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Dr. James ‘Jim’ William Knecht

June 22, 2017
Lake Placid News

Dr. James "Jim" William Knecht, 78, of Ocean Township, died suddenly on Wednesday, June 14, 2017, surrounded by his family. He was a respected surgeon, accomplished violinist and perpetual student.

Jim was born to William and Helen (nee Jirkovsky) in Chicago, Illinois on Sept. 10, 1938. He attended the University of Chicago, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated in 1959. While there, Jim was a member of the fencing team and competed against Big 10 schools. Then he attended the university's Pritzker School of Medicine, was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha and graduated in 1963.

During medical school, he married his college sweetheart Judy (nee Franzetti). They would have celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary this July 1. After completing his surgical residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, he began practicing General and Vascular Surgery in Monmouth County, New Jersey.

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For almost 35 years, Jim served on the staffs of both Monmouth Medical Center and the Jersey Shore University Medical Center, where he was appointed chairman of the Department of Surgery, a position he served in until his retirement. A most gratifying aspect of his medical career was training future surgeons as the Surgical Residency program director from 1971 to 1995. Although Jim officially retired in 2004, he continued to attend weekly surgery department meetings at Jersey Shore until his death. Jim also belonged to several professional associations including the American College of Surgeons (Fellow and former council member of the New Jersey Chapter), the American Board of Surgery (Diplomate), the Monmouth County Medical Society, the Medical Society of New Jersey and the Society of Surgeons of New Jersey (past president).

He played with The Monmouth Symphony Orchestra for 46 seasons and just completed his last concert in May. Prior to his retirement, Jim loved playing poker and tennis.

In his retirement years, he enjoyed playing duplicate bridge, traveling and spending time with his seven grandchildren. However, a life of leisure was not fulfilling enough for such an intellectually curious man, so Jim immersed himself in reading every major work of history and subscribing to numerous current affairs magazines. Just recently, he became absorbed in genealogy and was delighted when he was able to trace his direct line of descendants back to 1515.

However, the time Jim cherished most was spending summers in Lake Placid at his beloved Camp Wurth-Tha-Wate. There he enjoyed not only the natural beauty of the Adirondacks, but also the cultural life provided by the Lake Placid Sinfonietta, the Lake Placid Institute, and the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. He was a member of The Shore Owners' Association, serving most recently as a trustee. Jim relished the wonderful friends and bridge players he met over the past 35 years.

Jim is survived by his wife Judy; his daughters and sons-in-law Mary and Adam Shepard and Katherine and Harry Grasso III; and grandchildren James, Luke, Mark, Michael, Harry IV, Ava and Alexandra; his sister Dolores Miele; his aunt Violet Schmidt; his sisters and brothers-in-law Janice and Robert Cirincione, Kitty and Joseph Franzetti and Susan Franzetti and Guy DeBoo; and his nieces and nephews.

He will be remembered as a man of quiet strength, integrity and intellect who was steadfastly devoted to his family and absolutely adored by his wife, children and grandchildren. His presence will be greatly missed.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Monmouth Symphony Orchestra, PO Box 8218, Red Bank, NJ 07701.



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