Herman Karl Knaust
SAUGERTIES- Herman Karl Knaust passed away on the morning of April 1, 2015, surrounded by his family.
Born April 9, 1923 in West Camp to Herman Knaust Sr. and Katharine M. Barber, he was just shy of his 92nd birthday. Raised in the mushroom growing business founded by his family, Mr. Knaust grew up in West Camp, the site of the first German Lutheran settlement in the Hudson Valley. His father's family came from Germany in the 1880s, while his mother's family immigrated to colonial America in the 1630s.
Mr. Knaust attended Saugerties High School (Class of 1941), and then entered Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) shortly thereafter to pursue a science degree. Mr. Knaust enlisted in the armed forces during World War ll in January 1943, and was selected to the Army's newly formed Specialized Training Program (ASTP). Mr. Knaust's duties included accompanying, as a medic, wounded service personnel on the Military Air Transport System (MATS). He was also assigned duty at government research facilities including the Mason Lab, which did work on gaseous diffusion.
After the war, having done undergraduate studies at Johns Hopkins University, Mr. Knaust completed his medical studies at New York Medical College, Flower and Fifth Avenue Hospitals, passing the national medical boards. He continued his career as a scientist when he joined his family's business in the Hudson Valley as Director of Research in the Laboratories of Knaust Bros.
His biochemical research focused on mycology and cultivation of mushrooms for medical uses, partly based on his father's work and studies in the early 1950's on the medicinal uses of mushrooms for treating cancer. Mr. Knaust also played a significant role in the formation of Iron Mountain Corporation in which he served as Vice President.
Mr. Knaust loved nature, the great outdoors and hunting and fishing, being both a crack shot and an excellent fisherman. He would often delight his children with his ability to catch brook trout with his hands. Mr. Knaust's unique breath of knowledge was an engaging part of his personality. He had an ability to establish an easy rapport with people from all walks of life and those who knew or met him always looked forward to their next conversation.
He loved his garden, the smell of fresh flowers, watching for blue birds but most of all he loved his family and especially his dear and loving wife Betty, who predeceased him in 2014.
He is survived by daughters Karlyn Elia (Dick Duncan) of Saugerties, Barbara Hancock (husband Scott) of Tokyo, Japan, Alexandra Knaust of London, England; sons, Herman Knaust (Peggy Almquist) and Mark Knaust of Saugerties; grandchildren, Anthony Elia of Indianapolis, Indiana, Matthew Elia (Lauren) of Boston, Mass., Sarah Elia (Yoshiki) of New Paltz, Victoria Campbell of Saugerties, Katharine Hancock of Santa Fe, N.M., and Morgan Hancock of Paul Smiths, N.Y.; great-grandchildren, Lilah and Solje Elia, Owen and Liam Elia, and Anna Miyazawa; and he is also survived by a sister, Virginia Garland of Anna Maria Island, Fla.; and sister-in-law, Margaret Young of Rochester; and many much-loved nieces and nephews.
His brother Warren, and sisters Daisy Jane and Katharine predeceased him.
The family wishes to thank Hudson Valley Hospice, and Rev. Paul Walley for their care and kindness.
Friends will be received at the Seamon–Wilsey Funeral Home, corner of John and Lafayette St., Saugerties on Tuesday from 4 to 8 p.m. The service will be Wednesday at 11 a.m. at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, West Camp. Burial in Mt. View Cemetery, Saugerties.
The family requests that donations in his memory be made to St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 4203 Route 9W, West Camp, N.Y., 12490, where he was a lifelong member.
Expression of condolence may be shared at www.SeamonWilseyFuneralHome.com
Published by the Daily Freeman from Apr. 4 to Apr. 5, 2015.