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Joseph Knowland


1930 - 2019 Obituary Condolences
Joseph William Knowland

July 26, 1930 - March 14, 2019

Joe passed away peacefully, surrounded by his loving family on March 14, 2019 after a period of declining health. He was 88 years old. Joe was a much beloved family member and friend. Affectionately known by his family as Papa, he was fun loving and was truly young at heart. He is best known as Editor and Publisher of The Oakland Tribune newspaper in the 1970's and is fondly thought of for his creative endeavors including elaborate treasure hunts and haunted houses. He will be deeply missed, but happily remembered.

Joseph William Knowland was born on July 26, 1930 to William Fife Knowland and Helen Herrick Knowland. Joe was named after his grandfather, Joseph R. Knowland – former US Congressman and Owner / Publisher of the Oakland Tribune and Joe's father William F. Knowland – United States Senator and Senate Majority Leader during the Eisenhower administration.

In 1950, he married Dolores Faye Beall (Dee) and they became partners in life and in business. They raised a family of three children in Piedmont, CA. and later lived in Oakland's Upper Rockridge, Alameda and Rossmoor in Walnut Creek. After graduating from the University of California with two BA degrees, Joe went into the family newspaper business, starting as a cub reporter in 1954. He trained in all departments of the business and was elected by the Board as Editor and Publisher of the Oakland Tribune from 1974-1977. Joe earned the "Publisher of the Year" award from the California Press Association in 1975.

After the sale of the Tribune in 1977, he pursued his love of acting and public speaking. In addition to his role as an antique store owner in "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home", he had roles in "Escape From Alcatraz", other feature films, made for TV movies, television episodes, short films, TV commercials and print. He starred as a salty old Sea Captain in "San Francisco - Great Adventure", which ran at Pier 39 for 5 years. Joe was a much beloved member of the Bohemian Club performing in dozens of plays and skits. For decades, Joe delighted Bohemians with his legendary lead performances in physical comedy, pratfalls, singing and dancing in Low Jinks performances at the Bohemian Grove. Many will remember his humorous and endearing welcome speeches for new members at the Grove. In 1982 he played two characters: archenemy super villain, Professor Moriarty and elder brother Mycroft Holmes in the Bohemian Club production "An Appointment with Sherlock Holmes".

He served on the San Francisco Board of the Screen Actors Guild and numerous other Boards including the Oakland Coliseum, Mills College and the California College of Arts & Crafts. Joe and his wife Dee co-chaired the fundraising campaign for the restoration of the Paramount Theater, an Oakland art deco masterpiece and national historic landmark. Joe is survived by his loving wife Dee, sister Estelle, daughter Deanne, son Bill, daughter-in-law Beverly and grandson Forrest. He was pre-deceased by his daughter Rebecca and sister Emelyn.

A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to: Palliative Care of the East Bay Hospice at 3470 Buskirk Ave, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523.


Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Mar. 17, 2019
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