Walnut Creek, CA
George C. Knies, 81, passed away July 30, 2014 at his home with his family at his side. George succumbed to a long-term respiratory illness from his distinguished Naval air shipboard career.
George was born in Jamaica Queens, NY, the only child of George C. Knies, Sr. and Florence Balmain. He joined the Navy Reserve at 17 and was designated a U.S. Naval Aviator in 1954.
As a jet pilot, George served two detachments flying combat missions in Vietnam. He led sorties in his A3 Skywarrior jet -- known as "The Whale" -- on electronic countermeasures (jamming enemy radar). He said the most difficult thing he ever did was night carrier landings in The Whale.
CDR Knies retired from the U.S. Navy in 1974 and began a second career as an accident investigator and consultant to law firms in major civilian and military aviation and boating mishaps. He was President for 7 years of the San Francisco chapter of the International Society of Air Safety Investigators (ISASI).
An accomplished sailor all his life, George served as Past Flotilla Commander, Flotilla 36, of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and as Past Commodore of the Treasure Island Yacht Club. He was also Past President of the International Order of the Blue Gavel and a board member of the Golden Gate Tall Ship Society.
George is survived by his beloved and devoted wife of 58 years, Ann, and his three children, Scott, Susan and Carl, all of San Jose, CA, 5 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.
Friends are invited to the memorial service, Aug. 30, at 1:30 p.m., at San Ramon Valley United Methodist Church, 902 Danville Blvd., Alamo, CA. Memorial contributions may be made to
George's final resting place will be the sea, where he spent so much of his time and served his country.
Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Aug. 17, 2014