Deceased October 24, 2018
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Bob Knowles died Oct. 24, 2018, as the result of an illness sustained in January of that year. He and his first wife, Shirley, whom he married in 1953, had two daughters. Shirley died in 1986. In 1987 Bob married Nancy, his surviving widow.
Upon graduation in 1951, Bob entered the U.S. Navy Officer Candidate School and graduated first in his class of 422 in December 1951. He completed further training in the first half of 1952 and joined Task Force 77 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kearsarge for duty in the Sea of Japan until 1954. Bob then attended Harvard Business School, graduating in June 1956.
For the next five years, he was employed by the Stanley Works in New Britain, Conn., focusing on long-range planning and budget matters. He moved on to the American Hardware Corp., and then, from 1963 to 1979, he worked at R. Dixon Speas Associates, a major aviation consulting firm, as its treasurer and vice president for economic planning.
In 1979 Bob went solo with his own company, Aero Economics, which he described in our 35th reunion book as “one of the world’s foremost sources of opinion reports on aircraft useful lives and current and future values. My client list reads like a Who’s Who of airline and aviation finance, and the aircraft on which I opine range from business jets up through 747’s.” Bob’s company was basically a one-man operation requiring lots of traveling.
Bob retired (kind of) in 1992. He and Nancy bought a waterfront townhouse near St. Michaels, Md., with a great view of the Miles River. For our 50th-year reunion book, Bob wrote, “I (like Dean Wilson) sometimes wish that I had worked harder at Amherst, but I am convinced that my experience there was invaluable in preparing me for life.”
Everett E. Clark ’51, with input from Nancy Knowles