John Francis Kneisel

Born on July 15, 1920

Departed on July 27, 2011 and resided in Atlanta, GA

Atlanta resident John Francis “Frank” Kneisel, age 91, passed away peacefully in his sleep on the morning of July 27, 2007. Born on June 15, 1920 as the second son of Atlanta native Louisa Bixby Kneisel and Edmund A. Kneisel, an Ohioan, Frank grew up in West End and Morningside, graduating from Boys High School in 1938. Frank’s great grandfather, F. S. Bixby, moved to Atlanta in 1883, where he owned property in what is now the Kirkwood area of Atlanta and in West End, across the street from Joel Chandler Harris author of the “Uncle Remus” stories, who he befriended. After high school, Frank entered Georgia Tech, preceded by his brother, Edmund B., who graduated with high honors in textile engineering. Both Ed and Frank joined the Naval ROTC at Tech, and both served on active duty in the submarine service during WWII.
On graduation from Tech in 1942, Frank was commissioned an Ensign in the Navy and married the love of his life, Mary Elizabeth “Betty” Moore, who he had known from the time both of them attended Morningside Elementary School in the late 1920’s. Only ten days later, Frank, joined the war, assuming duties as an officer on U.S.S.-13, one of the older U.S. submarines then in active service. Once German U-boats were cleared from the Caribbean Sea, Frank transferred to the Navy’s Bureau of Aeronautics in Washington, D.C., where he served until war’s end. His only son, Ed, was born at the U.S. Naval Air Station, Atlanta in 1946, on the same day that the Navy Department confirmed the death of Frank’s brother, Ed. Frank’s brother, like so many of their classmates at Georgia Tech, had been lost when his submarine, the U.S.S. Barbel, was sunk in the Pacific, one of 52 U.S. submarines lost during WWII.
Frank was discharged from the Navy in 1946 and embarked on a long career in engineering and construction-related fields in Atlanta and for a short period in Houston, Texas. In late 1959 he founded Kemco Metal Products, a light gauge metal manufacturing company, which Frank continued to run as President until he retired twenty-two years later. Following his retirement, he and Betty traveled often in the U.S. and overseas, with much of their U.S. travel being devoted to genealogy research that uncovered enough physical evidence to allow them admittance as members of the Daughters of the American Revolution and Sons of the American Revolution. During this period, they sold their residence of thirty-six years in North Atlanta and moved to East Cobb County, where they remained happily together for another fifteen years, until Betty passed away in late 2001. Frank lived another ten years, the last four of which were spent as a resident of Sunrise at Buckhead, where he made many friends, especially among the staff, with his cheerful disposition and frequent laughter.
Frank is survived by his only son Edmund and his wife, Leslie, and by a granddaughter, Kathleen, who resides in Oakland, California and will be married in slightly over one month. Frank’s only niece, Shari McMurray Judkins, resident of Concord, California, passed away slightly less than two years ago, being survived by two children, Jack “Spike” and Debbie, and several grandchildren. Frank’s ashes will be laid to rest during a private, graveside service, next to the ashes of his beloved wife Betty, at the Episcopal Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in East Cobb County.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Georgia Alzheimer’s Association, 41 Perimeter Center East, Suite 550, Atlanta, Ga. 30346 or on line at www.alz.org/georgia.


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