    Keith Cushman"

This tribute was added by Alan Salmon on 6th December 2013

"Second  father

Part one…

In 1974 I fell in love with a girl from high school. She was warm, beautiful, loving , and more surprisingly adored me.

She finally took me home to meet her parents. They were aliens from a different  planet.

I was a culturally ignorant southern boy with a thick accent.  Her parents were wealthy northerner’s of academia.. She was their first daughter. Go figure? You probably already seen the movie version.  

From  the first her dad was a pampas  ass making fun of my accent and lack of culture. He used me as butt of most jokes. Her mother “bless her heart” didn’t really like me but tried to run interference.

But young love can be strong. I stuck around for a year and a half until their daughter left for college out of state.

Funny thing….Like most first loves our’s withered on the vine once parted…but the bond and friendship with her parents lasted a lifetime.  

Part two…

In 1982 I fell in love with my wife. Three months to the day  we planned to be married. I turned to my second  parents  to host our outdoor wedding at their beautiful country home.

The wedding was a dream with perfect weather. My second parents were wonderful host and all our guest participated in a potluck to have a wonderful time.

One year later…

Betty and I decided we wanted to go into the greenhouse plant start business in the piedmont of NC. We one again turned to my second parents for help.

They loaned us both money for the business and our first home. Year later after paying off the loan my second father told me he had been prepared for us never to succeed. He said “ The most important thing was that we had the passion and desire to try”.

Part three…

Eight years later Betty and I decided that  it was time to move our young family up to Western North Carolina. We once again turned to my second parents for help.

They loaned us the money to basically start over and expand our business. Most people are not so lucky.

Part four…

Over the past 39 years I watched my second  father mellow but he never gave up the need to be the center of attention.

His ideas and health woes were always in the fore front of any discussions. He also never faltered on his steadfast liberal ideals supporting the underdog…“Bless his heart”.

He died yesterday. The report is he collapsed and stopped breathing.

In closing…

Whether or not we like it…We are shape by the people who share our life’s.  My second father help mold me into a person I am today. He opened my heart  to the art’s, classical  music, theater, and liberal discussion.

I was honored to called William E Knox’s a friend and loved one…

Now we all pick up the pieces…."

This tribute was added by Julia Nile on 6th December 2013

"I met Bill in 1970.  He left a lasting impression when we met.  I was applying for the new graduate program in Sociology at UNCG. He terrified me at first.  He was such an Anglophile and assumed that I would understand all his wise literary references, which of course I didn't.  I quickly grew very fond of Bill, discovering his warm, generous and kind personality.  His mix of intellect and eccentricity made him a inspiring and much loved teacher.  My sincere condolences to Diana and the family.  Love, J"

This tribute was added by Beth Meer on 6th December 2013

"Dear Diana, Ginger, Steve, David, Sarah, Lee, Missy, Becky, Jake and all the grandkids -- my heart and thoughts are with you at this time.  I have wonderful memories of Bill -- his keen interest in almost all topics of discussion, his love for nature, only matched by his love of family, friends and people in general, his infectious enthusiasm for life. My most heartfelt memory is of his dignity, grace, hope and compassion in the face of Carol's illness.  Along with Diana and Lee he created a place of love for all of us to face her loss together.  I have enormous admiration for Bill, the children he raised, and the extended family he has nurtured.  He is a great spirit who has given lasting gifts to us all, from the beauty of Efnor Lake to the priceless, timeless legacy of Carol's life and love.  I am grateful to have known him.  Love to all, Beth Meer"

This tribute was added by Terry Austin on 5th December 2013

"I met Bill when I worked at the Sociology Department office and he would come in to hang out and banter with David Pratto and anyone else who happened to be there.  In the years since, every time I would run into him at a chamber music concert or other event, he would launch into a conversation as though we had been interrupted only moments before.  He was a character, and I will miss him."

This tribute was added by Jack and Sue Jezorek on 5th December 2013

"To Diana and Bills family,
  I used to take my two young sons over to fish in Bill and Diana's pond. Bill was always so gracious and generous to let us fish there, and to even use the boat he had there. Both my sons are grown now, and avid fishermen, partly as a result of Bill's opening his property to us. A good man!
Jack Jezorek"

This tribute was added by Jeff Thigpen on 5th December 2013


I want to let you know how much I appreciated Bill.   Bill was a supporter of mine, but moreso a friend.  Bill was funny, witty, and kind.  I'm sad to hear of his passing but remember him so fondly.  

My best to all of you.

Jeff Thigpen"

This tribute was added by Susan McMullen on 5th December 2013

"I am so sorry to see that Bill has passed. I absolutely adored him; he was the main reason I switched from being an Art major to a major in Sociology ('80), and continued at UNCG to get my MA (eventually). I can see him now, in his tweed jacket pacing in front of the classroom while lecturing and trying to light his pipe. It almost never got lit.

We also shared a connection to Doren, due to my previous stint in the art department, and Bill's love of photography. There is some affinity, not immediately self-evident, between art and sociology.

He was charming and funny, and fascinating to talk to. What flair he had! My sincere condolences to his family. I will always think of him fondly, with a big smile on my face.

Susan McMullen (BA '80, MA '88)"

This tribute was added by Lynn Coles on 5th December 2013

"Dave and Sarah
I am truly sorry for your loss.  Please remember that his legacy will live on through you and your children.  The best tribute to him is to continue to share your loving memories of him.  
God bless you and your family.  
Lynn Coles"

This tribute was added by Walter Gregg on 4th December 2013

"Dear Diana and Knox family- Our sincerest condolences on the passing of dear Cousin Bill. His spirit will be with me every time I set out on Efnor Lake, and his presence there in the summer will be sorely missed. We hope you find peace as you celebrate Bill's life, and our thoughts are with you.


Walter, Melinda and Racey Gregg"

This tribute was added by Cris Cioffi on 4th December 2013

"Dave, Sarah and family -  I am so sorry for your loss.  Thank you for letting me know.  You're all in my thoughts.
Cris Cioffi"

This tribute was added by Leonide Gabrilovitch on 4th December 2013

"The memory of Pa Bill will always make me smile.  The world is not the same without him in it.  
My heartfelt condolences to Diana, Ginger, Steve, David, Sarah, Lee, Missy, and all the grandkids.  
Much love and peace to you all.
Lee G."

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David Knox


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