Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Ken graduated from Cleveland Heights High School in 1939. In high school and college Ken was both a polo player and competitive swimmer, placing third in the state on the high school medley relay.
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Ken earned a Bachelor's degree in economics from Kenyon College in Ohio, class of 1943, completing his degree early to enlist in the Army Air Force in December, 1942. He served in the south Pacific in WWII until 1946. Upon his return he earned his Doctorate in Economics from Harvard University in 1949. In 1993 Ken was awarded an honorary doctorate from Kenyon College for his service to community.
Ken was a professor of Economics at Grinnell College, marrying his wife Siddy in March 1953. They traveled extensively during summer breaks searching for early American antiques for their Grinnell shop.
In 1967 the Knopf family moved to Walla Walla, Washington. Ken served as the dean, provost and professor of Economics at Whitman College, until retiring in 1989. He authored and edited several economics text books during his career. He was an active member of the community as a Grinnell city council member, president of the Walla Walla United Fund, on the County Mental Health Board and the Human Services Administrative Board. Upon retirement, He and Siddy divided their time between their home on Mill Creek outside of Walla Walla and their cabin on Priest Lake in northern Idaho.
In January of 1994 Ken and Siddy moved to La Conner, Washington. Ken immediately became active in his new community serving on the board and as president of Shelter Bay. He was a long term member of Kiwanis, serving as president in 2003-2004, chairing the student mentorship committee and serving on the scholarship board. He was a founding member of the La Conner Boys and Girls Club board and served on the Skagit County board. He also served on the La Conner Community Scholarship Foundation, where he set up a scholarship in honor of his late wife. Ken was honored by the La Conner Alliance for Youth and Families in 2008 for his contributions benefiting area youth. He was ecstatic to be named the Grand Marshall of the Tulip Parade in 2011. Ken was especially honored to be asked in 1997 to be a member of the Swinomish Tribe Planning Commission, where he served for 15 years.
Under presidents Ford and Carter, Ken was appointed to the Federal Home Loan Bank Board District 12 serving from 1976-1983. He worked with the AARP/IRS Statewide Tax Assistance Program from 1987 - 1998, serving as the associate district coordinator for several years.
Ken is survived by his two daughters Kristin L. Knopf, Seattle WA and Mary G. Knopf, Anchorage, Alaska.
A celebration of life will be held in October. For those who would like to make a donation in his name, please consider the La Conner Boys & Girls Club, the La Conner Community Scholarship Foundation or the Kenyon A. Knopf endowed scholarship at Kenyon College in Gambier Ohio.
Published in Skagit Valley Herald Publishing Company on Aug. 28, 2013