his Life

A Life To Remember

Walter “Skip” James Knapp, of Racine, WI, passed away in his home on Monday, September 28th, 2020 at the age of 76 in Roswell, GA from complications related to a brain aneurysm. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Fran Oliver Knapp, and two sons, Geoff Knapp of Atlanta, GA and Brian Knapp of Jacksonville, FL, and four grandsons. He also leaves behind his sisters, Vicki Butler and Kris Bournoville, both of Racine, WI.

Walt was born on October 7, 1943 in Racine, WI.  He graduated in 1961 from Horlick High School where he proceeded to join the United States Navy. While in service to the Navy, he met the love of his life, Fran, while in port in Virginia.  Walt and Fran got married at the William & Mary chapel on July 24, 1965.  They began their life together in Racine, WI, where he studied History at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee class of 1970. From here, Walt and Fran grew their family with the births of Geoff and Brian while moving around the country with Walt’s job, finally settling in Plantation, FL in 1981until 2000. After a forty year plus career, Walt and Fran retired in Roswell, GA.  

In retirement, Walt focused on his passions, which included Native American studies, teaching, writing, and horses.  Walt spent three decades researching Native American studies and served as the Vice President of the Georgia Trail of Tears Association, as well as, instructed Native-American Culture at The University of North Georgia, Continuing Education Department. Walt became a freelance writer and, as a pilot, wrote numerous articles covering aviation-related topics. In addition, he published three novels encompassing his knowledge of the Old West and Native Americans. He was a member of Western Writers of America and Booth Writers Guild and in 2018 was inducted into the Horlick High School Hall of Fame. 

Eight years ago, Walt volunteered for the first time at his grandson’s school, High Meadows School & Camp.  This experience introduced him to a community that encompassed all of his passions, including his grandsons, and evolved into multiple roles.   He was a substitute teacher, taught after-school courses on horseback riding, taught and spoke on various aspects of Native American studies, worked with the ponies and riders during school and camp, initiated the rescue and rehabilitation of a horse for the school, and so much more.  His experience with High Meadows School & Camp was a labor of love.

The Love Story

This is in Skip's words taken from his Facebook page on his 55th anniversary to Fran:
"During the summer of 1965, much was happening in the world. The United States began its buildup in Southeast Asia when 3,500 Marines landed in Vietnam. By years end, 184,300 American soldiers were "in country" (not Donald Trump, he had heel spurs).
In July, the number one song was "Can't Get No Satisfaction," by the Rolling Stones, and Congress passed the Voting Rights Act, which President Johnson signed August 6th.
Oh, there was one more thing of note. The beautiful Frances Ann Oliver and I were married in the oldest building still standing in America, The Christopher Wren building, on the campus of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia.
The story of how we met, fell in love, and married is one even the finest fiction writers of all time could have never conceived, but it happened. We were married on this date, and in September, I was deployed overseas for one year, So even though we've been married for 55 years, we've only been together for 54.
To my still incredibly beautiful wife, Fran, I wish you a very happy Anniversary. I love you even more than I did on that extremely hot Saturday in Williamsburg 55 years ago!"

Rescue & Rehabilitation of Bella Luna