Father William T. Knipe, MM
Born: October 14, 1931
Ordained: June 14, 1958
Died: August 14, 2009
Father William T. Knipe died on August 14, 2009 at St. Teresa’s Residence, Maryknoll, New York. He was 77 years old and a Maryknoll priest for 51 years.
William Thomas Knipe was born in the Bronx, New York on October 14, 1931, son of Theodore and Mary Preston Knipe. He had two sisters and two brothers. After attending public grammar school and Chaminade High School in Mineola, New York, he entered Maryknoll in September 1947 and was ordained on June 14, 1958.
Following ordination, Father Knipe received a Master of Arts in French Language from Universite Laval, Quebec, Canada in 1962, after which he was assigned to teach French and music at Maryknoll Junior Seminary, Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. He remained at the Venard, both teaching and as Dean of Discipline until he was assigned to Tanzania, Africa in July 1967 to work at St. Pius Seminary in Musoma, Tanzania.
In August 1970 Father Knipe was re-assigned to the United States and the Education Department at Glen Ellyn. With the closing of Glen Ellyn in early 1971, Father Knipe was assigned to the Development Department to be part of the College Recruitment Program, working in the Boston area, and in July 1972 he returned to Africa. Father Knipe worked in Eldoret, Kenya until in September 1975 he was assigned to the newly created Sudan Unit. He became fluent in speaking and writing Arabic and in Islamic studies and taught at the Palica Center in Juba, Sudan. In 1981, he moved to the diocese of El Obeid, Sudan to further his Arabic studies and continue teaching.
Father Knipe again returned to Society service, when he was assigned to the Mission Research and Planning Department in August 1983. In his capacity as Director of the Department, he was a member of the Managing Board of Pro Mundi Vita and Publisher of the Maryknoll News and the Mission Forum. With the closing of the Mission Research and Planning Department in early 1987, Father Knipe was assigned to the Kenya Region in April 1987 and resumed his work in the diocese of El Obeid, Sudan. He worked at the language school in El Nahud, Sudan and began writing the Listening Post, which was an internal bulletin about Diocesan events.
Father Knipe was elected Second Regional Assistant for the Kenya Region in October 1995 and also was elected Chapter Delegate of the Kenya Region to the Tenth General Chapter. As a follow-up to the Chapter decision to hold an ‘Under 50 Forum’, he did extensive work in preparing material to be used for this forum, which was held in July 1998.
Father Knipe finished up his work with People for Peace in Nairobi, Kenya and then was assigned to the Hong Kong Region and worked in China. There he taught English at Zhanjiang University in Guangdong Province. Father continued this work until June 2003, when he returned to Maryknoll, New York. He was assigned to the United States and given retired status in September 2003. While living at the Center, he contributed his services to the Society Library. Illness necessitated his move to St. Teresa’s Residence in March 2007 and his assignment to the Retirement Community in July 2007.
Wake services were held at 4:30 p.m. on August 18, 2009 at St. Teresa’s and at 7:30 p.m. in Queen of Apostles Chapel at Maryknoll Center where Father Ernest Lukaschek officiated and Brother Kevin Dargan read the biography. Mass of Christian Burial was concelebrated in Queen of Apostles Chapel on August 19, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. Father Thomas McDonnell was Principal Celebrant and homilist. Burial followed in Maryknoll Society Cemetery with Father Edward Dougherty conducting the graveside service.