Paul Russell Kniss

Paul Russell Kniss, 86, of Santa Fe passed away peacefully Friday, March 7. Paul was born in Monmouth, Illl., in April of 1927. He was preceded in death by his wife Connie after 48 years of marriage. He is survived by his sons Jon Randolph and Brett Richard, his grandson Paul Ryan and granddaughter Sarah Deane. Paul was raised in central Illinois before living in Denver, Chicago, Knoxville Ill., Jackson Wyo., Cheyenne Wyo. and Santa Fe.
Paul enlisted in the U.S. Navy in May of 1944, just 4 days after his 17th birthday, and served on the destroyer U.S.S. Mitchell in the Pacific campaign during World War II. He then re-enlisted with the Air Force and became a flight instructor before flying P-51s for the 18th Fighter Bomber Wing during the Korean War. He was shot down by a MiG during combat support operations and was interred as a POW for 13 months until the end of the war. Once discharged, Paul had a long career with United Airlines as a captain and was one of the original pilots flying the Boeing 737s. During retirement, he enjoyed living in the prettiest spots in the western United States and was always sought out for his natural talents as Santa Claus for churches and charities.
A memorial service for Paul will be held Thursday, March 13 at the Santa Fe Veterans National Cemetery at 10:30. The family asks that memorials be provided to the Wounded Warriors' project in Paul's name.
Published in Los Alamos Monitor on Mar. 11, 2014