In Memory: May 20

Thomas George Kniess, 80, Sebastian

Thomas George Kniess, 80, of Sebastian, was born Jan. 7, 1940, in Butler, Pa., the second child born to Mabel Lillian (nee Allen) Kniess and William Dean Kniess. He passed away on May 15, 2020.

Tom was predeceased by his oldest brother, Edward Dean, and has six surviving siblings, Robert Charles (Doris), David Randall (Rachelle), Arnold Lee (Doris), Daniel Randolph (Judi), Joyce Kroeger (Lee) and Charlene Pinter.

As a young man Tom worked on local farms and learned most aspects of farming.  He lived in Prospect, Pa., for 17 years and then moved to Glen Burnie, Md., where he graduated from Glen Burnie High School in in 1957.

After high school Tom worked in a distribution center for Montgomery Ward Department Store in Baltimore and also worked on construction as a heavy equipment operator.

While continuing to work construction, Tom took a second job as a welder with Bethlehem Steel in Fairfield, Maryland.  Though he didn’t like the work, Bethlehem Steel earned Tom the biggest pay check he had earned up to that time, but his new found prosperity was short-lived because a major steel strike hit in 1959 and sent him to the unemployment lines.

Tom remembered going to the unemployment office and waiting in a line that wrapped around the block twice only to have the office close when he was in sight of the front door.

He returned the next day to find the line even longer.  That sent Tom to see an Air Force recruiter and he enlisted in the Air Force in 1959.  Tom’s father died the same year.

Tom served one year at Lackland Air Force base and was then transferred to Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth, N.H., where he served an additional three years.

In the Air Force Tom did teletype and crypto machine maintenance.  He also served in York Beach, Maine, as a maintenance man for the Animal Forest Park.

Tom was honorably discharged from the Air Force in 1964.

Bethlehem Steel had begun to flourish again and Tom returned to Fairfield, Md., to work as a welder for Bethlehem Steel. Tom worked with Bethlehem Steel for approximately six years and then went to full-time construction work in Pasadena, Md.

After a short stint at construction Tom began working in the long-haul trucking industry.  He began long haul driving for Mayflower Van Lines in 1972, where he met his future wife, Charlotte, who was employed there as a driver’s counselor.
After leaving Mayflower Van Lines Tom worked for several different companies in the trucking industry until he retired in 2003.

Most of his life Tom worked more than one job.  He also worked as a landscaper, a handyman, and a moving and storage professional.

Tom has four children, Thomas George II, Timothy Allen (Tammy), Robert Charles and Donna Patricia, and seven grandchildren; Thomas George III, Russell, Jimmy, Bobby, Tyler, Autumn Kniess, Alexis Rose-Kniess, and two great-grandchildren, Charlotte Nelson and Walter Kniess.

Tom married Charlotte Ann Davis on Dec. 17, 1977.  They lived in Indiana until 2003 when they moved to Orlando, Fla.

In 2006, Tom and Charlotte moved from Orlando to Sebastian. Tom passed away peacefully at his home.

Final arrangements are provided by Seawinds Funeral Home in Sebastian.

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